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. SAW, Huntington NY

    Fact is that nobody who REALLY deserves to lead a country ever WANTS to lead a country, so we're left with those who WANT to – and we have to choose the lesser of the evils.

    Since I don't really believe any of them, I'll have to vote for whoever I think is the most HONEST.... because regardless of policy, I'd rather know the truth, than live with blinders on.

    February 6, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. Craig

    McCain is just more of the same Bush politics. He would not cater to the extreme religious right and next thing he is doing is hugging and giving speeches for them.

    February 6, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. AaronK

    Listen, everybody, John McCain is not conservative, especially not in the Way Robert Taft, Barry Goldwater, or even Reagan was. John McCain is the new conservative. The 'Old Right' is dead, and people need to get past it. No more worrying about smaller government, because we're fighting terrorists and we need to keep focused. All this talk about people jumping over the border is ridiculous! Many of these folks end up serving honorably in the armed forces and we have no right to deny them of that. These 2 things are the backbone of the OLD platform... It's time to make a new platform, and John McCain is the guy to lead us into realizing this new territory! Go John GO!!!

    Actually, this guy is a nutjob, but it's true, the Republican party is dead as you know it...

    February 6, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. Sarah-Jane

    McCain does't have to worry a nonosecond about uniting the Republicans.

    He's going to outsource that to Hillary Clinton, while he goes around the country sharing his vision for America and winning over youths and blacks whose dreams and hopes were shattered by stingy and selfish Clinton ambitions.

    God, I hope it doesn't come to that.

    February 6, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  5. Joel Marler

    Oh, sure, it could happen! Come on now, let's give McCain the benefit of a doubt. Nah, can't do it, at least not with a straight face. He has sold every Republican down a river and did while he was smiling at us with his goofy thumbs up standing in front of the 'Straight Talk Express'. I do not understand this guy whatsoever. What makes me even sicker is the fact that he and Huckabee have seemingly formed a secret alliance to force Romney out. Huckabee CANNOT believe he has a snow flake's chance in hades to pull this out. He is only there to ensure that Romney doesn't win the nomination. Why do they want to take the nation?

    February 6, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  6. McCain is a wolf in Sheeps Clothing

    By nominating John McCain we are destroying the republican party. We are injecting a new type of liberal Trojan horse visus into our noble party. His leadership will destoy the economy of the country he will lock us into a new 100 years war. He will raise taxes, I mean he voted against the tax cuts. He will extend the olive branch over to the likes of Ted Kennedy and Joe Liberman. Handing over control of the country to the left of society. These are the people that want to make abortion avalible to 12 year old girls and eliminate any parental notification. McCain will destroy our nation. May be its time for a true conservative party maybe its time to put the hurt on the republican establishment. Being that McCain represents the washignton Republican Establishment. They don't represent the right anymore. they have drifted to the left of middle. They are not the beliefs that make conservatives want to be republican. Maybe Ross Perot, as much as I don't like him because he gave us the Clinton years. For now If McCain is the republican nominee I will vote for the Democrat, at least when they screw up the economy it won't be the republicans fault. I guess I have to Say GO OBAMA as much As I hate to vote for a democrat. He is the lesser of 3 evils.

    February 6, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  7. SoCal Vet

    Here we go again. The republic party favorite chant.
    Fear, smear and queer.

    If a Democrat gets elected, the terrorist have won.
    If the tax cuts for the wealthy are not extened, the terrorists have won.
    If my eggs at Denny's get served runny, the terrorists have won.
    If we have healthcare for all Americans, the terrorists have won.
    If we give benefits to Veterans, the terrorists have won.

    If McCain is 2nd best to Bush in '00 and now they want to elect McCain?
    Does anyone not get it?
    Republicans = Horrible economy
    Republicans= War with out cause
    Republicans= Scandals, Lies and Jeff Gannon.
    The 2nd best of the worst.
    Yeah, umm, good luck with that.

