February 6th, 2008
02:04 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain vows to unite Republicans, ready to 'wrap this up'

 McCain said Wednesday he can unite the Republican Party.
McCain said Wednesday he can unite the Republican Party.

(CNN) – Sen. John McCain expressed pleasure and gratitude over his Super Tuesday showing and declared, "We will unite the party behind our conservative principles and move forward and win the general election in November."

The morning after proclaiming that he is now the front-runner among Republicans seeking the nation's highest office, the senator from Arizona told reporters in Phoenix, "I'm very pleased about the victory last night, obviously."

Standing in front of his "Straight Talk Express" bus, flanked by the man he has called his "favorite Democrat," Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, McCain said he was "pleased at the depth and breadth of our victory last night."

Supporters like Lieberman and Graham, he said, "gave us a broad base of support from all parts of this party."

McCain said he has canceled a planned trip abroad this weekend in order to "wrap this up as quickly as possible."

Asked about concern among "very conservative" Republicans that McCain is not conservative enough for their tastes, McCain said he is not worried.

"With conservative voters, which are the majority of Republicans, we did extremely well," he said. And comparing his home state with that of is conservative rival, he said, "We won by a much larger margin in Arizona than Governor (Mitt) Romney did in Massachusetts."

"Is there a lot of work to unite the entire party?" he asked rhetorically "Sure. After the campaigns are over, you've always got the task of uniting the party behind the nominee."

But he expressed confidence he can do just that. "Our message will be we all share common conservative principles," he said. "Fundamental conservative political philosophy, which has been my record."

McCain then addressed the issues that motivated many voters in Tuesday's elections. The nation is in "difficult economic times," but raising taxes "exacerbates the difficulties," he said.

He reiterated the he would cut wasteful spending rather than raise taxes, which "would be the worst thing we could do to our economy."

And he backed the call by President Bush for Congress to move quickly to pass an economic stimulus measure.

"If we say we're going to pass a stimulus package and then we don't, then that contributes to the cynicism and lack of trust."

McCain took pains to single out Lieberman as "a chapter in 'Profiles in Courage'" - an example of the kind of bipartisan politician he admires. "We

have a guy here who would stand up against his entire party and say, 'We've got to stand the course in Iraq,'" said McCain, who supports Bush's stay-the-course approach in that country.

"Al Qaeda will win if we do what the Democrats want us to do," he said about the Democratic presidential candidates' plans to draw down U.S. forces from Iraq quickly if one of them becomes commander in chief.


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. Johnson

    Good luck with that!!

    February 6, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  2. JB

    If you are a democrat and you want to beat John McCain, think carefully about who you vote for in the primaries. Recent polls show McCain beating Hillary in a general election. The candidate with overwhelming victories in the south, midwest and other traditionally 'red' areas is Obama. He can campaign where she can't, and he brings in many more new voters, independent voters and crossover republicans. He cannot be accused of "flip-flopping" on the key issue of Iraq, as Hillary will be. McCain will indeed unite his party (especially if Hillary is the nominee), and they will have a good chance to win unless we put up our strongest challenger: Obama. Voting for Obama should be a simple matter of pragmatism for democrats. We need to win, and we need to win big. The stakes are too high to take a chance on Hillary.

    February 6, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. JohnS

    I was listening to NPR this morning, and here is one major REASON for which someone noted that they voted for Hillary:

    Only Hillary is able to clean Washington of the lobbyists.

    Well, this speaks volumes about the educational level of the Hillary voters!!! These are the SAME groups of people who keep saying that all Obama talks about is "change" with no specifics. Although they have, hopefully, watched Obama beat Clinton in a debate that focused on ISSUES, not experience they still do not get it!!!

    Wake up American, do not drive the Independents and Moderate Republicans BACK to the camp of the Republicans by making Hillary the nominee!!! Wise up, educate yourself, purge yourself of racial/gender lines, and think about the VIRTUES of this nation. This is about changing the directions of Washington, the old-politics, the nation, and the WORLD. Unfortunately, the Clintons had had their turn and they blew it. They left the White House in total disgrace and should take RESPONSIBILITY for GWB being president for 8 years!!!!

    February 6, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. Ken, Suitland MD

    What a right-wing hack. Yes, please McCain, gather all the [R]s together in one spot, so we can flush the lot of you out of our political system with one pull of the lever in Nov. McCain, if you beg enough maybe the likes of Rush and Hannity will let you get your nose in there quite a ways, to the point where you are eating some right-wing Charmin.

