McCain camp creates imaginary friends at Virginia rally

By pams
Tuesday, October 14, 2008 2:30 EDT
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We all know the McCain campaign is full of pathological liars (the McCainpedia is up to 132), but as the ship takes on more water, getting caught in this sort of stupid prevaricating makes them look even more pathetic:

VIRGINIA BEACH — Republican John McCain pledged to fight for a new direction for the country in an energetic new campaign stump speech Monday that sought to distance him from the economic policies of President Bush.

“We cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: waiting for our luck to change,” McCain said while campaigning with running mate Sarah Palin in this once reliably Republican state that has become a battleground this year. “The hour is late; our troubles are getting worse; our enemies watch. We have to act immediately. We have to change direction now.”

… McCain’s retooled pitch comes as Republican campaign veterans say he needs to do more than just attack Obama in an economic environment that favors Democrats.

Obama leads in enough states to be within reach of the 270 Electoral College votes needed for victory while McCain is being forced to defend Republican turf where polls show the race close. That’s partly because of Obama’s well-funded onslaught of TV ads and extensive network of field troops registering and canvassing voters; McCain trails on both fronts.

It was a measure of McCain’s troubles that he was campaigning Monday, just three weeks before the election, in Virginia and later in North Carolina, both normally solid for the GOP nominee but in play this year.

The Virginia Beach Fire Marshal’s office estimated the size of the crowd to be 12,000. A McCain campaign spokeswoman claimed the crowd size was 25,000, but the Convention Center’s capacity is only 16,000.

And you know what’s really bad? This isn’t the first time they’ve created some imaginary supporters. See below the fold. Raising Kaine reminds us of this sad sack attendee inflation at other rallies:

McCain aide Kimmie Lipscomb told reporters on Sept. 10 that an outdoor rally in Fairfax City, Virginia, drew 23,000 people, attributing the crowd estimate to a fire marshal.

Fairfax City Fire Marshal Andrew Wilson said his office did not supply that number to the campaign and could not confirm it. Wilson, in an interview, said the fire department does not monitor attendance at outdoor events.

In recent days, journalists attending the rallies have been raising questions about the crowd estimates with the campaign. In a story on Sept. 11 about Palin’s attraction for some Virginia women voters, Washington Post reporter Marc Fisher estimated the crowd to be 8,000, not the 23,000 cited by the campaign.

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