    February 6, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  8. Charlotte

    I want to know how many blacks voted for each Republican candidate? How many women? How many of the women were black/white. How many Hispanics? How many with a college degree? How many Asians? How many under 25? How many over 40? What was the median income of each group. The media seems to think the democrats need to know these little details?

    February 6, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  9. Alice in Florida

    After eight years of the goofball in the White House, we Democrats could nominate Bozo the Clown and still win in November. W is the Republican party's worst nightmare, and I think that's the only good thing he's done!

    February 6, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  10. Peggy

    No McCain you will not be able to unite the Rebublican Party because YOU ARE NOT A REBUBLICAN!!!! I will not vote for you in Nov. but I will also not stay home. I will write in Romney for my vote in Nov. if he doesn't get the nomination. Please people vote even if the one you want doesn't get their parties nomination. Use your voice and vote for the men or woman whose issues and character you think will make the best Pres. even if you have to write their name in.

    February 6, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  11. Karen P

    Hillary has NEVER been true to herself (except for the greed factor) and especially NOT to the people (how quickly people forget her fiascos with Whitewater, missing evidence, WalMart, secrecy, shady tactics, scandals of Chinese officials, and the ridiculous push of the Clintons to sell out our country to China which accounts now for all our jobs gone and everything Made in China. Hillary runs only on her name and her womanhood. Most Democrats and Independents were NOT behind Hillary.

    Obama actually SAVED the Democratic Party because so many people hate Hillary and the Clintons that the Republican Party would win no matter who is the nominee and that still could happen if she gets nominated by Democrats.

    Even in speeches...Obama is sincere...Hillary has to read hers, insincere, and actually copies her delivery and words to try to match Obama's. I thought it was funny when she tried to shout and sound like Obama that she lost her voice. Hillary should try to be herself and honest for once in her life.

    The only person like Bush is McCain...warmongers

    February 6, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. Maureen Poorman

    Let's ask a legit question....why hasn't John done any open forms or town hall meetings in his home state – if he can remember where that is. Go to the people – get our questions and feedback. What has John done for Arizona since his last election? Why, he's MIA! He's hot on the campaign trail and only leans on his political career as experience in the political arena. What about the war? John says he is one of the few with military experience. Does this really qualify him to run a war that is such a controversary to the US citizens? What about the border problem? NO ONE wants to tackle this topic!! Not even John because John will not want to tackle a problem that has to do with what the majority of US citizens really want – border protection. What about John's age? John should be looking for less stress jobs – we need someone young enough to run the office – not let the office run him! We the people are looking for honesty, good solid business and personal ethics, and a sincere interest in the United States and it's peoples. John will not bring any of this to the office of President of the US. I think it's time for an addition to the ballots – "None of the above" would perhaps force a break to the grid lock we are seeing.

    February 6, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  13. Alan

    Juan McAmnesty is going to lose in Nov

    February 6, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  14. Chris

    To Charlie:

    I'm currently serving in Iraq have been here for 3 tours. I have received 2 purple hearts and a silver star . Do I have your vote? I hope not because a service record shouldn't be a determining factor. I'm not going too vote for Sen. McCain I would rather vote Democrat.

    February 6, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  15. Linda

    I will not for McCain if he is the nominee, absolutely not. I simply don't believe a word out of his mouth, do not believe he is a conservative and his ability to unite the party is seriously in question to say the least. Our family will write in our choice. Great post Matthew!

    February 6, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  16. Shelby

    The problem is between Huckabee and Romney, and has nothing to do with McCain. Yes, he is a good man, and I do believe that he knows what he is talking about. If he would talk about it. I have heard nothing but rhetoric, bad rhetoric, thus far. No plans. If he would say something intelligent, maybe I would be convinced. But thus far all I hear is liberal nonsense. If he wants to unite the Republican party, he has to adopt conservative views, but of course, that will not convince anyone. We all know what he already believes. Let's not have a flip-flopper like Hillary.