    February 6, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. ANTI CLINTONS

    MCCAN'T COULDN'T UNITE A BEE WITH A FLOWER HE'S SO STUPID TO SAY WHAT HE DOES! HE ISN'T A REPUBLICAN OR A CONSERVATIVE, HE'S A LIB WITH LIB IDEAS. HE'S AN ANGRY OLD MAN AND GETS PISSED OFF WHEN PEOPLE SAY SOMETHING ABOUT HIM. HE THINKS BECASUE HE WAS A POW THAT HE SHOULD HAVE THE PRESIDENCY HANDED TO HIM AND EVERYONE SHOULD BOW DOWN TIO HIM...HA HA!

    HE'S THE LIBS BEST FRIEND, THEY ARE SETTING HIM UP, THE FIRST THING THEY ARE GOING TO DO IS MAKE AN ISSUE ABOUT HIS OLD AGE, AND RIGHTLY SO.

    HILLBILLY HICKUPBEE IS JUST TRYING TO TAKE VOTES FROM ROMNEY SO A VOTE FOR HILLY BILLY BOY IS A VOTE FOR MCCAN'T.

    PEOPLE USE COMMON SENSE AND VOTE FOR ROMNEY, IT'S THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

    ROMNEY!!

    February 6, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  6. John

    Wow – now unite – after hoping that JOhn will win. Romney is being picked on by Huckabee and Huckabee doesn't touch McCain – I wonder why????

    Hummmmmmmm..................... VP Hopeful?????

    February 6, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  7. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    So as it stands now, I'm left with a choice between a tax-and-spend, war- and fear-mongering thug, who smirks at the mention of the Constitution (watch McCain's reaction when Ron Paul brings the subject up), and either of a pair of tax-and-spend socialists whose arrogant contempt for the citizens of the U.S. is complete.

    I think I'll stay home on election day.

    February 6, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  8. Mark

    Sorry McLIBERALCain...as long as Mitt is running he's getting my vote!

    By the way, I just found out from a pretty good source that Huckabee is going to call it quits...sounds like a Press Conference sometime tomorrow.

    February 6, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. Renaisauce

    I don't know what McCain is talking about. How the Republicans in the country are voting for other people because they don't want him to be the nominee. He ain't uniting anybody. The only reason he's winning is because the majority of the Republicans who don't want McCain can't seem to decide between Huckabee and Romney. McCain is part of a lingering Republican entrenchment that is about to become very antiquated, and not because of his age, but because the Democrats are going to put the Republican party behind by about 8 years. Welcome to the Obama Age.

    February 6, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. Mike Cairo, NY

    What many Washington politicos fear regarding McCain is the fact he's his own man. They also fear his dis-like of pork.

    February 6, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  11. Matthew

    IF McCain / Hillary / Obama are nominated ….

    It is indeed a sad day that we must inform the people of the world of the death of a beloved grand old matriarch. We hesitate to tell only because many of her immediate family have not been informed of her untimely demise. Several attempts have been made to inform them but to no avail.

    She was conceived with love and honor and with the sanction of God above. She was reported to have always represented all that was good and was said to be a beautiful, feisty, independent soul with a constitution as solid as a rock. Many testified she was a God fearing soul who taught the people she loved how to appreciate their God given rights.

    It seems an unidentified illness crept into her life and slowly sapped away her vitality and much cherished freedom. She eventually found herself confined in her last moments and she slipped away while family watched in disbelief.

    Imagine their dismay when the illness was diagnosed as a well known disease, the effects of which could easily have been reversed if the symtoms had been recognized by attentive healers.

    America – She will continue to live on in the minds and hearts of the people who cherished and cared for her.

    DS, Kansas

    February 6, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  12. Robert, Tuscaloosa AL

    I will NEVER vote for you, John McCain. You can live to be as old as your mother (95) and you will not ever be president. You have spit in the eyes of conservatives for 8 years so don't dare insult our intelligence by pretending to be one of us. You have insulted Romney and his supporters over-and-over again. You have orchestrated a hatchet job with your little lapdog (and conservative sellout) Mike Huckabee.

    Am I angry? Yes. Are alot of conservatives? Yes. You have brought this on yourself through your past actions. I will pop a bottle of champagne when you go down in November because it is better for our party to come back in 2012 with a conservative then to let you pretend to be one of us in the White House.

