The most immediate concern, says Weber, is to be prepared for the heavy assault expected from the Bush campaign. "There will be no ignoring, no turning the other cheek now," the McCain adviser says. "You have to answer every argument, but not get distracted."
After some critics argued that McCain, the champion of campaign finance reform, was cozy with lobbyists and corporate fat cats, the Arizona senator canceled plans to attend a ritzy $500-a-plate fund-raiser for Washington lobbyists Thursday night.
Instead, the candidate plans to speak to the crowd via satellite from South Carolina and also conduct the first ever political "cyber fund-raiser," in which supporters logged onto the McCain Web site can click on an electronic town hall meeting for $100 a pop.
Holed up in a small office at the Virginia headquarters, with merely a computer and jar of jelly beans on his desk, is Fose, who updates the Web site 15 to 20 times a day.
Fose says Internet contributions, which have been as high as $30,000 an hour (as opposed to $10,000 a day before New Hampshire), are now coming in at a rate of $7,000 an hour. But he and others expect this week's triple play on the news magazine covers to send donations back up again.
"It's electrifying," Ives says. "We realize we're making history right now."