His staff drastically reduced and his organization nearly broke, McCain flies commercial instead of on private jets, carries his own luggage and relies on supporters to drive him to events, including one that pulled away from a Rotary meeting last week with a flat rear tire.
It's a far cry from the "Straight Talk Express" tour bus that once was packed with reporters, staff and hope.
When the Republican presidential hopeful made his first trip to New Hampshire earlier this year, the plush bus had Dunkin' Donuts boxes in the cabin and gallons of coffee for hangers-on and key supporters. His aides — and spare baked goods — traveled in a van behind.
At town halls, his U.S. flag backdrops were steamed clean of their wrinkles and a bevy of volunteers clamored to hand out stickers.
Now, the Arizona senator and Vietnam War hero travels without staff or with a single aide and rarely with national media crews. Last week, he arrived in Manchester, N.H., on a commercial flight. He carried his own bags through the airport and his top two aides in the state drove him to his hotel. The entire event was captured for local television.
On Monday, he missed a fundraising breakfast in Pittsburgh because his commercial flight was canceled.
Sad. And appropriate.