Technical problems delayed this post ...
Somebody snuck into the political morgue tonight and cut the toe tag off Republican John McCain's campaign in New Hampshire. "Mac is back!", his supporters chanted.
The question, though, is which McCain is back. Is the independent, truth-speaking maverick not afraid to oppose President Bush ... or the guy who started backing away from his own views as he got closer to announcing a presidential run? While Republicans Mitt Romney and Rudolph Giuliani have flip-flopped so much they're making Sen. John Kerry look consistent, McCain too started backtracking -- especially in coddling up to the far evangelical right whose views he used to say he did not share.
Somehow, though, he overcame an internal staff battle, his own firm convictions on Iraq and immigration, and a string of political obituaries. Tonight, he sounded more like the old John McCain. The McCain independents and moderates on both sides of the aisle can get excited about supporting.
"Tonight, we showed 'em what a comeback looks like," he said, in the gentle, humble manner that perhaps comes from having been held prisoner in Vietnam. "When pundits declared us finished, I told 'em I was going to New Hampshire!"
He spoke about sound fiscal policy, government playing a smaller but more capable role in solving some problems where it has a role, and other issues that once made him the best and most honorable GOP candidate in the field.
"I didn't go to Washington to go along to get along," he said.
Then he opened his heart.
"I've served my country imperfectly for many years, but have loved her without reservation every day of my life."
That's the McCain I remember and admire, and I hope that's the Mac that's back.