Bigger Bus Fleet Proof Of McCain's Rising Status?

How a candidate travels can often say a lot about the fortunes of his or her campaign. The top-tier candidates make use of private jets that carry them and their large entourages around the country. Others have to fly commercial. And some, like Chris Dodd, move their whole family to Iowa so they don't have to travel at all.

As for John McCain, disappointing fundraising in the first half of the year forced the Arizona senator to reduce his staff to a skeleton crew. He was sometimes late to campaign events, or missed them entirely, because a commercial flight got delayed. Even the bus he traveled on was described in unflattering terms in a recent Esquire magazine article.

But it appears that McCain is about to start traveling in a grander fashion. According to The Washington Times, McCain's campaign is negotiating to lease a whole fleet of "Straight Talk Express" buses for use in early primary states, including South Carolina, Michigan and others. If true, not only would that mean McCain has a lot more money to spend – each bus costs about $3,000 per day -- but also that they think there's going to be a need to spend it.

The size of a bus fleet may not seem as important as recent poll numbers showing McCain catching up to Mitt Romney in New Hampshire, but it does reflect that McCain's campaign has the confidence, and the resources, to make plans beyond the Granite State's Jan. 8 primary -- making it a real sign that a McCain comeback might be underway.