A Whole New McCain

After months of often feckless campaigning, the Arizona Senator has started throwing heat. What's behind McCain's hardball strategy

Illustration by Eddie Guy for TIME

Despite an outdoor audience of thousands, the nubile girls grinding on the balcony stopped dancing and sat beside their stripper poles. The bearded bikers, arrayed in rows below with their motorcycles, revved their engines in approval. That stilted parade known as the presidential campaign had marched into a High Plains bacchanal of shiny hogs, leather chaps and skanky tattoos--and the people seemed to like it. "As you may know, not long ago, a couple hundred thousand Berliners made a lot of noise for my opponent," Senator John McCain told the crowd on Aug. 4 at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, an annual...

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