February 4th, 2008
06:27 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain says popularity is due to Iraq surge

(CNN) – Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Monday, he owes his support in the presidential race to a successful troop surge in Iraq.

“If the surge had not succeeded I don’t think that I would have political viability,” the Arizona senator told CNN’s Dana Bash adding, most experts would agree with him.

The latest CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll shows 45 percent of registered Republican voters support McCain for their party’s nomination. Mitt Romney trails behind with 24 percent of support.

When questioned about recent criticism that he doesn’t have the temperament to be president, Sen. McCain used the opportunity to tout his conservative record and Republican support.

“We wouldn’t be winning these elections if I had any significant opposition anywhere in the party."

Related video: Watch a clip of Dana Bash's interview with Sen. McCain

- CNN’s Emily Sherman

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. TammyNH

    Honor sure helps but it shouldn't be a sole issue, A President needs to able to listen to abstainers and people who object to their policy's without cussing them out and pushing them out of the way. McCain is the last person that should be in charge of world issues, he's far to hot tempered and an ego maniac... we have had eight years of Yes men from Bush, we don't need four more with this unstable man.

    I'll vote for bomb Iran, 100 year war McCain the day after Never. 3rd party if it's between McCain and Hillary and Obama if he should get the nom.

    I hope Mitt beats him all over the map tomorrow.

    February 4, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  2. McCAIN's 4 Gay Marrige

    McCains support of Gay Marriage MEANS HE IS SCARY


    February 4, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  3. john

    A Hispanic vote for McCain + a Hispanic vote for Hillary...certain to dilute these
    votes enough to neutralize their impact.

    February 4, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  4. Lance

    Mary Davis, I guess that "a man of honor" and "character" depends on definition and perspective, as I believe that actions are more important than words. His first wife certainly would not describe him as you have when he cheated on her, divorced her and remarried one month later. Bill Clinton's character appears evangelical in comparison to my "friend."

    February 4, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  5. joeneesima

    Mexico First?
    McCain has embraced a Vicente Fox’s aide as his own.

    By Mark Krikorian

    “I want the third generation, the seventh generation, I want them all to think ‘Mexico first.’ ” These are the words of Juan Hernandez, John McCain’s “Hispanic outreach director,” on Nightline June 7, 2001.

    The blogosphere has been abuzz over the news of Hernandez’s position in the McCain campaign, thanks to the spadework of Michelle Malkin (see here, here, and here) and Jerry Corsi. Thanks also to the power of the Internet, McCain was actually asked about this at an event in Florida Sunday, though he tap-danced his way out of answering directly.

    February 4, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  6. Preston

    What is with this country. We think we are so enlightened but we are so bigoted that 43% of us will never vote for a Mormon.

    We will vote for a man who has had an extra-marital affair with a woman 17 years his junior (McCain). A man who found it "interesting" that his ancestor owned 52 slaves after all, it was "legal as a loaf of bread" (McCain). We'll vote for a man who was up to his neck in the Keating scandal (McCain) but never a Mormon.

    February 4, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  7. Nick, Austin, TX


    I always get a good laugh when crazy far right Republicans complain about McCain being a moderate. He is one of only like 4 republican senate members who doesn't need to be checked into a lunatic asylum. Yes, God forbid a republican actually believes in science.

    Hahaha. It is like the middle ages with the Republicans.

    Cracks me up.

    February 4, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  8. john

    John McCain is a moron. The surge didnt help him at all. He is a war mongerer and I will NEVER vote for him.

    February 4, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  9. AJ, IL

    The problem with McCain's popularity is that he may be right. The fact that violence is down (more like 2004 or 2005 levels) in Iraq is deceiving. The surge is being maintained by overextending troop rotations to 18 months. The troop levels will come down eventually because America doesn't have enough "available" troops. We will see around June or July of 2008 where Iraq is. If no political reconciation is reached by May 2008 and violence levels start inching back up, McCain's popularity with moderate Republicans and Independents will plummet.

    February 4, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  10. Glenda Wells

    While I am watching Lou Dobbs, I see McCain's election ad that he is the conservative choice. Any sound minded conservative Republican recognizes this as a LIE, and if he would lie even against his own record to the American people where he has stood more on the moderate to liberal side of the party, reaching over the aisle to liberal democrats, how much more would he lie to the American people as president. He only represents what has failed and is part of the establishment that has not succeeded in change. He lies in his own campaign commercials to say he is the conservative choice and would never be a sound real choice for real conservatives. He changes colors depending on which side of the aisle he's on and is unstable for any example of leadership.

    February 4, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  11. mr.fair tax


    February 4, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  12. Dan

    McCain will give amnesty to the illegals. Romney won't and Romney will also be able to fix our economy. Romney has my vote tomorrow! I hope you all do the same. God Bless America!!

    February 4, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  13. Karen, Jersey City

    Spanky's popularity is due to I want to see his mother interviewed again... I love that woman, she makes me laugh very very hard.....

    February 4, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  14. Corwin Bowles (PA)

    Has anyone forgot that two years ago he tried to swtich political parties? He tried to go Dem. He runs off his military rec. Nothing else. He is the most dem out of all the republicans. I just want to you thing for one second about his rec. What has he done that says he can be president of America? Nothing. He dosent have a good wrap sheet. Not to mention he has no talent in economic standerds. The goverment is going down economicly and we are going for a man who cant handle money? Lets just thorw millions down the drain. Think bigger people...actually spend a night at the computer and look as a few sites (The candidates sites) and see who you like. Look at the field before you send your vote in the box. Thats all I am asking.

