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. Dwight

    Oh, I guess I need to stop the rumors of Huckabee's dropout. Here' a message from Huckabee today :0)
    "We had a great night tonight and now it is time to get reorganized for the contests ahead.We have upcoming votes in: WA, KS, and LA on Feb 9 and DC, MD and VA on Feb 12.
    We will launch new online headquarters for MD, VA, DC, KS, LA, WA and WI tomorrow. Emails will go out tomorrow morning to our supporters in each of these states detailing ways to help.
    If you live outside of these states but have friends and family that live there please encourage them to learn more about Gov. Huckabee by visiting our website."

    So if you want to help you can join the HUCKABOOM

    February 6, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. Ernest Mitchell

    Juan McCain and Juan Hernandez that is uniting enough for me. I want to know what you are going to do with 30 million ILLEGAL ALIENS that are in this country. I really do not want to hear the crap about the peanut fine and all is gonna be good. All I hear out of you mouth is close the border.

    February 6, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  3. SUE, Michigan

    "wrap this up?" excuse me, but you only have half the delegates you need. I don't think this is over, and you're starting to sound entitled, John. And since when did "conservative" mean war forever? I really think this guy will be pretty easy to beat in November by ANY Democrat. He doesn't want to talk about the economy, and that is what Americans are most concerned about right now. (Wait, let me guess-there will be some attack somewhere and McCain will get to show his "leadership" in a crisis.) Save us!

    February 6, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. Charles Wojahn



    February 6, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. therealist

    Billary can not beat McCain.

    February 6, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. Bubba

    It's an indictment of conservatism itself. Conservatives turned out to be radicals and did things no mainstream, normal American would consider, all the while braying that the other party was dangerously crazy. It's nice to watch the GOP purge itself of the radical element and head back to the mainstream where the rest of us are swimming.

    February 6, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  7. Roger

    Willard, it's time for you to drop out. Nobody wants to vote for a multi-millionaire corporate plutocrat CEO wannabe, especially not one who's a member of your demonic cult.

    The people have spoken last night. Christians voters chose Mr. Huckabee. All other Republicans who arent Mormons, or who don't have a six, seven, or eight-figure incomes, voted for John McCain. Who does that leave you with?

    February 6, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  8. Rick Cain

    I'm surprised why conservatives hate McCain. Their bloodthirst for endless war will be satisfied by John's penchant for 100 year occupations, and if he picks Huckabee as VP their obsession with jesus, the end times and the tribulation will be sated by Huck's religious Taliban-style idealogy.

    Obama/Hillary dream ticket? Heck, Mccain/Huckster is the GOP dream ticket of war and the 2nd coming of christ.

    February 6, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  9. Joy in SC

    Yep, you won by a larger margin in AZ, and got oh, so close in UT. You lost by only, what, 85%? Sorry, McPain, but you got handed the biggest loss of the night. I would LOVE to see what would happen in my home state of Utah, if it ends up being McCain/Hucklebee vs. Obama/anybody. Would the one state who has never lost faith in Bush, finally go democrat?

    February 6, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. murph

    If McCain gets the nomination I will simply stay home on election day. As a republican I would rather have Obama in the whitehouse........... sad.

    February 6, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. enomisa

    Most democrats were unified behind Hillary and thrilled with her on the ballot.
    Then along came the Unifier, Obama and created a nasty split in the party.
    I've learned that the people decide who can unify- Not the one who pontificates and proclaims himself to be the unifier.
    Remember Bush.
    Obama let his EGO drive this race and forgot about the good of the people.
    Hillary God Bless you for staying true to yourself, to your beliefs, to the people (all of them) who you represent.

    February 6, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. enomisa

    What ? Lost to Moderation again?
    I'll persist
    Most democrats were unified behind Hillary and thrilled with her on the ballot.
    Then along came the Unifier, Obama and created a nasty split in the party.
    I've learned that the people decide who can unify- Not the one who pontificates and proclaims himself to be the unifier.
    Remember Bush.
    Obama let his EGO drive this race and forgot about the good of the people.
    Hillary God Bless you for staying true to yourself, to your beliefs, to the people (all of them) who you represent.

    February 6, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  13. Roger

    Ernest Mitchell,

    No, I'd like to hear what YOU think we should do with the 30 million illegal immigrants who are here? Maybe your main man, Mr. Romney, can summon whatever sinister Mormon spook he worships and make them all disappear?

    How do you propose we get rid of 10% of our population?

    February 6, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  14. Dave

    Great, another George W. Bush in office who is ready for the New World Order. But you moderators prolly wont let this message be seen by others cause you are all part of your great conspiracy against the ordinary people.

    February 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. Cliff Stevens

    What would the delegate count be if the winner take all states divided their delegates proportionally?

    Cliff Stevens

    February 6, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  16. sinnester1

    mccain will win if romney and huck keep splitting the conservitive vote,if huck had dropped out before,mccain and romney would be in a real race,the way it looks now there will be a democrat in the white house next year

    February 6, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  17. David, Gilbert

    In all honest I voted for Romney. I was a little disappointed with the results but not to the extent McCain haters seem to be. If McCain is nominated who is our alternative?

    So you say you don't like McCain's views on illegal immigration? Have you taken to view minutes necessary to learn what Hillary's views are?

