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Straight-talking John McCain

  • Matthew Price
  • 30 Oct 08, 06:42 PM GMT

Sandusky, Ohio: A quick dash through the north of Ohio, the sun now warming the ground. It's such a beautiful day. We stopped at another charming little town, Sandusky, its roads lined with McCain supporters. A small but vocal group of Obama voters stood among them, shouting for their candidate.

Then the McCain campaign deployed its secret weapon.

Yes, it was John McCain, but it was a different kind of John McCain - one we have not seen for a while. He delivered a rousing, articulate, and intimate speech on a gazebo in the middle of the town.

He loved it, the crowd loved it. He was able to speak directly to people, rather than from a perch on some anonymous stage where he often seems less than comfortable. He is certainly a lot better at speaking off the cuff than he is at reading an autocue.

Why has the campaign not deployed "John the straight-talker" for what seems like an eternity? His rallies look good on TV, but today was the best performance I have seen him give. He was up close and personal with the crowd - and speaking in his own words. In an election that is so much about image, surely a relaxed, happy John McCain would have played better than the slightly awkward, slightly removed politician standing above a crowd that we have grown more used to seeing?

Is he finding his voice, and himself in the last few days?

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