ALEXANDRIA, Va.—John McCain just rounded off his victory speech here by cheekily appropriating one of Barack Obama’s signature lines.
“I promise you I am fired up and ready to go,” he told a cheering crowd.
The Arizona senator’s speech seemed to target Obama more than Clinton, in yet another sign of the shifting dynamics of the Democratic race.
At one point he suggested that Obama’s candidacy offered “not a promise of hope but a platitude.”
And in an implicit jab at the cockiness which some of Obama’s critics believe he can be guilty of, McCain also said, “I do not seek the presidency on the presumption … that history has anointed me to save my country in an hour of need. My country saved me. I’m running to serve America.”
McCain also included Hillary Clinton in his criticism, saying of both main Democratic candidates, “We know where each … will lead this country and we dare not let them.”
In the end, McCain won all three of today’s primaries comfortably. He congratulated Mike Huckabee on his performance, saying with a smile that the former Arkansas governor’s candidacy “keeps things interesting—maybe a little too interesting at times tonight.”
But this evening’s event, held in the ballroom of a Holiday Inn, did see one potential blow to McCain’s ego.
As a line of dignitaries including former Senator George Allen and John Warner lined up onstage and music pumped out in anticipation of McCain’s entrance, it became apparent that CNN had just begun to cover Obama’s speech in Madison, Wisconsin.
McCain was forced to cool his heels for 20 minutes until the Illinois senator’s speech began to wind down.