    Hillary said the GOP immigration reform bill was "an unworkable scheme to try to deport 11 million people, which you have to have a police state to try to do." Hillary is also in favor of "a path to earned citizenship for those who are here, working hard, paying taxes, respecting the law, and willing to meet a high bar for becoming a citizen."

    If you have to decide between Hillary and McCain then immigration is not your biggest concern. Their views are identical. In that light you must decided between the two based on conservative values, such a the right to life and national security. Hillary is not your conservative candidate.

    McCain is the GOP's best hope. A McCain / Huckabee ticket is a winner because it indeed unites the moderate and conservative republicans.

    February 6, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  18. j

    I for one have had enough of Republicans trickle down economics – PERIOD. Look at where it`s gotten us economically under G.H.W. and Jr.!! I will NOT vote for "just another Republican". I may even vote for a Democrat while holding my nose. -–Where is a GOOD Independent when you need `em.

    February 6, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  19. Ratgurl

    a significant number of people have been disenfranchised by the recent Primary elections by only being able to cast “provisional” ballots, which (if my information is correct) are not actually counted. This happened to a friend of mine who drove me to the registrar of voters because my polling place was not open at 7am when I arrived there to vote. I was registered at Colina Del Sol, while my friend was registered at Mira Mesa. He figured as long as he was taking me to the registrar, he’d cast his ballot there as well. It was not until he checked his ballot receipt the next day that he noticed, in tiny letters, the word “provisional” printed on it. They did not notify him that if he voted at the registrar’s office instead of his polling place that his vote would be provisional, and thus not counted.

    In addition to this first-hand experience, I am hearing stories about college students – a very large percentage of them – having to vote provisionally due to some error with the registrar’s office. It is imperative in this day and age that our civil liberties not be trampled on and that our votes, ALL of our votes, are counted legitimately and properly. That is, after all, what being American is about. Those people who took the time out of their day to contribute what they rightfully can and should to the betterment of this nation should not be denied their voice. If you have the resources, I beg you to please investigate these events, and expose any possible fraud that may have been perpetrated on these voters.

    February 6, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  20. Dan B. San Diego, CA

    What is a conservative? If Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater were alive today, who would they side with? I suspect 100% behind McCain, 0% for Limbaugh and his idiot cronies. Limbaugh has no idea how he has alienated a large portion of his audience with only the angry minority left listening to him. McCain wants to "win" wars, wants to eliminate pork barrel spending, wants less corruption in government, wants less influence by special interests, wants smaller goverment that works, wants to balance the budget, wants to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. He like Teddy Roosevelt is a reasonable environmentalist and appreciates the outdoors. How is that not conservative? As a conservative Republican (more in the Goldwater mold) I have never liked Limbaugh. He likes the angry, greedy, unprincipled, K-street, Tom Delay, Jack Abermoff, demogogues that highjacked the party in the 90s. Abundant sleeze.
    Believe it or not both Goldwater and Reagan were friends with Teddy Kennedy. Not that they agreed with him, but with the realization that they had to work with him to get things done.

    February 6, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  21. rodlang

    To quote Bill Bennet from last night, Ronald Reagen is dead and he is no Lazarus....he will not rise from the grave. BTW, Reagan raised taxes, signed an amnesty bill and worked with the super liberal Tip O'Neal on social security and other issues. You conservatives have this fantasy of Reagen in your minds but the guy was pragmatic. He cut deals with the dems in California and in DC. Sure, McCain will lose in November but so would Willard Romney and the Huckster. The repubs are out of ideas and exciting candidates (although Huck has a good sense of humor).

    February 6, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  22. d

    I totally agree with this post from above: A sorry sorry state for the citizens of this great country. If McCain should win the nomination, we the voter are left with ZIP. We have big, bigger, and biggest government to date; tax, tax, let me be your scapegoat government socialism, and war, war, war. ALL WANT THE ILLEGALS AND AMNESTY. I strongly fear, IF McCain is nominated, he will revert to his LEFTIE political side. He is in NO WAY a republican, no way. I DO NOT believe he can unite the Republican base OR unite our country. We will be very sorry as a country for years and years to come, and may never get our freedoms and liberties and soveriegnties back.

    February 6, 2008 1:58 pm ET

    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 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  23. rs wood

    If Romney had played nice through Iowa (and since), he'd have friends still. As it stands, he aimed his guns at Huck + Mc, and brought them closer together.

    Romney has no one to blame for himself. You don't kick the only other kids on the schoolyard, then wonder why they don't invite you to play.

    February 6, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  24. Mark C. Eades

    McCain will unite Republicans only in defeat. Whether Obama or Clinton, a Democrat will be in the White House in 2009.

    February 6, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  25. Del

    Everyone knows that we can't round up 12 million illegals but we can send them back as we find them clean out our jails and penitentiarys. Cut off free social services . Anyone who can't understand that securing our boarders , ports and airways is the starting point for homeland security. Without that homeland security is a joke. The money has been spent in other places, Chertoff said he had the premission to spend it anywhere he wanted. House and senate voted to cut that money but that hasn't got out into the main media. It's just to hard to believe McCain on some issues he falls too easy to either side. It's getting easier and easier for him to look in the cameras and lie, lie, lie them smile. He just can't be trusted. That's pure clinton. The only recourse republicans ahve is to get Obama in, take back the house and senate to keep him reined in a little and go from their. But McCian is NOT OUR ANSWER.

    February 6, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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