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. rd

    ONe thing that should worry McCain He won in states that vote democratic in the General Election the real conservative base in the South voted for Huckabee. Sounds like the Real conservatives did not feel McCain was a real conservative. But the love hate relationship of Hillary and Obama should cause a large group of democrats to vote for McCain him being a liberal republican anyway.

    February 6, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. David, Santa Maria, CA

    McCain has too much arrogance thinking he can capture the conservative vote by default. McCain is about McCain and nothing else. I didnt vote for him and I stayed by my conviction even though Romney lost. If McCain gets the nod for the Republicans, he still has to earn my vote along with millions of conservatives. He needs to prove to me he is going to stop illegal immigration, and get the government the heck out of our wallets and out of our social fabric. I want a constitutionalist in there not someone who has a love affair with the democrats.

    I dont care who he runs against, I'm tired of voting for the "worst of two evils". Maybe it will take a presidency for 4 years of a socialist to wake up the GOP and get back to our conservative roots.

    February 6, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  3. Mike, Land O Lakes, FL

    Are people seriously thinking of electing someone in his 70's. He'll be almost 80 yrs old by the end of his second term should he be elected as a president. Being president is the most stressful job in the world and I don't think someone as old as McCain can handle it.

    February 6, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. hova

    To all who wish to stay home IF MCcain is the party nominee.. Please feel free to do so.. The feeling of knowing Romney's money couldn't but the election priceless..

    February 6, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. Ian

    Get your barf bags ready.

    February 6, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. The Republican Party

    We're doomed...we shot ourselves in the foot.

    February 6, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  7. Justin

    Yes, Mark. Huckabee's only goal in the campaign was to stop Romney. Now that the damage was done yesterday, the spoiler can quit and await his VP nomination.

    February 6, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  8. Cat

    McCain – I don't think so, I'll be joining Henry and sitting home on election day, too!

    February 6, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  9. Bob

    Huck will hang around until McCain doesn't need him to split the conservative vote any more. None of us really trust McCain, but he knows that we'll scream about boycotting the election until the reality sinks in that we'd rather have the guy that gets some of our issues right than Clinton or Obama who will get none of them, ever. Too bad, we executed the primary strategy that the Democrats usually do. Thanks for being a totally DUD as a candidate, Fred – you drew time, attention, and money away from Romney when he could have been developing some traction; the time when everyone thought McCain's campaign was sunk, and would have been if Romney had gotten a little more MO (and I'm not really a Romney fan, either. . . .).

    February 6, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  10. Scott

    I just boils my blood when I hear others say that they will just stay home. I believe it was Jefferson who said that a democracy ensures that the people get the government they deserve.

    Staying home just because you don't fully embrace either of the choices is moronic... Stick your head in the sand, and you will wake up in a fully socialist state, and we see how well that worked out for much of the world.

    Not making a decision IS MAKING A DECISION!

    February 6, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  11. Terri

    If Romney and McCain were my only choices, I would write in a name for a person I believed in. I would rather vote for a third party than vote for those two during the primary season. They don't share the same convictions – what will they do to help the middle income to lower income person at least with Huckabee I might stand a chance to build income!

    February 6, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  12. AJ, Iowa City, IA

    Unite!!!??? Where was John McCain uniting the Republican party with MCCain/Feingold! What a load of...

    February 6, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. Bill

    McCain mistakenly referred to Lieberman as his favorite Democrat. Lieberman is no Democrat.

    February 6, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. robbie

    To be honest, I hope it comes dow to McCain or Obama. As hard as it is for me to say that, since I am registered republican, I think it's what most Americans feel right now. I feel as though both would be willing to compromise in order to make both parties happy. Both have a track record of that and the polls show that moderates are flocking to both. Alot of other republican friends and family feel the same way, we all need someone to cross the divide.

    February 6, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. Dem

    Waiting for a decent and civilized election with McCain and Hillary as the nominees.Focused on issues and what is best for our country.

    February 6, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  16. Phil

    The radical right rails against McCain, yet, if they are successful in driving him to the right, they do so at their own peril in the general election. Generally speaking, those on the left will vote for the Democrat and those on the right will vote for Republicans. It is the independents or moderates who will decide the outcome. Therefore, the candidate who most closely reflects their attitudes will probably win.
    Right now, McCain is much closer to that model than Romney or Huckabee.

    February 6, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. fit2bhealthy@Verizon.net

    "Henry Miller, Cary, NC" – I think I'll stay home on election day. ?????

