Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

What a Difference a Long Campaign Makes for McCain

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

What a Difference a Long Campaign Makes for McCain

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods

Bob Prescott stood outside the arena, hawking buttons by shouting the slogan that appeared on one.

"Read my lipstick, drill now!" he said, pointing to a board full of buttons, many featuring the name, face or high heels of a certain vice presidential nominee.

"One for $5! Three for $10!"

Sarah Palin wasn't there. Yet she was everywhere.

Buttons, signs, T-shirts, even the bare chests of six guys from Middleburg.

Those six guys showed up for John McCain's campaign appearance Monday morning and bumped into six guys from the University of North Florida who were looking for extra bodies.

"We had six for McCain," said John Barnes, a senior from West Palm Beach who is UNF's student body president and, for one morning, the guy with the second "C" in McCain on his chest.

"But we needed a Palin."

They got together, spelled out McCain-Palin (with one serving as a star in the middle) and ended up in the front row, in prime position to pose with McCain.

Lipstick buttons, bare chests and body paint.

This, I thought, is a long way from Fleet Landing.

Ever since this long and winding presidential campaign began, I've tried to make it to any appearance by a presidential candidate. I know, I know. It's a sickness. But I find this stuff fascinating.

I kept thinking Monday about three previous McCain events. One at Fleet Landing, one when McCain came to the Times-Union office before the Florida primary, and one at Cecil Field in April.

A lot has changed since that first stop at a retirement village in Atlantic Beach. I will leave it up to you to decide whether that's good or bad.

We've reached that point in the political season where, I've learned, anything even remotely politically is viewed through red- or blue-tinted glasses. …

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