January 20th, 2008
10:00 AM ET
7 years ago

McCain gets big win, but questions remain

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Watch McCain's victory speech in South Carolina (Photo Credit: AP)

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) – Arizona Sen. John McCain gained an important victory Saturday in the South Carolina Republican primary, but exit polls indicate he made few inroads into the conservative heart of the Republican Party.

The results leave the race for the party's presidential nomination wide open going into the January 29 primary in Florida and the "Super Tuesday" contests beyond.

"I just would have to regard this as a good night for McCain, with some significant concerns when you get into the weeds," political analyst Stuart Rothenberg told CNN.

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Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. charlotte

    Super Tuesday, I wonder, will McCain carry the Irish-Americans voters in New York?

    January 20, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  2. ne,pa

    Thompson has been in this to help his buddy McCain since he realized he won't win.
    Thompson took votes away from Huckabee which helped McCain.
    Thompson has been running interference FOR McCain in the debates and now in S.Carolina.
    If McCain is elected, I'm sure there will be a nice position waiting for Thompson.
    It's called dirty politics.

    January 20, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  3. Juan Grain

    The only way that, Hillary Clinton can beat McCain is with Obama as her running mate. I cringe at what a debate between her and McCain would look like.

    What does she have on McCain: Experience? Not even close.
    Military experience? None
    Working in a non- partisan way, reaching across the isle? He has a way stronger record for that, to the extent that many to his right frown heavily. And we all know that nothing big gets done in Washington if you cannot or refuse to negotiate.

    Appeal to the Independent vote? not a chance without Obama.

    A sense of Honor, while I respect her for her work and putting up with much of what was tossed her way. It is difficult for anyone to match McCain in this department.

    The ill advised war? This is an area that she can win at, Americans are not stupid, we know that the Iraqi government is milking us, why pay for the cow?

    He would have to campaign on a solid exit strategy, that requires the Iraqi government to take real control of their country. A strategy that has us re-focus on the war on terrorism. The war on Osama and his organization. And that means Afghanistan coupled with painful leverage to Pakistan to git-er-done.

    This could get ugly.

    Obama, should go Independent, if Hillary wins and does not offer him the VP position. Or maybe McCain should offer it to him! Hey mix it up, that works

    January 20, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  4. Hilary Clintonn

    McCain is old and slow, he is done, he won't make much head way in this election. Romney will win.

    Go Mitt!

    January 20, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  5. H.Clinton

    None of the candidates can match Ron Pauls conservative record, integrity and support for the constitution and his consistant track record with no flip flops. During his 20 years in Congress Ron Paul has never taken a government-paid junket, has never voted himself a pay raise, and does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program. He has never voted for an unbalanced budget or to raise taxes, or to allow the govt. to spend our Social Security Fund money on other govt. expenses. He is a Statesman with integrity, who walks the talk. Paul, a veteran has received more donations from the troops then any other candidate. He served his country as a Flight Surgeon in the Air Force for 5 years. He voted against the war in Iraq, instead urged Congress to hunt down the terrorists responsible fo 9/11. Ron Paul will bring out troops home immediately to protect our national security and our borders here at home. Ron Paul is a Christian with true Christian values. He is not like other Christians who are warmongers, who support illegal pre-emptive wars, torture, and the killing of hundreds of thousand of innocent Iraqis. We owe nearly 10 trillion dollars, and continue to borrow money from China and others for this illegal war. We are virtually bankrupt. Ron Paul voted against the Real ID card, and the Patriot Act which violates are consitutional rights. He will restore habeas Corpus and our constitutional rights. As it stands, the Miltary Commission act and recent Presidential Executive Orders give the President the power to arrest any U.S. citizen, (anti war journalists, war protestors, etc), take their property and put them in jail WITHOUT the right of due process. Wake Up America. Save the Republic, vote for Ron Paul.

    January 20, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  6. David, Oregon City

    It is very sad to see desperate Fred Thompson attempting to hide his weak accomplishments by expressing himself forcefully against Huckabee! By the way, is it politically correct yet to talk about McCain’s liberal views and past record?WOW, until now, John McCain and “Gubber” "Gram" was considered a treat to the Republican party and hated by most conservatives for their the liberal work in the Senate. Most conservatives will remember the McCain’s “gang of 14” and McCain – Feingold bill! No way Jose!