    That being said, let the conservatives unite behind Huckabee or Romney. Democracy means the majority wins, and the majority, thank goodness, is still conservative. So let's be rid of this fighting. Look, Huckabee, you won all those votes, yes, but you are still in third. Throw your support to Romney, and all those who would have voted for you will vote for Romney rather than side with McCain. That is the true union, none of this McCain nonsense. You can have the vice presidency. Let the true Republicans, those of us still faithful to conservative values, win.

    And for goodness' sake, voters, let's think about our votes, shall we? Let's not vote for anyone because they're Mormon or because they're a POW or a woman or whatever, okay? That's how dictators are elected: people don't think about their votes. Let's approach this rationally. After all, we are electing our leader for the next four years. It's an important decision and shouldn't be approached like a popularity contest. The last thing we want is for people to see America as ignorant.

    Then again, it may be too late. We already showed how easily people can win our votes, no matter how empty their promises.

    February 6, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  17. nand mehta

    If some support staying in Iraq for 100 years and ruins our economy, go ahead vote for Mc caine, I wouldn't and I hope america will not chose him to president.

    there should be ban to run for office after 70 years of age , after that one should look after grand children and enjoy golden years

    February 6, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  18. marcy

    McCain is not a republican, he should run as Hillarys VP, Unite us? He's the one driving us in droves away the republicans, I Fought against McCain/Kennedy amnesty, I will fight again against McCain, Vote Romney, and if Romney drops out I will write in a vote, I'm tired of hearing McCain is a war hero, Thats great and I think every person, every paper has Thanked him for his service, so for that and that alone he gets the Presidency, Dont think so, He has Juan Hernadez on his campain staff, Mr. Open Borders himself, McCain voted on a bill that would in effect give Mexico its say about our Border Fence, he voted AGAINST an amendment that would have called for all gang members, criminals and terrorists here illegally to be banned from citizenship. Mr. Republican? Not My Republican, not my President.

    February 6, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  19. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    McCain's already announced he is the new King and will be taking over the world by any means necessary, even if it takes 100 years.

    February 6, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. Earl

    McCain doesn't seem to understand something. HE WILL NEVER WIN. Both he and Bill Clinton's wife are deluding themselves if they think they have universal appeal. If it is Bill Clinton's Wife vs. McCain my guess is that turnout will be low most people will be too depressed to bother voting knowing we are in for at least four years of either of these idiots. The spectacle of Southern California being ceded to Mexico under either of their presidencies is too much to bear.

    If either Romney or Obama top the tickets I will vote. If Bill Clinton's wife is on the ticket even in the second spot then I'm voting for the other candidate. Unless the other candidate in McCain in which case my ballot goes in the trash bin where hopefully his presidential aspirations will eventually land.

    February 6, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  21. Jim , Houston

    Oh,Oh, another Surrender ! Sir, Yes Sir Mr. Murdoch !
    Once a P.O.W. ; Always a Charmer!

    February 6, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  22. Obama for pres.

    hiliary is a crying little girl, she can't run this country, what is she gonna do if we get into war CRY!!!!!! Besides the fact she dosen't even have a voice of her own all of her idea favor bill's idea when he was runnning. Go head and vote for Bill oop's i mean hiliary, but it won't matter because Obama is going to finish her by the end of this month.

    February 6, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  23. WIl

    McCain can't be serious. He is the most liberal Republican in over a hundred years. The conservative base is hoppin' mad and rightly so. The only unity in the forseeable future for the Republican party is if Hillary becomes the Democratic presidential candidate.

    He would be wise to drop the anti-Romney rhethoric and begin a very inconspicuous pro-Hillary campaign right about.... NOW!

    February 6, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  24. James

    If McCain wanted to help the American people, impeaching Joe Lieberman would be a good start.

    February 6, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  25. Deen

    McCain might unite what's left of the Republican party. Millions of us are leaving the party as soon as he takes the nomination, and the GOP may never win us back.

    February 6, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
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