November 30th, 2007
09:30 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain memo declares candidate most presidential

A McCain memo declares the candidate is the most presidential.

(CNN) - In an internal memo to the campaign’s leadership team obtained by CNN’s John King, John McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis wrote that the Arizona senator “was the only candidate on stage [at Wednesday’s CNN/YouTube debate] who sounded like a president.”

The key to winning the White House, he added, is “dignity” and acting “presidential”. Said Davis, “I have to think the Clinton campaign is having a great day after watching the various school yard fights that broke out between Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani.” (Read memo [PDF])

Though McCain was part of some skirmishes over immigration, Davis wrote, “do we really believe that by ripping our party apart on immigration that we will be better able to win a general election against Hillary Clinton and the Democrats?”

Davis accused rivals of “name calling” as he quoted a National Review column describing McCain as “grown up and serious.” McCain, he told supporters, is needed to “restore dignity to the chaotic selection process.”

Meanwhile, GOP candidate Fred Thompson also criticized the process, including the debate forums, and called for a more substantive campaign. Thompson told reporters in Phoenix that “a presidential campaign is, as it turns out, not the best way in the world to discuss serious issues. “

“I’m thinking about a plan that may be a little bit better, where we might have a little more time to discuss serious issues,” said Thompson. “You go with what you have to go with, and that format is what we have to go with right now.”

- CNN’s Steve Brusk and Mark Norman

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Todd, SLC, UT

    I have to say McCain sure did put Romney in his place on the topic of Waterboarding. McCain has nothing to loose, so he really can tell it to the US straight – where as the rest of the contenders dance around issues, taking advice from their lawyers on how to answer the question (e.g. Romeny's response to Waterboarding).

    November 30, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  2. Jason, San Francisco, CA

    McCain is the most presidential? Really? It would seem to me that anyone being dubbed "most presidential" should have an understanding of our Constitution. Anyone being considered "most presidential" should also have a general understanding of the differences between non-interventionist and isolationist; there is a remarkable difference between the two.

    The only man of dignity, honesty, and understanding of how this nation should be governed is Ron Paul. He's the most presidential candidate of the bunch.

    November 30, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  3. Abominable Snowman, Alaska

    If you see a suit walking toward you in a snow storm, don't's John McCain.

    November 30, 2007 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  4. Sandy, KS

    McCain is an old man with a broken face only fit to be a president of retirement community and not of young and vibrant America.

    In any case because of his support for illegal lawbreakers, he has lost the trust of the legal voters.

    November 30, 2007 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  5. Conservative Voter, Lexington, SC

    Fred Thompson says he wants a format that gives more time to discuss serious issues. You may remember he said the same thing about 2 months ago, and Mike Huckabee invited him to a face-to-face debate of the most serious issues facing America today. These "Lincoln-Douglas" style debates historically have been a much more effective way to transmit a candidate's message. Though Gov. Huckabee repeatedly offered to debate in this style with Fred Thompson, Fred Thompson declined the invitation. Speaking without a script isn't exactly his thing...

    December 1, 2007 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  6. HS, Lexington, SC

    Incidentally, the zip code with the greatest amount per donation and greatest total donation for RON PAUL is San Francisco, CA. Since I doubt there are many conservatives living in San Fran, my guess is that these are democratic voters who want to encourage a 3rd party candidacy in order to split the conservative/Republican vote and assure Hillary or Barack a win. A back door tactic, but effective, though Ron Paul would not stand a chance in a general election.

    December 1, 2007 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  7. Eric S.

    uhhh, Wallace, Chicago:
    When referring to a presidential campaign memo, it is completely correct to equivocate the words "internal" and "confidential." The material that Mr. King from CNN obtained would be better described as a "media release," (it just wasn't labeled as such). Just the same though, thanks for helping prove my point.

    December 1, 2007 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  8. C. Johnson, Jr

    Kennedy endorses Hillary. Odd, given that Kennedy is an environmental activist and wrote an article about thimerosal (mercury) in vaccines and Hillary was prominent in pushing high levels of mercury containing vaccines during the 90's to the nation's children. You'd think they'd be polar opposites.

    Quid pro quo? Kennedy gets Clinton New York Senate seat in exchange for removing a potent scandal against her?

    December 1, 2007 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  9. Jimmy Iowa

    Well I sounded like a President when I gave a college speech. Who Cares!

    December 1, 2007 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. Truefreedomlover, VB, VA

    He doesn't even support FairTax, He's as much my candidate as GWB. Forget Him!

