February 6th, 2008
02:04 PM ET
10 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. byrd

    Who cares what Bomb Bomb John does? He can never never win a general election against Obama for sure, and perhaps not even against Hillary. I cant imagine running on a platform of another 100 years in Iraq if needed. The American people will be voting for change this year, and with McCain's 27 yrs. in office, he is part of the problem not the solution. The change people are talking about is not changing McCain's depends or diapers, it means the direction for the country. WHy would America vote for another extension of the BUSH era? I think not....Bomb Bomb needs to point the "Straight Talk Express" towards the nearest retirement home in Arizona.

    February 6, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  2. "My Friends" What a joke.

    I am a republican but if it's McCain we are in for one hell of a rollercoaster. The economy will plummet and we would be left with a quick to anger, small man syndrome dictator personality as our leader. Wake up people! What others dictators in history have serious temper problems when people disagree with them.

    February 6, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Alli

    Of course McCain says he's not worried about getting the conservative vote, he doesn't want to admit that he isn't the choice for conservatives.
    McCain says that he is the choice for Republicans just because he has won more primaries, but Romney would be a lot closer if McCain wasn't getting help from Huckabee.

    February 6, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. master of genius

    everyone please save all your breath, Mccain will win, because he have a good heart. if you want to vote, make sure you vote for Mccain and be happy with it. Thanks

    February 6, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. VDM, MD

    Did anybody watch the debates? McCain is the “frontrunner”? It looks like we are set to have another arrogant, war-mongering socialist disguised as a Republican running for President as our Party’s nominee. If McCain is nominated, I will be obligated to vote for the Democratic candidate. Being fleeced of my hard-earned money and subjected to more rules and regulations is better than having a hot-tempered president who is capable of starting World War III. America – what are you thinking? Is anyone out there thinking?

    February 6, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. Sam

    Anyone heard the rumor that Kennedy will be Obama's VP? The candidates should have to say who they are considering as it would make a huge difference for the voters.

    February 6, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  7. Larry Florida

    Mc Cain will fall on his fat head once we remember The Keating Five.

    Google it. He learned to work with the Democrats early.

    February 6, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. john williams san diego, ca.

    How can he unite Republicans, when he is not a Republican...NO AMNESTY.

    February 6, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. Dale

    please. Mr. "Straight Talk" telling them what they want to hear. I can't see this idiot uniting this fractured party.

    February 6, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. whatsitToyou

    You don't have my support McCain, nor any of my aquaintences!

    February 6, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. Sean (Trinidad)

    The main question what everyone who are basically republican is what is demorcracy .... If you have a criteria in which you select a canidate to run for your party and the party after so late in the process of selecting your Canidate have so much " turmoil" and dislike of a canidate who in some ways is to left wing fo his partys good , then why have a criteria which is worth promoting such contraversy and uncertainty which supposedly is the main dish of promoting demorcracy

    Sean Trinidad

    February 6, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. Shawn

    McCain = 100 years in Iraq = War is a solution = More soldiers = Comeback of the Draft.

    All McCain talks about is the war, all he takes credit for is the war planning he helped do. He is foul-tempered + trigger-happy. Really bad equation for the White House.

    February 6, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  13. David - Oregon City

    Romney and McCain are definitely spoilers for Mike Huckabee demonstrated by their expense per vote received.

    My last estimate:
    Romney- $84,644,955 = 4,095,564 Votes @ $21.40 ea.
    McCain – $39,145,649 = 4,820,598 Votes @ $ 8.12 ea.
    Huckabee – 7,107,364 = 2,399,495 Votes @ $ 2.96 ea.


    February 6, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. Ed Egan

    John McCain works well with the opposition – going all the way back to Hanoi.

    February 6, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. Chris

    Mike Huckabee would probably defeat Clinton or Obama in a debate. I don't think McCain or Mitt would fair as well.

    February 6, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. Frank

    Against Billary your smartest choice for VP would be Condoleezza Rice. She'd be a great weapon against the new I-just-vote-for-a-woman-no-matter-what block.

    February 6, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  17. val davydov, ma

    Sorry McCain. You are going to be the Republican nominee, but you will never get my vote.

    Romney 2012!

    February 6, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. Ed Egan

    John McCain works well with the opposition – going all the way back to Hanoi.

    February 6, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. bill

    I am proud supporter of McCain. I am a fiscal conservative and social moderate.

    We , as Republicans, have not bought into the extremist talk show foder.
    Have rejected those that have gathered on and sawed off the most extreme 5% of the Conservative viewpoint and is now screaming at the top of their lungs the remaining 95% of the spectrum. From raging liberal democrat to moderate/right leaning Republicans, as equally misguided.

    I do wish to get something done in Govt and am tired of polarizing extremes on both side prohibiting that. Call me whatever you like but McCain, as I see him, is an honest Hero that believes in curbing spending and cutting taxes responsibly.
    Believes in a strong military , and takes moderate positions on Stem Cell and other social issues.

    To allow people to say this is a man that is the same as Hillary or Obama is as rediculous as it is self defeating for a party I am proud is becoming more able to get things done (A trait, by the way, that is not equal to selling out)

    February 6, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  20. Matt

    I love how everyone thinks McCain is a liberal. Anyone actually ever examine Romney's record...he's had some pretty liberal moments himself. And, what is wrong with having some liberal views? Contrary to popular belief, it's actually quite healthy to be able to see the other perspective, rather than simply submitting to your parties prescribed beliefs. We saw how well a "true conservative" worked for us with G.W....sure got a lot accomplished for the republican party. We need someone that is going to be able to unite a bitterly divided Washington. In my view, that someone is John McCain.

    February 6, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  21. Gregory, NYC

    Is it me, or does anyone else notice that McCain looks like Simon Bar Sinister from the old Underdog cartoon.

    February 6, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. Chris

    Mark where did you hear that. That's encouraging.

    February 6, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. Brian

    To call McCain tax-and-spend or a liberal is just ignorant. Try basing your statements on fact instead of your Limbaugh brainwashing.

    February 6, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  24. Steve Blaine Washington

    He must be joking about uniting Republican Party. I would rather vote for Hillary
    or Obama than a fool like McCain.

    February 6, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. Cary Lacayo

    The arrogance to say he will wrap it up when he hasnt shown to be the pick as of yet. Mccain needs to for once give himself some straight talk and admit he is not a conservative candidate. Dr. James Dobson has said he will not vote at all if Mccain is nominated, based on Mccains liberal background. Huckabee is the one and only true choice for the conservative vote. It showed yesturday with his wins and very close races against Mccain which no one wants to admit, esspecially Mccain, who thinks we are ignorant enough to follow his latest statement; to wrap things up and for the record the Clinton's would shred him in a debate or partner up with him which has been his role in the past...

    February 6, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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