John Kerry's plane has just touched down at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Mass. Barring an extended recount, it's the last trip the chartered 757 will make as a campaign plane. If Kerry boards it again, it will be as a U.S. Senator -- or as the president-elect of the United States of America.
Kerry's advisors plainly expect the latter. At an airport send-off in LaCrosse, Wisc., this morning, Kerry posed for photos with the press corps while his advisors joked and laughed on the tarmac. We tried to get Mike McCurry to sit down in front of the plane's front tire as a tribute to Karl Rove. He demurred, but he also did a whole lot of laughing.
Monday night in Cleveland, McCurry told us that he felt good about Kerry's chances of winning Pennsylania, Ohio and Florida. Could Kerry take all of the battleground states? "One of them -- like Wisconsin -- will not come up for us, or a state where we thought we were fine, like Michigan, might switch around. But it looks like Pennsylvania and Ohio and Florida are doing really well for us."
McCurry said that his confidence is based on the campaign's internal polls, which stopped over the weekend, and on public polls that have shown "a little tick" in Kerry's direction. It's also based on the campaign's phone bank work and its tracking of early voting numbers. "We're getting the margins on that that we were looking for," McCurry said.
McCurry said that Bush-Cheney campaign advisors may legitimately believe that their candidate is going to win tonight, but he said any such view would be based on a false sense of turnout. McCurry said Republican projections are based on the assumption that between 105 and 108 million people will vote. The Democrats expect about 118 million voters to turn out. "If all the kids vote, and all the first-time people who say they're going to vote, it could be 120," McCurry said.
Kerry will make a brief campaign appearance near Boston this morning, then head to lunch at a local chowder house -- a Kerry election-day tradition. "He's very pumped, McCurry said. "He's very relaxed, and he's having a good time."