SAN FRANCISCO – Sen. John McCain arrived at the last California Republican Party convention in September as a struggling presidential candidate whose chances were so grim that he generated less buzz than Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state Sen. Tom McClintock.
But less than three weeks after his California victory propelled him toward the nomination, it's all about McCain on this rainy February GOP convention weekend in San Francisco.
At a gathering that attracts the conservative activists who once saw McCain as too liberal for their party's nomination, the Arizona senator is now the only one with volunteers handing out stickers and manning a booth to appease whatever concerns the GOP base has about his credentials.
Some are even saying what would have been unthinkable six months ago: a Republican can win a general-election race in California, a state where Democrats own a 10-percentage-point registration advantage and no GOP candidate has won since President George H.W. Bush in 1988.