By Paul Needham
PRESCOTT, Ariz., 1:08 a.m. — Senator John McCain is hoping to reverse what he calls one of Arizona’s “unhappy traditions.”
Speaking in front of the same courthouse steps here where Barry Goldwater launched and ended his 1964 bid for the presidency, McCain said he would reverse the tradition of Arizonans losing presidential elections.
“I’m confident because I’ve seen the momentum, my friends” he said in the earliest hours of Wednesday morning after completing a seven-state sprint across the country on Tuesday. “All we’ve got to do is get out the vote.”
If McCain does manage to upset Senator Barack Obama in today’s voting, he will indeed be the first person from this desert state to hold the presidency. Goldwater lost in 1964; Mo Udall and Bruce Babbitt each sought the Democratic Nomination in 1976 and 1988, respectively; McCain also ran in 2000 but ultimately lost to President George W. Bush ’68.
References to Arizona politics aside, McCain’s speech here was essentially the same stump speech he has given across the country. But with only a light day of campaigning left, the remarks this morning — with Senator Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67 looking on — was the last major address McCain will give until his concession or acceptance speech after seeing the election results.
His wife, Cindy McCain, teared up as she introduced her husband one more time in this nearly two-year-long campaign.
Senator McCain, for his part, called on the thousands of supporters who gathered around the Yavapai County Courthouse to rally their friends and help him “take Arizona in a big way.”
“I thank you for coming out tonight, from the bottom of my heart,” he said. I thank you for the years you have allowed me to serve the state of Arizona.”
Now McCain must wait to see if he will be the first candidate from Arizona to serve the nation as president.