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Opinion: John McCain and the less-than-excited Republican base

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Nearly five months after John McCain effectively locked down the Republican presidential nomination, many leaders of the religious right remain underwhelmed. A new Newsweek article asserts that McCain’s candidacy has ‘tamped down’ enthusiasm among these conservatives, ‘exposing fractures that make a rallying of the troops in the pews unlikely.’

The recent L.A. Times/Bloomberg national poll spotlighted a pronounced ‘passion gap’ in the presidential race, with fully 81% of Barack Obama supporters declaring themselves fired up about his candidacy and only 45% of the McCain backers feeling likewise about their man.

And here’s an even more concrete sign of the difficulty McCain has been having rallying core Republicans, courtesy of a Gannett News Service story published Monday:

‘Of the more than 900 Hoosiers who contributed at least $2,000 to President Bush’s re-election campaign, only about 50 had contributed to the Arizona senator by the end of [May], according to a review of campaign disclosure reports....’

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McCain headlines a fundraiser in Indiana today, so he’ll no doubt reel in some of those heretofore reticent givers. He then heads off on a short jaunt to Colombia and Mexico (a trip that The Times’ Mark Barabak, in a Sunday story, termed part of the ‘unusual path’ McCain is pursuing in his White House bid).

-- Don Frederick


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