WASHINGTON (CNN) - For years, Republicans have stressed a three-pronged platform in trying to win votes. They’ve long maintained that they’re strong on national security, on cutting taxes and on social issues, including a strong opposition to abortion.
When President Bush welcomed John McCain to the White House to endorse his presidential candidacy, for example, he said voters will decide on a candidate based on who best can “protect the country and keep taxes low, and how to have a culture that respects the dignity of every human being.”
After effectively capturing the Republican nomination Tuesday night, John McCain stressed only two of those three pillars in his carefully-crafted remarks.
He spoke at length about national security, noting that “America is at war in two countries.” He spoke about the economy. “We will campaign to strengthen job growth in America by helping businesses become more competitive with lower taxes and less regulation,” he said.
But missing from his remarks was any reference to the third pillar - the social issues. Even though he has a long record opposing abortion, he ignored that sensitive issue in his victory speech. Was that deliberate? Now that he has the Republican nomination in hand, is he already moving beyond the need to reach out to the social and religious conservatives in the Republican Party in the hope of bringing in support from moderate and independent voters?
The late President Richard Nixon used to say that successful Republican presidential candidates need to run to the right during the primaries - but then run back to the center after securing the nomination.