    January 20, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  7. Dick Reilly

    Does a Presidential nominee have the right to choose as a running mate, a person from a different party rather than his own party?? I.E. could McCain choose someone like Bill Richardson as his running mate?
    I am a democrat, but would vote for McCain under that senario.

    January 20, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  8. Kc

    McCain is just another Sr Senator war veteran who has no winning ideas like Bob Dole was a sr senator war vet in 1996. Obama/Oprah or the Clintons would have a very big victory against McCain just like Slick did against Dole back in 96.

    Now that the news is out that Rudy is low on money, Mitt is the only candidate that can go the distance and win in November. If the people of Florida do not wake up and give Mitt a win that would make the dems and the media very happy indeed.

    A vote for McCain or the Huckster is a vote for the Democrats and economic & international failure

    January 20, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. John Shaw

    You seem to have missed the whole story for the Republicans, which was Ron Paul leaping into second and continuing to destroy Ghouliani in every contest and doing increasingly well.
    I just came up from watching CNN to get an update on the elections and hear comments from the front runners, and you are not inteviewing Paul you are inteviewing the also ran in every contest so far Ghouliani ?!@?
    Clearly you had lost touch, I changed the channels looking for someone who knows a news story.
    Have a nice day.
    John

    January 20, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  10. Bea

    FI January 12, 2008 3:48 pm ET

    Does anybody remember McCain last year in the following:

    Illegal Aliens do the jobs Americans won't do. McCain had the nerve to challenge the American people that he would pay $50 an hour to anyone who would come to his ranch and work the fields the way the Illegal Aliens do.

    Remember the phrase "JOBS AMERICANS WON'T DO?"

    HE'S NOT TALKING ABOUT ILLEGALS BUT HE STILL WANTS TO DO IT. IF HE IS ELECTED, HE WILL WORK WITH KENNEDY AND THE REST OF THE CROWD TO MAKE IT HAPPEN. REMEMBER LINDSEY GRAHAM ALSO SUPPORTED THE AMNESTY BILL, FOLKS.

    CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE PUT McCAIN ON THE SPOT AND MAKE HIM TAKE A STAND ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION? THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DESERVE TO KNOW JUST WHERE THAT MAN STANDS.

    I THOUGHT MITT ROMNEY WAS GOING TO DO IT BUT HE IS NOT TAKING THE FIGHT TO McCAIN. AND FRED THOMPSON IS ONLY INTERESTED IN THUMPING HUCKABEE BECAUSE McCAIN IS HIS FRIEND.

    THIS NEEDS TO BE BROUGHT OUT BEFORE THE SOUTH CAROLILNA PRIMARY. IF YOU WANT AMNESTY FOR ILLEGALS, McCAIN IS YOUR GUY.

    January 20, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  11. Jose Card - Independent

    If McCain did not manage to get inroads into the conservative heart of the Republican Party and he won SC, he must have earned the support from the Independents and even Democrats.

    January 20, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  12. Richard

    John Mc Cain = George W. Bush part 2

    -No way would I ever vote for him

    January 20, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. electro@spookydoo.com

    Hey, how come on CNN's individual state election pages, the state map isn't color-coded by county for the winners, and individual counties aren't hot-linked for quick access to that county's results?

    Used to have this function, and it was very useful –would like to see it come back.

    January 20, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  14. Rep. Voter

    It bugs me a little than McCain ran as a republican... He should be running as an independent but he was smart enough to know that he would have a chance as a nominee if he did.

    January 20, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. Rep. Voter

    It bugs me a little that McCain ran as a republican... He should be running as an independent but I have to give him a little credit for being was smart enough to know that he would have a chance as a nominee if he did. He wants to win. Better to to destroy Republican party and win.

    WHO IS THE MEDIA REALLY SUPPORTING... doesn't anybody wonder why McCain as going so many media endorsements? He is NO REAGAN and we live in TRULY different times. If MCCAIN WINS THE NOMINATION, I WILL VOTE FOR HILLARY. I will not let him take down the Republican party with him. Better to survive and fight another day.

    January 20, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  16. Brian.

    Frankly, GOOD. I don't WANT a Republican nominee with "inroads into the conservative heart of the party." The ultraconservatives have had their chance to try and bungle our government. Now let somebody with brains take over. Sheesh...

