No word on how many of those $142 birthday checks came in, but the Straight Talk Express appears to be hitting a few more bumps in the road.
Having already fallen into fourth place in national polls, McCain now finds himself in a neck-to-neck race here in Arizona with Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson, who is expected to announce his candidacy this week.
The latest Cronkite-Eight Poll, from the Maricopa County PBS affiliate KAET and the Arizona State University journalism school, shows that McCain is now the favorite of just 24 percent of Arizona Republicans, while 19 percent like Romney; 18 percent like Giuliani; and 17 percent like Thompson. That's a 20 percent drop from a February Cronkite-Eight poll that had McCain at 44 percent.
Among Republicans who aren't supporting McCain: 16 percent said they didn't like his stance on issues; 13 percent said he was too wishy-washy; 12 percent cited his stand on illegal immigration; and 9 percent said he was just too old.
The aging, flip-flopping McCain appears determined to tough it out a little longer. He re-announced his candidacy on Jay Leno's Tonight Show and was one of the first Republicans to call for Sen. Larry Craig's resignation after the Idaho Republican was busted trolling for hot man-on-man action in a Minneapolis airport bathroom. Craig, who maintains he simply had a "wide stance" on the toilet and has "never been gay," announced that he was stepping down a few days later.
(Speaking of hot man-on-man action: The Rev. Ted Haggard, the holy roller who was run out of Colorado Springs after pursuing quickies with a gay prostitute topped with a twist of meth, has relocated to Phoenix and is hoping that his former followers will be willing to support him while he pursues a degree in counseling. Yes, we'd certainly want to turn to him in times of trouble, especially now that he's cured.)
McCain (who dismissed his Florida campaign co-chair after the state lawmaker was popped earlier this year trolling for--you guessed it--hot man-on-man action in a park bathroom) also qualified for public funds last week, although he hasn't said whether he plans to tap them. Guess it all depends on how that birthday plea works out!
Another interested factoid: The war in Iraq is now overshadowing illegal immigration as the most important issue for voters, with 38 percent of those surveyed saying the conflict was their top concern. Just a little more than one in four name illegal immigration as their top issue, while 7 percent cited health care, and 4 percent cited the economy.
The Cats open the home season against the formidable Northern Arizona Lumberjacks this Saturday, Sept. 8. The UA Athletic Department wants you to know that "great seats are still available," at least as of press time.
In other bad economic news: State sales-tax collections for the month of July were $27 million below forecast, and corporate income taxes were $6.9 million below forecast, leaving overall revenues $24.5 million below estimates.
Unless state revenues exceed expectations by $225 million over the next fiscal year, the state could be facing a budget shortfall.