This old fighter may have a few rounds left in him.
The media practically declared McCain's candidacy dead in the water, right before he told this joke. Listen here, courtesy of YouTube. Unlike the botched joke of Jean-Francois Kerry, I think McCain's comments were well considered. For a guy who has been not the favorite son of most conservatives, a gentle reminder that he's tough - very tough - on defense will warm even the most hardened heart (witness mine, as Exhibit A).
McCain then has a pretty good performance at the debate and takes a shot at Rudy today.
I'm not sold yet on any candidate; for me, it's too early for that. They've all got weaknesses, for that matter, and how this chess match goes remains to be seen. But don't be surprised if McCain's numbers rise - probably mostly at Rudy's expense - as he begins to slowly hammer home his message. That message is going to be: I'm more conservative than Rudy, and better on defense than Romney. If he can control how the differences are framed, he might up and surprise both of those guys and take their lunch money. He must, however, avoid any discussions of the Gang of 14 and "Campaign Finance Reform" like Bill Clinton avoids Hillary.
Additional concern? Maybe, maybe not. Hugh Hewitt was a guest on the Michael Medved show today, dissing Fred Thompson's speech right after the GOP debate. According to Hugh, Fred seemed to fall down a little bit. It was a huge opportunity, with a lot of excitement in the air, and he just came out flat. Of course, Hugh's got a book out on Romney, so take it with a grain of salt, perhaps?