McCain was once a poor hobo

by twit

He even had to take a flight on a regular plane

John McCain’s diet of humble pie in the summer of 2007 might have been the best thing that happened to his campaign.

And he had to carry his own bags!

Republicans lugged money, fame and promise into their race for the presidential nomination. One of them carried his own bags, tooled around New Hampshire with a few volunteers, flew commercial and won.

He’s come so far from such humble beginnings:

Just over a year ago, McCain was laying off more than 50 campaign workers, cutting pay and seeing his poll numbers mired in single digits in some of the big early states.

He had no money and those were the good old days:

Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, who has known the Arizona senator for 25 years, said the crisis was oddly liberating.

“All he could do was go up to New Hampshire and be John McCain,” he said. “It was a streak of good fortune that he ran out of money and went up there and was himself. That’s what people love – that he is himself, not some sort of synthetic character trying to figure out who he is.”

and did we mention how humble he is:

“The middle seat on Southwest gave me a lot more opportunity to interact with voters,” he allowed in an interview with The Associated Press. “I’m not complaining. Still have town hall meetings. Still able to do 95 percent of what I did before.”

but there is a happy ending to this story, of course:

As the earliest perceived front-runner, McCain saw an elaborate organization grow around him, populated by some of the George W. Bush operatives he had faced as rivals in 2000. He wore the structure like a fancy, ill-fitting suit.

And as the money dwindled, he could no longer afford to keep it. […]

In early March, McCain sewed up the nomination and turned his efforts against the Democrats as their contest dragged on.

Back came the fancy suit of party organization that had constrained him the first time around.

if he could only go back to those good old days when he was so poor:

McCain wouldn’t exactly be poor were he on his own. As a senator he earns $165,200 a year, and he has a $54,000 Navy pension. And then there’s publishing.

“Faith of My Fathers,” his autobiography, was on bestseller lists for 24 weeks in 1999.

Since then he has produced about a book a year, recently “Hard Call,” about good decisions and how historic figures made them.

In 2006 he took in about $225,000 in royalties, but over the years, income from books has totaled about $1.7 million, all of which he has donated to charity.

He can afford to be generous.

those good old days when he didn’t have a private jet to rent from his wife:

The New York Times reported last month that during a crucial five-month period Mr. McCain’s campaign regularly used a corporate jet owned by the Phoenix-based beer distributor that Mrs. McCain heads, saving the campaign hundreds of thousands of dollars. His campaign pays rates well below market ones for the plane’s use because of an unresolved exemption in a recent campaign finance law that Mr. McCain backed. According to public records, the campaign has continued to use the plane, even as Mr. McCain, of Arizona, became the presumed Republican nominee and his campaign’s finances have improved. […]

Mr. McCain has said his campaign’s method of reimbursing his wife’s company for the plane is legal, and no one disputes that. But critics have argued that Mrs. McCain is effectively subsidizing her husband’s campaign because either she or her company has to make up for the difference between what his campaign pays for the jet’s use and what it really costs to operate it.

good thing he’s taken public financing! just in the nick of time!

but alas

That said, the Republican National Committee — which does not operate under the same contribution limits as the candidates — has proved to be much more successful than the Democratic National Committee in raising funds.

McCain just can’t seem to get back to being a poor hobo, try as he might…

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