MANCHESTER, NH -- On the eve of yesterday's campaign shake-up, McCain aides and volunteers retired to the Strange Brew taverns to try and forget, just for a moment, the day when their world collapsed. One McCain aide said he was "physically there" but "mentally gone." Another did not know whether he was still on staff, although he said he still received press clippings -- "Robert Terra e-mails" after the staffer who sends them around -- so he assumed that he was still on board.
At least ten senior staff members are gone or going. Besides ex-mgr Terry Nelson, ex-strategist John Weaver, they include McCain's political director, his finance director, Mary Kate Johnson, Nelson's deputy and Weaver's deputy.
McCain also lost his Nevada state director, and campaign advisers said they expected Jon Seaton, McCain's Iowa director and national field director, to quit in the next week.
Late yesterday, McCain and aide Mark Salter telephoned several other top aides to urge them to stay put.