Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he can “guarantee” a win on Nov. 4 in a squeaker victory that won’t be clear until late that night.
McCain spoke amid signs of a tightening race, and reports of renewed determination among his staff, which is badly outgunned in both money and manpower.
“I guarantee you that two weeks from now, you will see this has been a very close race, and I believe that I'm going to win it,” McCain told interim "Meet" moderator Tom Brokaw. “We're going to do well in this campaign, my friend. We're going to win it, and it's going to be tight, and we're going to be up late.”
McCain was down just 5 points in the Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released Sunday, with Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) leading by 49 percent to 44 percent among likely voters in the daily tracking poll, which has a margin of error of 2.9 points.
Reuters reported that Obama's lead has dropped over the last three days after hitting a high of 12 points on Thursday. Pollster John Zogby said: "Things are trending back for McCain. His numbers are rising and Obama's are dropping on a daily basis. There seems to be a direct correlation between this and McCain talking about the economy."
The Washington Post reported Sunday: "[I]nside the McCain campaign the mood remains one of gritty resolve. Top aides know they are behind, but they hold out hope and, like their candidate, stubbornly refuse to give up."
McCain told Brokaw in Waterloo, Iowa, that he feels "like Knute Rockne ... go out there and get one for the Gipper."
“We are very competitive in battleground states," McCain said. "Obviously, I choose to trust my senses as well as polls. The enthusiasm at almost all of our [events] is at a higher level than I've ever seen, and I've been in a lot of presidential campaigns, usually as the warm-up act. ... And I see intensity out there, and I see passion. So we're very competitive.”
McCain added: “We're going to have to just get out our vote, work hard over the next nine days, and make sure that people know that there'll be a better future. People are very worried now — very, very worried, and have every reason to be. I think it's all about who can assure a better future.”
On the endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, McCain said: "I'm disappointed in Gen. Powell, but I'm very, very happy to know that [I'm endorsed by] five former secretaries of states who I admire enormously.”
McCain defended Republican National Committee clothing purchases on behalf of his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Politico revealed during the past week that the RNC spent $150,000 on designer outfits at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue for the vice presidential nominee and members of her family.
"She lives a frugal life,” he said. “She and her family are not wealthy. She and her family were thrust into this and there was some — and some third of that money is given back. The rest will be donated to charity. ... She is a role model to millions and millions and millions of Americans."
McCain appeared in a gracious mood, saying to Brokaw at the end: "I appreciate your many years of informing the American people. You've come a long way from South Dakota, but you have never forgotten where you come from.”