    February 4, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  15. Hillphil

    Did the surge really work, really?
    We shouldn't be there in the first place, Bush Goofed.
    Got more American men and women killed than 9/11

    February 4, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  16. Gary

    John Mc Cains opening line of""" My Friend""" just doesn't get it ....I believe that John Mc Cain, as a candidate for the Republican Party, is running to be a Presidential Candidate for President.......These Republicans are all in for a rude awakening, and a time bomb is sitting out there to be exploited by anyone who wants to, or has the """Guts"" to challenge whether or not Mc Cain is a ""Traitor or a Hero""....Are country has many Hero's that are greater then John McCainn, and just because He was Captured, and spent 5+ years in Vietnam back in the Late Sixties and Seventies doesn't make Him qualified to be a President,,,,""OLE JOHN""...Like ""OLE GEORGE"" has milked that ""COW DRY""" Some of His Comrades dispute the Fact he was tortured, Some say He may have collabrated with The enemy to secure a better welfare for Himself....Many died in the Prison who stuck to the Code of Conduct for Prisoners of War......Name ....Rank....Serial Number, and the use of His personal authenticator for the Squadron to indentify Him, specifically as to who He says he is....John Mc Cain is a ""YES MAN""" he changes with the direction the wind is blowing at the time.....He makes false accusations about His running mates, and knows that by the time the Media has time to check out the Veracity of His Statements, the Damage to the other Candidates has been done......Check out through a little Resaerch what he has done to The Indians in Arizona, taking and condeming there Land, and moving Legislation through the Congress to resettled them in areas that are Contaminated.....Does anyone remember the """Keating Five Scandel"" that cost the Tax Payers 2 Billion to Bail out the Lincoln Savings and Loan....John Mc Cain was involved in that""" little Fiasco""", His lawyers tried to get the investigation thrown out. But the Ethics and Oversight Committe said that there was a enough evidence to go forward with the investigation....Charkes Keating went to Prison for FOUR years....The other Senators (Democrats and Republicans alike were censured)...Some how John Mc Cain kinda of eased off into the Sunset... The records reflect He took $112,000.00 in Campaign Contribution from Keating, did He ever give back that Money to the Tax Payers???? Lets see if these stories will eventually be exploited by the American Public to get to the TRUTH>>>>If there is nothing to the stories...Then """JOHN why Won't you authorize the Opening of the records in the Pentagon to clear up the stories that are going around about what really happened in the ""Haoni Hilton""" in Vietnam????? Please do your Research on these Candidates before you vote another ""Idiot like Bush into office"",.""OLE JOHN"" will carry out Bush and Cheney's drive to Iran...So Our Troops will be in Iran dying still, for more Oil and Haliburton........BZ

    February 4, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  17. Chris, Jacksonville


    None of the Above '08

    (Seriously out of nearly 300 million people THESE guys are the best we can do?!?! Pathetic.)

    February 4, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  18. BJ, Seattle

    The surge very well could be a temporary boost for McCain, but the reason why we are still there is to give the Iraqi's a chance to develop a stable government, working economy and a rebuilt infrastructure. Once those conditions are met, there is no real reason for us to be spending 100 billion + a year on Iraq. As we approach the general elections, I suspect the funding of the war will become a more important issue.
    Pat Buchanan in an article to be published in The American Conservative called "The Great Betrayal", says the following," We are forewarned. John McCain intends to be a war president." I hope if McCain does become president, that is not the case.

    February 4, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  19. ag

    superstitious ?????

    A true Christian is not superstitious. What's the deal with that ??

    Vote for Huckabee....and sit back and watch him debate the DEMS.

    February 4, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  20. Chelsea, C Falls, MT

    So he's saying he's a sucky candidate? Ok, that makes no sense. . .

    ~*~Mitt Romney~*~

    February 4, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  21. Christian, Tampa FL

    He also owes his impending DOOM in November to the troop surge. Americans are tired of this stupid war and we're not going to allow McCain to keep pouring blood and treasure into the sands of Iraq.

    February 4, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  22. Former Rightie

    Yet another clueless Republican. The Iraq war goes down as one of the worse blunders in American history. Our military has been relegated to an Iraqi police force while their politicians take on no responsibility for their own country. Split the country in 3 and give a 3rd to Iran, a 3rd to Saudi and a 3rd to Turkey and GET OUT !!!

    February 4, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  23. Jim in the Boonies

    As a conservative, there is plenty to not like about McCain. But his steadfast support of the surge, long before it even began, when it was extremely unpopular politically, is impossible to ignore. He might be soft on some social issues ... but where the rubber meets the road, the man is steel-belted thru and thru. .

    February 4, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  24. Ray, El Paso TX

    Well, they do say the mind is the first to go.

    February 4, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  25. Jolat

    I am a lifelong conservative and I would never vote for mccain, and the biggest red flag for our party is that he is the media's choice and the democrats choice for the republican candidate. They say his winning tomorrow is a sure thing? Well, that's what they said about the new england patriots!

    February 4, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
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