Election '08: Blogging Live in Las Vegas at John McCain's Last-Gasp Rally

BY MARC COOPER

Yo via Blackberry!

I'm at McCain rally right now Monday nite in Henderson, Nevada on outskirts of Las Vegas.

A poor turnout my friends. I got here 3 hrs ago to beat the crowds. But my daughter just arrived as program is beginning and she got in.

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This venue holds about 5k and is not full.

When Palin was here a few weeks ago folks tell me there were six thousand people in line 3 hrs before.

If u want to know why Mac has lost the great American Middle just come to one of these events.

The first 10 mins has been filled with an ultra-religious convocation about how America was made for God fearing folks. Now the speaker is an extreme right-wing radio host. She's vowing a big win for McCain.

Chants of USA! USA!

The person I'm with is laughing his rear off. He's a pro sports better and knows that Obama is now something like a 1 to 7 bet to win. About as good as odds as u waking up live tomorrow.

Don't want to emphasize the obvious but we counted three black people in the audience, though we might have missed a few. There's a smattering of Latinos but let's get real. This is a white crowd.

Now a local assemblyman is asking what's most important to you? And the crowd has shouted back "freedom!"

OK I'm good with that.

Now another speaker -- State Senator Joe Heck. Known as Joe the Senator

He just said something stunning: "The good news," he said, "is that the Democrats are running out of voters."

Um, yeah. Anecdotally it seems like every Dem in NV has indeed already voted early.

Wow, now ANOTHER state senator filling the void. And another one saying so many Dems have voted early that they have run out of voters. And, oh yes, up is down.

Don't think I'm going to blog Mac's speech cuz not sure it will be worth it. I'm sort of wondering Mac is doing in a state like this anyway on election eve. Anyone know?

Congressman John Porter just took the stage and claimed there were 11k people here tonite. Unfortunately all the reporters around me agree official capacity is 4k and place is NOT full.

Next speaker is...a female US Army Captain. Didn't catch her name, sorry. I'm trying to stay awake. She's telling her story now about her tour as an Army PR officer in Bosnia (which by the way McCain opposed). She's praising Walter Reed hospital that saved her from dying from a blood clot. And she says she is now supporting McCain. Huh? Why would anyone bring up Walter Reed at a GOP rally?

But this is what losing campaigns are all about... Listless, direction-less rallies with no sharp message.

This is unreal. Three-and-a-half hours after the doors opened no sign of McCain and an endless parade of little-league speakers.

OK Dead air. No one at the podium. Filling with a White Snake song while everyone wonders WTF?

Now another song. "Only in America" according to my daughter's cool iPhone app.

Oh thank God! An Elvis song! "A Little Less Conversation."

BTW have u stopped reading yet? It's ok if u do.

Now we're into Dolly Parton and almost completing the 4th hour of a last-gasp campaign rally.

More and more musical fill. This is like taking a number to be on life support.

Flash... Word comes via fellow reporters that the Palin event happening now at same hour in Reno is playing to a half-empty house. Will update in a few.

It's 8 pm PST and the doors here have been open for 4 hrs at what is without question the worst-produced campaign rally I've seen this cycle.

Still waiting for Mac and no sign of him so far. The music is getting a lot louder though. OK, more factoids while we wait. Word is that about 53 percent of state Dems voted early compared to about 47 percent GOP. Dems outscored Repubs by about 80,000 votes just here in Clark County around Vegas. The margin in second-populous Washoe County around Reno is even larger

It's now 8:10 pm and it's not just the Liberal Media that's getting antsy. People all around me are standing up and gazing around.

Aha! Here comes the traveling press joining our ranks. That means that McCain is finally here.

Btw, there are more blacks in the media contingent than there are in the rest of the crowd.

8:18 pm. Cindy and John McCain take the stage. With them are Lindsay Graham and Holy Joe Lieberman. Also Mel Martinez.

Lieberman goes first congratulating McCain for making his sixth rally of the day. "I'm Joe Lieberman and I'm proud to support John McCain."

He says he's sure independents will carry Nevada for McCain. He says nothing as crowd boos Obama.

Listening to Leiberman I'm reminded why I voted Nader in 2000.

Here's Johnny!

McCain is energetic and ad libbing, vowing he will win Vegas and NV tomorrow and will sweep the USA.

"This momentum and this enthusiasm convinces me we're gonna win tomorrow...we need to bring real change to America and we have to fight for it."

Big cheers as he praises Palin and says she's never been to a Georgetown cocktail party.

"I'm not afraid of the fight I'm ready for the fight... Senator Obama's massive tax raises will kill our businesses... I'm gonna make govt live on a budget just like you do. "

Don't want to be snide but he's just repeating all the one liners from his stump speech.

Big boos for Pelosi, Reid and...Barney Frank of all people.

In short, his rambling talk is all about staving off some sort of economic catastrophe that would be caused by Obama.

Oh, hot dog, we've finally gotten to the Joe the Plumber and the whole spread-the-wealth meme. Right here in one of the cities hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. I dunno but my guess is that a lot of people within 10 miles of here would LOVE some govt support right now.

Ok now we're onto the Joe Biden thing about Obama being tested. "I've been tested and I've passed that test! And Obama hasn't !" says McCain.

Next up: Obama wants to meet with dictators.

Obama is measuring the drapes.

"They don't know it but The Mac is back! And we' re gonna win this election!"

"I'm an American and I choose to fight! Fight!...Fight!... We never give up. We never quit. We never run from history! We make history!"

Rally over. I'm off to the poker tables.

Check marccooper.com for slideshows of scenes from Nevada and more reports from the important West Coast battleground state.


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