John McCain's Lazarus-like return to the top of the race for the Republican presidential nomination required a huge gamble, writes the Washington Post—a $3 million loan last November to fund his struggling campaign, which was not only broke but $500,000 in the red. McCain had put up his fundraiser list as collateral, but the bank also required the 71-year-old senator to take out a special life insurance policy in case he died on the campaign trail.
The bet paid off: the McCain operation is now solidly in the black, having raised $7 million in January, as primary victories in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida opened the taps. Last week he raised $1 million in a single day. "I cannot come up with another example of a candidate who went so far into the hole without any assurance of being able to dig out of it," said one campaign finance expert.