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Down to the wire at McCain HQ

  • Matthew Price
  • 4 Nov 08, 06:14 PM GMT

The phone-bank at McCain HQ in Phoenix is filling up, with volunteers sitting at desks, calling potential voters.

They're ringing to see if McCain supporters have already voted and if not to get them to the polling stations. They're also ringing other voters to try to persuade them to switch sides at this last minute.

On the walls are life size pictures of John McCain, and on the front desk a roll of "Joe" stickers, which have been worn on T-shirts at McCain rallies across this country in recent days.

There's a sense in the room that every little vote counts, and that every minute spent trying to shore up those votes could be crucial. On the door is a quote from Orson Swindle, a life-long friend of John McCain's and a fellow POW in Vietnam.

One of the tortures Mr Swindle endured was sleep deprivation. On one occasion he was kept awake for 10 days. The quote reminds the party workers that however tired they may be, it's nothing in comparison to that.

I remarked to one woman that she must be exhausted. "Not at all," she replied brightly, and on message.

Update, 21:10GMT:

The polling station where John McCain cast his vote this morning was quiet at lunchtime. Perhaps 10 people arrived while I was there, chatting to one local republican party worker.

He worked on George W Bush's campaign four years ago. He said he expected more people to turn out later in the day, as offices close and the workday comes to an end.

Voters in Arizona have been told that if they reach the end of the voting queue by seven pm local time, they will be allowed to vote, however long that queue is. Close of ballots may be delayed somewhat if there's a late surge in voting.

The junior republican official also told me he'd be coming to John McCain's evening party here at the lush and extravagant Biltmore Resort in Phoenix. "I'll be there for the....um...well, victory speech I suppose. Or maybe the concession speech."

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