    So that is the reason why people like you should have no voice and should not speak, because morons like you just sit it out and are the first to piss and moan about its out come that you had a chance to possibly change, … Vote or just shut up….

    February 6, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. AJ, Iowa City, IA

    Apparently the GOP has lost their way. McCain!!!! Are you kidding me!!! Huck-a-libby... give me a break. All these guys do is insult those who oppose their views. Huckabee says Romney drew first blood, but it was Huckabee that let Dumond go free!!! The populus of the US must be "dumber than broccolli."

    Get ready and brace for 4 more years of Ashcroft and Bush. Funny, Bill Clintion was more a fiscal conservative than any of these. I know it is heresy to say this, but maybe Hilary won't be so bad. : (

    Romney needs to either rally or I don't know what....

    Keeping my hopes up for Romney!

    February 6, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. Mark

    When did conservatives become outright flaming idiots? I always thought they were smart, pragmatic folks. So when a some knuckleheaded conservatives on this board (yes, Henry Miller from Cary, NC, I'm looking at you) say they'll sit home in Nov. and NOT vote if McCain is the GOP nominee, the GOP will deserve what it gets when Billary nominates three (yes, count them conservatives, THREE) Supreme Court Justices. The first one being Bill Clinton.

    So if you are a true, smart, pragmatic conservative, you will vote for anyone on the GOP ticket just so Billary or Obama Bin Laden don't get in office a F up this great country of ours. You think the term "distribution of wealth" is just a catch-phrase? Wait until these two jokers get a chance at turning America into a European subsidiary. Just sit at home in Nov. and feel all good about you and your stupid F-ing "conservative principles" while the Court goes Hyper-left and the country goes Socialist. Nice job you idiots!!

    Get out and vote GOP!!!!! Or suffer the consequences!!!!!

    February 6, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. Paco

    If anybody should be calling it quits, it should be Romney. Huckabee has no reason to quit, he's raised less than a tenth of the money Romney has and has consistently done better than him. As long as you aren't wasting millions, no reason to get out.

    Further, I still don't understand how McCain is "liberal." He will install two justices like Roberts and that is good enough for my vote. If a Democrat is elected, they'll install three justices who don't mind writing all over the Constitution.

    Vote for whomever you want, but at least be reasonable about it. I don't know remember when the hard right checked reason at the door.

    February 6, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  21. CarpetDeeum

    If that no talent, no experience, creepy, self satisfied, smug, embodiment of the worst qualities of the Republican party, McCaine gets the nomination, I swear I'll vote for Mike Gravel.

    Only Governor Huckabee has the proven experience at balancing budgets and working across the aisle. He truly wants what is best for ALL of America, not just the Republicans. His true belief and optimism in the power of the American people to fix the problems we face is stronger than any other candidate out there.

    He not only talks the talk better than anyone else, he has also proven he walks the walk.

    February 6, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  22. CJ

    McCain wouldn't get my vote if he were the last man on earth. I am sticking with Romney and if he doesn't get the nomination then I am not voting in Nov. Unlike Mr. McCain/Kennedy, I don't need an election to remind me which country I should show my alligence to. I don't need an election to remind me we speak English in America. I don't need an election to teach me that stealing American citizens social security cards for illegal employment is wrong. I don't care if he is a "war hero" that does not give him the right to take my hard earned tax dollars and use them to "enable" an very oil rich country (Mexico) by providing health care, education, food stamps etc. to the poor citizens they push over the border because they don't want to care for them. Let Mr. Fox and Calderon do without and give some of that oil money up for schools and hospitals and food for the poor in their country. It is their responsibility. HOLD FREAKIN MEXICO ACCOUNTABLE – Just say NO to McCain/Kennedy. Now and forever! I don't need to believe that someone who called me a biggot because I put America first and I want my taxes to go to America (not illegals so they can send 54 billion in remittances home) will now Kiss and make up for my vote? NO sorry – saw your soul the first time you showed it.

    February 6, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. Romney Run !

    I voted for Romney. I will stay home to see McCain to craush by Demos. I agree with Mark.

    February 6, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  24. Thomas

    I have NEVER voted Democratic, but if John McCain is the nominee, i will. This guy will only tear apart the country. Please vote for a true republican people!

    Romney 08

    February 6, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  25. BJ

    McCain will not unite the GOP. He works with the democrats, not with the republicans. He abandoned American's on the immigration issue and is going to divide the GOP and help a democrat win the white house.

    February 6, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
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