At the beginning of this year many considered John McCain's campaign a nonstarter, especially after he placed fourth in Iowa. But after winning the New Hampshire primary, the original maverick became the comeback kid, eventually accepting his party's nomination in Minnesota. Of course some of the best McCain moments happened before and after his official nomination!
During the Summer McCain stole some of the celebrity-power from Obama by nominating Sarah Palin as his VP, the night after his opponent's rock-star acceptance speech. The Palin pick gave McCain a boost in the polls, but after that faded away McCain took another shot at maverick leadership: he suspended his campaign to return to Washington and address the economic crisis.
In the end, even an attempt to save the US economy didn't convince voters, and on Nov. 4 McCain delivered a graceful concession speech. But McCain doesn't have to say: "I ran for President and all I got was this stinkin' Palin 2012 T-shirt" — during the campaign a Marine Sergeant gave McCain his Purple Heart as a sign of support.