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McCain: The Wright stuff?

Politico previews McCain's busy day today. "John McCain plans to barnstorm the country Monday with a final campaign push that will take him to seven states. McCain will start his last day of campaigning with a midnight rally in Miami. After a few hours of sleep, he'll start again in Tampa, Fla., and then head to stops in Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Mexico and Nevada, according to a memo e-mailed to supporters."

"McCain also plans to tape a satellite interview to air during "Monday Night Football." ESPN will broadcast that and one with Barack Obama during halftime of the Redskins-Steelers game. "Monday Night Football" has an average viewership of 12.2 million, and this week's game pits two teams with swing-state fan bases in Virginia and Pennsylvania."

With the Pennsylvania GOP airing an ad on Jeremiah Wright, Politico's Martin asks: What if McCain had played the Wright card. "Conversations with a number of veteran GOP consultants indicate that using Wright may have helped McCain with one set of voters — but would have hurt with others and not ultimately proved decisive in a contest subsumed by larger external forces such as the economic crisis and the unpopularity of President Bush and the Republican Party. 'This was a race that was about the economy and about change,' said Stuart Stevens, a longtime GOP adman who worked for Bush's campaigns. 'It really wasn't about anything else, and all the king's men couldn't make it about anything else.'"

The Boston Globe: "But McCain is fighting through his last days as a presidential contender on others' terms. Once the protagonist of his own heroic narrative, he now appears in the role of a supporting actor, at times seeming overwhelmed by historical forces and bigger characters - a scorned President Bush, the sudden financial crisis, the nation's first black presidential nominee, and McCain's own vice presidential choice."

McCain Campaign Manager Rick Davis sat down with the press on the campaign plane. "It was a moment as candid as it was rare and wholly unexpected," wrote Politico's Martin. "Outside of television interviews and campaign conference calls, Davis rarely talks to reporters. But in a relaxed, 45-minute conversation in the rear press compartment of McCain's campaign jet, the campaign manager gripped a can of Bud Light and talked at length about nearly every element of what has been a grueling, two-year-long roller coaster ride."

He argued that high turnout could help McCain (not Obama, as has been the convention wisdom): "If Barack Obama hasn't closed the deal with them after two years in the campaign and a year as the nominee of their party, maybe they're holding out for a good reason," Davis told reporters en route to an after-midnight campaign rally here. "Now, maybe they just decided not to vote and they don't want to say that because everyone they know is voting. So we'll see. If we see the vote drop below 130 million, you'll know they didn't show up. If it goes over you'll know they came out, [and] I think that's a good chance for us to win."

And he compared his team to the Rays: "It's been a hard campaign," he acknowledged. "It's just a tough environment. And we're not playing on a level playing field. One candidate's got clean uniforms, a lot of training and all the money in the world. I feel like I'm the Tampa Bay Rays playing against the New York Yankees. I mean, I know it's hard for them, but you know we're still in the hunt. And we may be going to extra innings here, who knows."

Didn't the Rays lose in the World Series?