It looks like the McCain campaign is playing the old political game of inventing inflated crowd estimates
. They told reporters that 23,000 people attended a Sept. 10 rally. They attributed that estimate to a fire marshal. However, "Fairfax City Fire Marshal Andrew Wilson said his office did not supply that number to the campaign and could not confirm it." What's more, "Washington Post reporter Marc Fisher estimated the crowd to be 8,000, not the 23,000 cited by the campaign."
But the McCain campaign isn't revising the figure:
"The 23,000 figure was substantiated on the ground," McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said. "The campaign is willing to stand by the fact that it was our biggest crowd to date."
Democrats have been known to play the same game. In fact, political prankster Dick Tuck
used to pose as a fire marshal to provide reporters with low estimates of the turnout at Nixon's rallies.