Facing a Wipeout, McCain Tones It Down
GOP nominee reverts to 'happy warrior' of the primary
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2008 11:07 AM CDT
John McCain shakes hands with a supporter at a rally at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington, N.C., Monday, Oct. 13, 2008.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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(Newser) – Down in the polls and facing brutal criticism from his own party, John McCain is returning to an old persona: the "happy warrior" that won the GOP primary. Tempering attacks that have proven counterproductive, McCain presented himself as a prepared, tested leader who could bring forceful leadership to the White House, writes Elisabeth Bumiller in the New York Times.

As polls show the Illinois senator running away with the election, McCain is hoping that he can recapture the underdog status that he rode to victory in the spring: he insisted at one rally that "Mr. Obama is measuring the drapes." But McCain's new tone may be little more than an experiment; after giving several toned-down stump speeches, he once again criticized Obama's character during a CNN interview yesterday.