Many in the press corps skipped this morning's final frantic sweep through the West. As McCain notes below, our day yesterday spanned 3,700 nautical miles. Besides, we all have McCain's moves memorized now; he never talks to us anymore; the sleep would be of more use, considering what hours (we think) we're looking at tonight. As if deciding to punish us one last time, he decided to do something newsworthy.
MCCAIN POOL REPORT
Flight from Albuquerque, N.M. to Phoenix, Ariz.
November 4, 2008
Sen. John McCain gave a statement to the press on the plane. Both Brooke and Kimmie asked that no question be asked. Full transcript below. Steve Schmidt also talked for a few minutes, full transcript below. Other assorted tidbits from the plane after that.
COLOR: Reporters huddled in the area right in front of the brown curtain dividing the staff area from the press section of the Straight Talk Air. The cameras formed an impressive looking wall. McCain was joined by Cindy on his right side, with Lieberman and Graham standing slightly to the side and behind him.
From your pooler’s spot on the floor she could not see Cindy, Lieberman or Graham. Other reporters said they saw the eyes of both Lieberman and Cindy tearing up.
TRANSCRIPT: “Well my friends, this is our last flight on this airplane together and so I just wanted to stop back. Yesterday I know was really a fun day, starting out at the crack of dawn and ended up at 2 am, we went 3,700 miles yesterday. We had a great ride and we’re looking forward to the election results tonight. Feelin’ good, feelin’ confident about the way things have turned out. We’ve had a great ride, a great experience and it’s full of memories that we will always treasure, including the last one up there in Colorado were people were so warm. And the enthusiasm as you have seen in rallies has really been quite remarkable and quite heart warming. So we’ve spent a lot of time together. Some have been together for almost two years, others most of the ones that rode around in the van with us and on the 3999 flight to Manchester. So any way, we’ve had a great time, I wish you all every success and look forward to being with you in the future. Thanks very much.”
SCHMIDT GAGGLE (Special thanks to Maeve Reston for help transcribing):
QUESTION: McCain mentioned that you had seen some turnout numbers. Can you talk about where those came from?
A: On any Election Day you receive all sorts of information -- turnout’s high. Turnout’s low, turnout’s just right, you find out when the polls close.
QUESTION: (inaudible – something about speeding across the finish line?
A: That’s the only way to finish anything in life that you do in life that’s a competitive venture, which is full speed.
QUESTION: Are you happy with campaign?
A: I think we did our absolute best in this campaign in really difficult circumstances, we had a – we had some tough cards to play all the way through and we hung in there all the way. Not certain [trails off] You look back in the middle of September – economic collapse of the country, a number of different things – we did the best we can in historically difficult circumstances from a political climate. It is highly doubtful that anyone will ever have to run in a worse political climate than the one John McCain had to run in this year.
We have a path to victory, you know we’re going to know what it is in a few hours but you know certainly at a personal level, I’m very proud to have had the chance to be associated with John McCain and he’s a hell of a good guy.
QUESTION: What were the hardest cards? What were the hardest things you faced?
A: The global economic collapse in the middle of September occurring at a time when we were ahead in the race, dropping the right track number to roughly five, six, seven percent, which are numbers I don’t think will ever be seen again in any of our lifetimes, it was very difficult. It was a bad economic environment throughout the election where people were angry at the incumbent party and at the end of the day, I don’t think there’s another Republican the party could have nominated that could have made this a competitive race the way that John McCain did. But it’s going to, the one thing we know for certain, at a congressional level the Senate Democratic majorities and the House Democratic majorities will expand. The party’s been very unpopular. The president’s approval numbers, you know, were not helpful in the race but the party as a whole is unpopular with the American people and that was a big albatross.
QUESTION: And the pick of Palin for you guys? Are you happy with that?
A: You know, we’ll uh, I’m not going to do, there’ll be time for all the post mortems in the race.
FOLO: But are you happy with what she’s done for the ticket?
A: I think that, you know, I think we’ll know in a few hours what the results are, you know and I, there’ll be a time for all the post mortem parts of it. That’s not this afternoon before the polls close.
QUESTION: Did he do anything superstitious?
A: I don’t know, I don’t know, he always does something superstitious on election day.
FOLO: Did you do anything superstitious?
((Nicolle Wallace yells: He shaved his head!))
MISC: Steve Duprey asked your pooler what she was typing so frantically. She, in turn, asked him if he would like to contribute. He called the landing in Albuquerque “mavericky” and said he had asked the pilot to do a “barrel roll.” There was a heartfelt round of applause for Kimmie as well.
By (and with wishes for rest and recuperation to you all) Holmes/WSJ