The McCain mail piece says the Arizona senator is more conservative than Rudy Giuliani.
COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – Let the Republican mail wars in South Carolina begin.
Sen. John McCain's campaign has sent out the first piece of direct mail in this state that takes direct aim at a presidential rival: in this case, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
But McCain's attack is bipartisan - the mailing takes on both Giuliani and Sen. Hillary Clinton, arguing that McCain is more conservative than Giuliani, but also that McCain can win more swing states in a general election against Clinton.
The mailing, obtained by CNN, is headlined: "McCain: the only Conservative who can beat Senator Clinton." It shows McCain as a young Navy pilot and says that the Arizona senator "is a stronger candidate than Rudy Giuliani in the general election." The mail piece also challenges Giuliani on social issues, declaring that McCain has "a consistent 24-year pro-life voting record."
Sent out Monday as part of an invitation to an upcoming Town Hall in Myrtle Beach, the mailing cites recent polling that shows McCain beating Clinton in a general election match-up.
"McCain gives Republicans best chance over Hillary in key swing states," the mailer claims, echoing a claim McCain has made on the campaign trail in recent weeks. "John McCain performs better than Rudy Giuliani against Hillary Clinton in every swing state recently surveyed by Rasmussen or SurveyUSA with the exception of Iowa where they are equal."
The mailing also works in a Ronald Reagan reference, saying, "McCain is the only Republican candidate who can keep the Reagan coalition strong" on keeping federal spending low.
Giuliani remains near the top of most polls in conservative South Carolina despite his liberal stands on certain social issues. McCain generally polls in third place behind Giuliani and former Sen. Fred Thompson, but he is campaigning hard to win the primary that eluded him in 2000, in part because of the notoriously negative campaign waged against him here.
The McCain campaign said the mailing was "substantial," and that similar event invitations were sent Tuesday to the towns of Irmo and Simpsonville.
Alerted to the mail piece, the Giuliani campaign hit back.
"The McCain campaign is welcome to theorize and strategize to their heart's content," said Giuliani communications director Katie Levinson. "The fact of the matter is poll after poll confirms Rudy Giuliani continues to be the Republican candidate best positioned to beat Hillary Clinton in 2008.
"And not for nothing, Rudy has the resources necessary to compete and win in the primary and general and continues to lead the national polls. A leaked internal 'memo' or mailer and all the creative spin in the world does not change the facts."
– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby
McCain is definitely getting stronger by the week. Today's primary polls from ARG have him getting much stronger in Iowa and in New Hampshire, while he consistently polls better than fellow Republicans in the general election (for example in this very recent Virginia poll in which Clinton edges out Rudy Giuliani but is crushed by McCain).
McCain could not win swing votes. That is absolutely not the case.
This country is for the people, by the people, and of the people and Bush is listening to NO ONE.
There is a huge problem there. He needs to be stopped now, not in 2008 before it is too late.
The man has cranial constipation and needs fleets or flight. I cannot understand why no one has impeached him.He is not only a disgrace to America but a disgrace to the human race.
McCain thinks he can rally us to his side by showing us pictures from his military past and by making comments to argue the case that he is the most reactionary candidate for the office of President.
McCain, I'll salute you on Veterans' Day and Memorial Day for your sacrifices while in military service, but there is no way I would vote for you for President.
I am soooo unimpressed with you and with your agenda. If I wanted someone for President who walked in step with George W. Bush and his policies, I'd be rallying for a third term for the loser who is already occupying the office.
This is not going to work. The conservatives in this country got up George Bush (twice), a huge national debt and were are hated throughout the world by most other countries.
Do we want another war-hawk?
Do we want to continue this endless war?
Please...we need to learn from our mistakes.
Who cares. Romney's going to win.
10 years ago I would have voted for this man. He was a real republican and not one of the religeous nuts currently running this country. But lately he has been saying things that lead me to believe he is playing into the conservative religeous right and trying to win that base over. He is a divider and not a uniter which is what this country needs right now. I think the majority of America is sick with this current administration making "faith" based decisions instead of relying on logic or even for that matter common sense. Its a shame though because the McCain of '91 was impressive.
Hate to break it to Rudy but he doesn't have anywhere near as much experience as McCain.
His sentences involve a noun, a verb and 9/11. I am sure the voters will see through him.
It'll never work. They ain't learned to read yet up there in South Carolina.
Yeah, but he wants to grant amnesty to illegal aliens. That's enough of a reason for me to not even consider him.
The old senator from AZ won't need to put out adds that he is the only one who can beat Hillary in SC...My state of SC is so conservative that whoever the GOP candidate is they will win SC...It does not matter SC is a true red state regardless.
We have seen what the polar right...and polar left are doing to our country....when 70% of Americans describe themselves as "moderate" – any "moderates" running on the Dems side....nope....any on the Republicans? (yep....Giuliani...a social liberal...and fiscal conservative....don't take marriage or child rearing advice....and he will be an excellent "moderate" president)
Virtually anybody the Republicans nominate will beat Hilliary. Way too many warts on the lady from Arkansas (oops New York). A Presidential run for the roses against a Repub will be her worst nightmare but finally the end of the Clinton sorry saga.
McCain is the most qualified candidate. Something we do not hold with high enough regard..
Poor John doesn't realize that most of us are snoring.
Mike, thats what Joe Biden said last night.
Chris from Middletown, CT
It is confounding to see a misperception of the word moderate used repeatedly. Political positions on just a few social issues do not make a candidate moderate, my friend. In reality, it is a candidate’s willingness to reach across party lines to bring people together in a unified fashion that makes a person moderate. In case you did not notice, Rudy does not exactly reach out to Democrats. On the contrary, Giuliani seems to prefer the same ole divisive rhetoric used by the Bush administration. Maybe that is why we continue to see Bush affiliates supporting Rudy in this election, as evident by Jeb’s endorsement and now Joe Allbaugh, who headed FEMA under Bush.
So who is really moderate? Let’s take Rudy Giuliani or Barack Obama as an example. Obama wants to change the way politics is done in Washington so that we can unite this country again for the betterment of all people. Barack believes that political affiliations should not interfere with our ability to listen to the other party in a constructive effort to find common ground. Where is Rudy on this concept? He is too busy struggling for the right wing vote that cares little about reaching consensus (just look at the way they treated any dissent these past six years).
I thought I was going to like Rudy in the beginning. Then I heard him convey those divisive messages, and I knew for certain he was not my candidate. Rudy Giuliani really disappointed me in that regard and is unfortunately no moderate in the true meaning of the word.
I am a army veteran and a registered Democrat, and I am a strong supporter of John Mccain. I think the media was too quick to write Mccain off and I think that Clinton will have a tough fight ahead against this true patriot and a man who is willing to reach across the aisle to build consensus. I would be proud to have John Mccain as my president.
If, and heaven forbid john McCain is the Rupblican nominee and Hilrary the democratic nominee. America will have to decide which of these two Snakes they really want. It's more of which one can do us the most harm as both will--and what were the American people thinking if either is the nominee