(CNN) - Likely GOP nominee John McCain said Sunday that beating an energized Democratic party in a fall election fight would be “an uphill battle all the way.”
The Arizona senator told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week that he “can out-campaign them, and I can out-debate them, and I can out-perform them” but conceded that he had his work cut out for him in the months ahead.
“...We've got to reunite the party, and we've got to re-energize the party. And I'm prepared to do that. We've got plenty of time. But I won't waste a day,” said McCain.
The Arizona senator, who is close to capturing the number of delegates required to claim the Republican nomination, has struggled to win over much of the GOP’s conservative base. But party leaders have begun to rally to his side: Monday, he is scheduled to receive the endorsement of former President George H.W. Bush.
Looking ahead, McCain said Sunday that - as President Bush had in 2004 - he would look to compete in California, where he won this year’s Republican presidential primary.
The senator, who supports the administration’s surge policy in Iraq, also repeated a familiar attack against potential opponents Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama - saying that they favored eventually setting a date for withdrawal from that country, a policy that would “bring chaos, genocide. And we'll be back, because Al Qaeda will then succeed.”
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand