Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain left Albuquerque on Saturday afternoon just after 1pm. He probably wonders if his trip to Albuquerque was even worth it. While the state's Republican party says they handed out a little more than 3,000 tickets, less than 1,000 people bothered to show up for the Road To Victory 2008 Rally at Expo New Mexico's Spanish Village earlier in the day.
McCain, who trails in public opinion polls nationwide, and by double digits in some state polls, told the crowd that's he's always been a fighter, and it was too early for Democrat Barack Obama to start measuring the curtains in the White House. McCain vowed to fight on in the 2008 national campaign, but when he sees these small crowds, he must also see the handwriting on the wall.
A day after the Dow Jones tumbled another 312 points it was not surprising when McCain once again brought up Joe the Plumber's name, criticized Obama as the most liberal senator in Washington, D.C., and said he had the experience to guide America through it current financial crisis, help homeowners with their mortgages, reduce taxes and make America energy independent.
As Alaska Governor Sarah Palin might say: "You betcha," McCain begins his speech off with those two favorite words, "My Friends."
Listen to his rally address here:
McCain was introduced by South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham and his wife Cindy.
Local pols, including Rep. Heather Wilson, CD-1 Republican Candidate Darren White and former Interior Secretary and long-time congressman Manual Lujan also attended the rally.
White, I'm told, had a great line:
Even my dog Trixie (a pitpull) has stopped working on my campaign. It used to be: Wag For White. Now it's Pitpulls for Palin.
After an afternoon rally in Southern New Mexico the McCain campaign will jet off to Iowa.
Next up, Democratic Senator Barack Obama. He flies into New Mexico from Nevada this afternoon for an evening rally at UNM's Johnson field.
More than 10,000 highly-motivated democrats, many who have already voted early, are expected at tonight's event.
Obama will spend the evening in Albuquerque, but has no local press opportunities planned. We'll post the audio from Obama's speech later this evening . Tune in here if you want to hear the speech and avoid the parking hassles near the university.
For now there's time to grab a nap and wonder if the crowds will continue to diminish for McCain in the final stretch of this election.
UPDATE - 10/26/2008
Heath Haussamen covered McCain's trip Saturday afternoon to Mesilla. He reports the crowds were larger there. McCain was joined by Sen. Pete Domenici and Republican candidates Steve Pearce and Ed Tinsley.
Look at the photos and read Heath's report here.