    February 6, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. jim Scottsdale AZ

    He can never unite the party. I am Republican that will never vote for McCain. He does not understand economics and wants us to be in Iraq for a 100 years his Foreign Policy is as bad as Bush. The poor guy does not understand what is wrong with the occupation of foreign Countries for 50 to a 100 years.

    The man does not understand that we went to War for no reason(read the book curveball) and on his watch and George they never got the #1 enemy of the U.S. Osma?

    I repsect that he served his Country, but he a Hillary not much there.

    I have switched to Independent and voting for Senator Obama, enough of the old school.

    February 6, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. liv2

    No chance.

    February 6, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. Dave

    McCain can't unite his own shoelaces. He will fail to unite the party.

    February 6, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  16. W. Steve

    How can someone who believes in no tax cuts, open borders, stepping out on his wife, calling religious people intolerant be a conservative? I think someone who believes in free choice and being personally responsible for the consequences of those choices is a conservative. They believe in morality and ethics, they are willing to help the poor and the needy themselves not rely on the government to do it. They believe the government’s job is security from enemies abroad, and law enforcement at home. They may believe that the government should help in national emergencies and natural disasters, if there is not a private organization in place to help (that is the best way). Education is done on a local level and controlled locally. Those are some of the things I think a conservative is. I do not think that McCain’s past demonstrates that he is a conservative, if he is honest and runs as a moderate, tells why he believes that is position is correct, (if he is honest about his past) I may consider voting for him. If he keeps claming he is a conservative, I will vote for the democratic nomine (hopefully Obama) unless a third party is started. Yes I will support tearing the republican party apart if it leaves us conservative behind in there drive for power.

    February 6, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  17. Sean (Trinidad)

    Why wont the other gop canidates just save their money in worthless campainging and help fund Mc Cain so he can give them a shot of becoming the Vice President ...

    February 6, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. W. Steve

    By the way do not stay home, that is what "they" want us conseratives to do.

    February 6, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  19. Doug

    McCain is a corrupt liar and this conservative will NEVER vote for him!!!

    February 6, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  20. Z

    Instead of staying home, write in the name of the person you feel is most qualified to be president. There is no need to let the parties choose who you can vote for.

    February 6, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  21. Real Conservative

    If McCain or Huckabee are the nominees, myself and many of my once Republican friends have said that we are switching to independent and will vote dem just to spite a corrupt Republican system. This country will be split.

    February 6, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  22. Brenda

    This isn't going to happen. McCain makes me sick and the thought of voting for him is repulsive. He calls us Racist for not supporting amnesty and has complete disdain for the conservative wing of the party. Well I have news for you all... Not all conservatives are religious wackos. I support Mitt Romney and I am disgusted with the politicking to get Romney out of the way at any cost. You can't tell me that Huckabee hasn't gotten his hands dirty in the deal either. The complete apathy of the Republican base is shocking. If it comes down to it, I will be doing a write-in.

    February 6, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  23. Ca Native

    McCain-Feingold, McCain-Kennedy, McCain voting NO to Bush tax cuts, McCain entertaining leaving the GOP in 2001.....

    Bill Clinton was right about one thing this campaign season.... Hillary and McCain are very close.

    This conservative will vote for Obama... or a 3rd party.

    February 6, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  24. c

    John mcain will never get my vote. He tried to get amnesty for illegals and I can not and will not support that.

    February 6, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  25. Matthew

    IF McCain / Hillary / Obama are nominated ….

    It is indeed a sad day that we must inform the people of the world of the death of a beloved grand old matriarch. We hesitate to tell only because many of her immediate family have not been informed of her untimely demise. Several attempts have been made to inform them but to no avail.

    She was conceived with love and honor and with the sanction of God above. She was reported to have always represented all that was good and was said to be a beautiful, feisty, independent soul with a constitution as solid as a rock. Many testified she was a God fearing soul who taught the people she loved how to appreciate their God given rights.

    It seems an unidentified illness crept into her life and slowly sapped away her vitality and much cherished freedom. She eventually found herself confined in her last moments and she slipped away while family watched in disbelief.

    Imagine their dismay when the illness was diagnosed as a well known disease, the effects of which could easily have been reversed if the symtoms had been recognized by attentive healers.

    America – She will continue to live on in the minds and hearts of the people who cherished and cared for her.

    DS, Kansas

    February 6, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
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