    January 20, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  17. John

    If the exit polls are correct McCain's bid for the white house will be blunted by Romney come super Tuesday He simply does not have the pull with the Republican base voter. Huckabee just don't have a clue on foreign affairs and the party movers and shakers will not support his bid especailly with his views on amending the Constitution. With each Muddled primary Romney increases his delagate lead over his rivals. but it's still wide open between the top four candidates.

    January 20, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. Concerned

    I would certainly like to know what the editor mean's by get into the weed's ????

    January 20, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  19. Hillary Rodman Clinton

    McCain – the "plain truth" (despite his currents spins):
    AGAINST tax cuts – with the Dems repeatedly in efforts to defeat Republicans
    AGAINST border protection and actively FOR amnesty to Illegals – with Teddy Kennedy
    AGAINST FREE SPEECH – with Russ Finegold against Republicans
    PRO "global warming" penalties on US and its citizens

    This guy makes a much better candidate for the Democrats.

    And he's OLD. A guaranteed replay of Bob Dole, only with much less party support – sound good Republicans???

    January 20, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  20. David, Oregon City

    A vote for McCain is a vote for more of the SAME! How is that working out for you?

    So how weird is it that American continues to ask for change but the elite media only supports and offers people like McCain who will provide more of the SAME. Who have we entrusted with enacting change in the past? People like McCain and his gang? Oh, but now he knows what change looks like? The elite media only asks America to support the same actions that will provide the same negative results? Catch my drift? Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the other elite talk show hacks have asked their zombies many times to rally against McCain but now they are tolerant of McCain when an outsider now tries to get elected outside of their “good o boys” club. The elite media is taking away the voice of America that wants change in support of their misguided views. I hold the elite media and talk show host responsible for suppressing the voice of the peoples with there attacks against the political outsiders.

    Only one candidate understands the kind of change American is asking for. He understands change doesn’t mean change of skin color, gender, or poll “a” tician. Huckabee understands Americans are asking for change in direction of family values, government and tax corruption, programs that do not work, illegal immigration, world trade that favors the other side and energy dependence.

    Enough with the programs that damaged family values, school accomplishments, increases crime, and increases corruption in this country. Where does all the big poll “a” tician’s campaign funds come from anyway?

    America has a chance for real change right now, or asks for more of the SAME! CHANGE or more of the SAME!

    January 20, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. Sukie

    I'm sorry, Mr. McCain

    You have served your nation well, but it is time to move on to new faces and new ideas.

    Even Hillary is learning this–no old faces standing behind you on the platform!

    Mr. McCain will be 72-1/2 when January 20, 2009 comes around–inaugural day. I doubt he could run for two terms due to his age. And if he does, will it be Cindy McCain who will run the nation like Nancy Reagan did?

    I am also scared to death that we WILL be in Afghanistan and Iraq 10-15 years from now as McCain's president says. And McCain seems to agree with him!

    January 20, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  22. Wayne Metz

    Yes, it was a good night for McCain, and yes, conservative republicans like myself hope it doesn't continue. Here in Florida, CNN's latest polls have McCain leading Guliani now. As a Fred Thompson supporter, I hope Florida republicans buck the trend and "confound" the media pundits who all too often push their desired candidate (McCain) on us. I noticed that I could tell who didn't win in Michigan (McCain or Huckabee) because the headline in the local paper (Gainesville Sun) was about Jack Kevorkian's visit to UF. I rightly concluded Romney won.

    Since McCain is a RINO (Republican in name only) the votes he is garnering trouble me. Can so many republicans actually be joining the ranks of those who despise this country?

    January 20, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  23. Tim, Minnesota

    This guy is no republican. He loves illegal amnesty. You'd think a person who served in the military would want protect America. I guess giving away our country is the fashionable thing to do. Good job John

    January 20, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. Tom Masters

    It's not about his age, he's just not a good candidate for this office.

    Hopefully his following will get behind Rudy, or anyone but Romney, when he gets out of the race.

    January 20, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  25. Phillip Kay

    At least McCain is genuine unlike the snakes Romney and Hillary Clinton. It is very easy to discern this look at their faces and listen to them speak. Romney is the worst!

    January 20, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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