By Karin Caifa in Washington
Who doesn't love a summer road trip? Rising gas prices will likely put the brakes on the number of Americans packing up and hitting the road over the next few months, so John McCain is offering a lift on his Straight Talk Express.
Well, sort of. The GOP's presumptive presidential nominee rolled out his second "Ride the Bus" contest today. According to the campaign's web site, the winner gets to travel to a designated location to meet up with McCain, a ride on the bus with the candidate, and a hotel room for the night.
But entering the contest could cost you more than a tank of gas. You're encouraged (but not required) to make a donation to the campaign before midnight on Monday, June 30 (which, conveniently, is the next monthly fundraising deadline for the presidential picks.) It's the second time that the McCain campaign has used a bus ride as a way to drum up fundraising support.
McCain's first contest was more successful than an effort by former Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd, who dangled two coveted seats at Boston's Fenway Park (right next to the candidate) as an incentive for donors. But Major League Baseball put a halt to anyone but the league offering a ticket giveaway. So as long as McCain steers clear of Chase Field, home of his beloved Arizona Diamondbacks, the contest should keep on rolling.
The Straight Talk Express has been revving up its profile over the last few weeks. The campaign launched a video in the style of MTV's "Cribs," featuring a hip tour of the Straight Talk Express complete with quick camera cuts and pulsating music. The video is peppered with biographical facts about McCain's main ride, including vital stats (45-feet long, 550-horsepower engine, and 22-inch wheel rims.) Facebook users can embed the video on their personal pages via a Straight Talk Express application, a first for the McCain campaign.