    December 1, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. Gregory Van Zuyen, Los Angeles, California

    This is not news. It was posted on McCain's home page directly after the debate. CNN's overly zealous liberal stance and lackadasical news-gathering is embarrassing.

    Couldn't find a 12-year-old with a cell phone to cover the debate? How about some real news with intelligence.

    No disrespect to McCain over this one. CNN must stand for Corrupt News Network.

    December 1, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  12. Republicae, Charleston, SC

    McCain doesn't have a clue about the history of this nation, nor does he understand that our military intervention into WWI facilitated the rise of Hitler and WWII. In WWI, both sides of the conflict were close to ruin and ready to sue for peace, unfortunately the United Stated entered the war and changed the entire fabric of the future. Had we remained neutral, both sides would have sued for peace and slumbered back into a relatively peaceful existence of their dying empires.

    Imagine we could have avoided the rise of Hitler if the U.S. had not entered the war. The Treaty of Versailles would have never been the cause of so much German humiliation and severe reparations, all of which gave rise to the German national resentment and to the rise of the ultra-nationalism of Hitler. Imagine again, 6 Million Jews would have never entered the death camps, Israel as we know it would not have been forced upon the Middle East and provided a center for decades of conflict. Imagine that the Soviet Union would have have controlled Eastern Europe and therefore the cold war would have never taken place. Imagine, if you will, that while the Japanese may have attacked Pear Harbor, the United States would have quickly won that war without the need of a European theater of war therefore, the likelihood of a nuclear bomb being dropped on Japan would have been far less.
    Imagine the British would have never gained control of the Middle East because the Ottoman Empire would have been left to crumble on its own instead of breaking up after WWI. There would have been a natural evolution of nations based more on ethnicity instead of artificial borders the British imposed, also another cause of conflict in the region.

    McCain is an interventionist and the biggest problem with intervention is that it drastically changes the fabric of the future, our future, in ways that we cannot see for decades. We should all consider the need for foresight as a major character trait for anyone who desires to be President; for decades we have had men with little foresight and much less wisdom. It is time to choose someone to lead this nation based upon a sober clarity, an ability to use reason, the last thing this country and world needs is another reactionary willing to shoot first and ask questions later.

    December 1, 2007 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  13. Reality Check

    Yard fight?

    Oh please! McCain acts like he hasn't done any dirty fighting in his campaign. Lets not forget that within the last month, he had his ancient old puppet of a mother bash Mitt Romney.

    The only reason he didn't get involved with the "yard fight" is because he wouldn't win, he is too old and he would get his butt kicked up around his ears by the young bucks.

    McCain is a washed up old buzzard.

    December 2, 2007 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  14. Bruce Parker San Antonio Texas

    George Bush looked very presidential in 2000 but it turned out that he is an idiot. McCains postion on free trade, the war in Iraq and his support of comprehensive immigration reform proves he is devoted to policies that are proven failures. McCain has been brainwashed by corporate special interests and seeks to serve them just like George Bush does, America dosnt need someone like that in the whitehouse.

    December 2, 2007 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  15. Teddy, Lawrence, KS

    Most presidential? Sure, acting is easy but actually doing it is different. Only candicate that knows his stuff is Ron Paul and ready to address all the problems. Ron Paul for 2008!!

    December 2, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. alley, houston ,tx

    John McCain is a warmongering neocon. He is pathetic in his defense of the Vietnam war and uses his status as POW to shove his fearmongering ideas down the throats of the American public. McCain and his ilk are history. America has had enough and is ready for the coming of RON PAUL and the REVOLUTION!

    December 2, 2007 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  17. Reality Check

    Davis accused rivals of “name calling” as he quoted a National Review column describing McCain as “grown up and serious.” McCain, he told supporters, is needed to “restore dignity to the chaotic selection process.”

    At the ripe old age of 70+, McCain is finally "grown up and serious"! Ha Ha. Maybe in the next decade he can finally educate himself about becoming less ignorant towards those with different races and religions.

    McCain isn't taking any high roads. He rolls in the gutters with the rest of them.

    December 2, 2007 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. Jim, Sicklerville, NJ

    McCain is a war monger and a neocon. He has only the interests of his special interests who work for the military industrial complex at heart. As a man who served his country as a POW, he should be most sensitive to the horror of a sensless war, yet he spouts the party line and has no leadership qualities to speak of – he is a party hack!

    December 2, 2007 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
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