COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (CNN) - John McCain, who returned to Iowa on Wednesday for a series of campaign stops in advance of next week's caucuses, was quick to tell reporters that his campaign has a "very, very long way to go" in the state.
The Arizona senator said he was pleased to pick up endorsements from the Des Moines Register and Quad City Times, but that he wasn’t "enough of a strategist" to talk about how the Iowa caucuses will affect the rest of the presidential race.
"I know it's very, very difficult, but we continue to work," McCain said of his Iowa chances. "I think it always has significance, but honestly it's how the media to a large degree portrays winners and losers and expectations and comeback kids and all that. So I would ask you: How am I doing?"
McCain, who spoke to reporters before a small town hall meeting, said he thought the immigration issue, and his lack of support for ethanol subsidies, had dragged him down in Iowa polls.
When asked about the recent attacks on his campaign by Republican rival Mitt Romney, McCain responded: “I think I appreciate all the attention and … I just have to quote from the Concord Monitor and the Union-Leader. It's not unexpected. We're doing fine and I view it as a sign of the success we're having in New Hampshire."
McCain, who has received several major newspaper endorsements in the Granite State, is tied for the lead with Romney, or a close second, in most recent polls of GOP primary voters there.