John McCain's back-from-the-dead presidential bid can attribute its triumph to a number of factors: the successes of the Iraq surge, the rise of Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani's concession in New Hampshire. But before any of those game-changing events, the McCain comeback was engineered by a small, crack team of loyalists who remained with the candidate when his organization bled employees and money, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The "Sedona Five"—whose name comes from the meetings they held at the Arizona senator's cabin—spent last summer revamping the candidate's message, and developing a small-state media strategy. "Every decision had to be subordinate to winning New Hampshire," said Mark Salter, McCain's aide of nearly two decades. By Wednesday the Sedona Five were having lunch at the White House, where McCain told reporters he doesn't plan to change anybody on his team.