What's Next? A Black Cat?

Over at Sprint to the Oval, my NEWSWEEK colleague Holly Bailey has some ominous color from the McCain caravan. Sign of trouble? Or mere coincidence? We report, you decide:


If a reporter wanted to craft a dire lede about the final days of John McCain’s campaign, the signs are coming in droves—although it’s something more akin to a satirical movie like “Airplane!” or “Hot Shots.”

It all started on Monday, when McCain’s motorcade had to pull over almost immediately upon arrival in Fayetteville, N.C. The problem: McCain’s armored SUV had a flat tire. Uh oh! Bad metaphor alert! But that was nothing. Yesterday morning in Miami, reporters looked up to see a large swarm of giant birds circling in the sky above a coffee shop where McCain was meeting with local supporters. An hour later, it happened again, as McCain took the stage at a small rally near Little Havana.

This reporter initially thought they were buzzards—though, admittedly, my expertise on that species is largely limited to repeated childhood viewings of Looney Tunes. Indeed, you can only imagine the jokes when, later that afternoon, reporters were sitting at another event in West Palm Beach and looked up in the sky to see a pack of hundreds of giant birds circling the perimeter above. (See photo above.)...

Concerned that a pack of black cats might be next—or, heaven forbid, the Grim Reaper—I brought up the birds to Mark Salter, McCain’s longtime aide and speechwriter, last night on the flight from Florida to Ohio, where McCain is scheduled to spend the next two days. “They were hawks!” Salter declared. “Hawks!” I asked him how he knew. “Did you have your binoculars out?” I said. “I’ve seen them before,” Salter, a native Iowan, told me, with a trace of faux exasperation. “Hawks!”