Paradoxically, I saw McCain pulling this off back when his campaign was at its lowest point, but as it approached, I didn't believe it was happening.
In mid-2007, when McCain was broke and losing key advisors (i.e. John Weaver and Mark Salter), I could still a path to tonight. He was always going to play well in New Hampshire and had the name recognition and national security credentials to do well. His consistent stand on the surge looked foolhardy at the time, but it has really helped him now.
Yet, when he began to rise in Iowa and pulled off the New Hampshire win, I was excited, but still didn't see him succeeding. As I posted before, Romney had the money and was the most acceptable to the greatest number of Republicans. Michigan gave Romney his groove -- as a bright businessman. He ran the campaign that he should have run the whole time. I saw his momentum and was terrified. As today approached, I would have bet large amounts of money on Romney winning Florida. This was the first state where I thought McCain and Romney were in a fair fight. This wasn't in either one's "adopted" home state (i.e. New Hampshire for McCain; Michigan for Romney). And I really thought McCain's attacks on Romney would backfire. I've been a McCain supporter since 1999 and would vote for him in any election, anywhere for any office. But he plainly twisted Romney's words. It was fair to point out that Romney hedged his bets on the surge, but McCain was going far beyond that.
Is Romney out of it? No. But everything is coming together for McCain. Rudy supporters are more likely to break for McCain. And Huckabee is going to be a thorn in Romney's side, keeping him from mobilizing the conservatives. He probably is aiming for a McCain/Huckabee ticket. I keep rooting for a McCain/Pawlenty ticket. But until I see McCain at the podium in Minny/St. Paul giving his acceptance speech, I probably still will believe that the Giants are looming.