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McCain Has His Moment at Convention

August 2, 2000

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ John McCain was where he hoped to be, on stage at the Republican National Convention, but in the role of vanquished challenger instead of the conquering hero.

Still, it was a moment for his supporters to look back at McCain’s surprising campaign, during which he won primaries in New Hampshire, Arizona, Michigan, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont. And a moment to think of what might have been as McCain told an appreciative crowd, ``We need to get riled up a bit, and stand up for the values that made America great.″

McCain, who joked with reporters earlier in the week that he is in ``step eight of the 12-step program for former presidential candidates,″ said he is proud his candidacy drew millions of new voters to Republican primaries.

``It was a good fight. We should be very proud,″ he said. ``That’s good for our party and it’s good for America.″

McCain carried some of the trappings of that campaign to Philadelphia. He rode into town on ``Straight Talk Express″ and basked in media attention wherever he made an appearance.

Now, McCain’s efforts are directed toward helping elect George W. Bush president. But that didn’t stop some of his supporters from reminiscing.

``It’s bittersweet,″ said Arizona delegate Bettina Nava, who worked on McCain’s campaign staff. ``Certainly, we’d like to see John up there. But he didn’t win so you move on.″

Delegate Jan Lynch of Phoenix stuffed envelopes for McCain’s presidential bid. Following McCain’s lead, she’s now backing Bush.

``It’s a long way from that night when we won Arizona and Michigan,″ she said. ``We’re all still fiercely loyal to our senator, John McCain, but very excited to elect George W. Bush as president.″

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