By Michael Kranish, Globe Staff
NASHUA, N.H. -- To cries of "Mac is Back," an ebullient Senator John McCain appeared before a packed ballroom of supporters in celebration of his comeback victory in the New Hampshire primary.
"Tonight we sure showed them what a comeback looks like," McCain said. "When the pundits declared us finished, I told them, 'I'm going to New Hampshire, where the voters don't let you make their decision for them.' And when they asked, 'How are you going to do it? You're down in the polls. You don't have the money,' I answered, 'I'm going to New Hampshire, and I'm going to tell people the truth.'"
Just months after his political obituary was being written, McCain told supporters that he ran a bare-bones grass-roots campaign based on his signature style of straight talk. "I didn't try to spin you," McCain said. "I just talked to the people of New Hampshire. I talked about the country we loved "
McCain used his speech to speak to a national audience that he now hopes to win over. McCain won here in 2000 but soon lost the nomination to George W. Bush, who was the favored establishment candidate.
This time, McCain sees a huge opening because there is no obvious establishment candidate. McCain, while being pilloried by Mitt Romney during the campaign as an insider, sought to persuade voters that he is an outsider and reformer.
"Tonight we have taken a step, but only the first step, toward repairing the broken politics of the past and restoring the trust of the American people in their government," McCain said. He said he will leave tomorrow to compete in the next contest, on Jan. 15, in Michigan.
"We celebrate one victory tonight and leave for Michigan tomorrow to win another," McCain said, eliciting shouts of approval from his supporters.
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