John McCain is more than a candidate, he's a brand—and a successful one at that, the Washington Post reports. His image of independence, experience, and, of course, straight talk endures in the public eye and explains why he keeps rising in national polls despite his support for an unpopular war and an unpopular president. Two market research firms described him as a combination of Ford pickup, Wrangler jeans, and Timex.
"John McCain has an identity that's well established with the American people," says a top strategist. Democrats, of course, aren't buying it, and says the image is mostly myth. "For a lot of people, they used to like the brand of the maverick," said a DNC spokeswoman. "But that's not who he is anymore. Our job is showing people that's not the guy he is."