A Nod to the Hometown Crowd

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) addresses his supporters after the Super Tuesday primary election results filter in. Video by AP
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 6, 2008

PHOENIX, Feb. 5 -- Sen. John McCain's operation has finally taken on the trappings of a successful GOP campaign: The more than 1,000 supporters gathered here at the swank Arizona Biltmore can sip mineral water and soda free of charge at bars at his Super Tuesday party, as they take in the sounds from a live band and nosh on an array of elegant snacks.

For a while the atmosphere remained a bit tense, as guests waited to learn whether their candidate would prevail in his home state as well as other Western states. But at the very moment the band struck up "Twist and Shout," Fox News called Arizona for the senator, and a cheer rose up from the crowd.

McCain came onto the stage a short time later and made a point of thanking Arizona for awarding him a win. And putting a new twist on an old joke about how the failed presidential bids of Arizona Republican Barry Goldwater and Democrats Morris K. Udall and Bruce Babbitt make Arizona "the only state where mothers don't tell their children that someday they could grow up to be president," McCain offered a new assessment of his state's political fortunes.

"I think it's fair to say tonight we might have come a little bit closer to the day when mothers in Arizona could tell their children that someday they could grow up to be president of the United States," he declared.

The crowd went wild.

"I think at the end of the day, it will be McCain," said Cindy Baker, who drove with her daughter Emily, 17, from Yuma, three hours away. "He will get the delegates and the nomination."

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