March 7th, 2008
06:35 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain campaign designs new strategy

 McCain campaigned in Florida Thursday.

McCain campaigned in Florida Thursday.

(CNN) - John McCain may have been victorious in the Republican presidential primaries, but that silver lining comes with its own cloud, as the spotlight stays fixed on his potential fall opponents, still locked in their own primary battle. Now his campaign has developed a plan to try to keep the Arizona senator in the media narrative, and provide what they hope is a contrast with the brawling Democrats.

“There will undoubtedly be more attention paid to Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton,” conceded McCain Thursday, but said their fight would give him time to shore up his base of support and unite the Republican Party.

McCain’s first stop will be New Hampshire for a town hall meeting – his first post-vote visit back to the state that propelled his comeback.

Then, say his advisers, he will head overseas. Later this month he will go to Europe and meet with allies and leaders of key countries, followed by a journey to the Middle East – an itinerary designed to showcase his credentials as the candidate with the most foreign policy experience.

When he returns, McCain’s team plans another tour – one designed to highlight his biography and service. His advisers say Americans know McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, but don’t know many of the details that go along with that. “Many people know McCain as he maverick senator, but we don’t presume that they know the entirety if his remarkable life story and how that prepared him to be president,” said one senior adviser.

One of the themes they hope to stress is the image of McCain as an inspirational figure based on his background and experience, not “platitudes” - as the likely Republican nominee has often characterized potential general election opponent Barack Obama.

The senator will travel to locations that help illustrate parts of his life and the story his campaign wants to tell, like Annapolis. They will also try to focus attention on his family’s military lineage – both his father and grandfather were admirals in the Navy.

That will take the campaign through April; at that point, McCain will deliver a series of policy addresses on everything from national security to the health care crisis, from the environment to the economy.

McCain’s campaign is well aware of the perception that the economy is a big weak spot for the candidate, and they are already at work on an economic plan that they hope will address that problem. CNN has been told that adviser and former Texas Senator Phil Gramm is currently working with campaign aides to devise an economic plan: an adviser familiar with the planning insists is will be “bold” but would not provide other details, saying the planning is still fluid.

–CNN’s Dana Bash

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. John Stevens

    Seems like smart politics to this Clinton supporter.

    March 7, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  2. Orville

    No matter how John McCain frames his campaign, he represents the status politics as usual! During the last 7+ years, the Republican Administration has decimated our economy, created programs that has devalued the American Dollar (look at the exchange rates), fueled the flames of international distrust, killed thousands of Americans in Iraq and Afghanastan and dishonored the Bill of Rights...And McCain wants to continue the economic policies of the Bush administration and yet he freely admits that he knows little about the economy...quite simply, ask yourself, " are you better off now than you were in 2000?"...I don't think so!...I want change, a new look at the way we do things and I am a Republican!!!

    March 7, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  3. Chris

    After watching CNN last night and seeing how much the Republicans are enjoying this and how it is going to make McCain's campaign so much easier…

    If you watched last night they pointed out that Obama is the easier candidate to beat and that the "math" actually favors Clinton… The states that she has carried hold more electoral college votes… Both of them were cut off before they gave up to much information!!! Are the republicans fanning the flame???

    March 7, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  4. M.

    There's no strategy, new or old, that will work for McCain... He's just not going to get the White House...Hope he enjoys his 15 minutes.

    March 7, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. Nelson, Colorado Springs Co

    Sen John McCain is a good man, was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, he could handle the stress of president but at 72 years old that enough for anybody, but if he can do it go for it. PDWS

    March 7, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  6. Flo




    GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 7, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  7. Kris Kessell

    For one thing the Democrats are not "brawling"..... Dont be so dramatic. What is happening is exciting. This is the most civil I've ever seen a campaign run. There is a whole country who is deciding this election.

    We are NOT safe but the damage is already done. So McSame traveling around will surly give him a better, if he doesn't know it already, oh yeah, like Bu$h didn't know the price of gasoline... How did he make his millions.... anyway, that's another messed up story, idea how his commander in chief has devastated this nation. I know I know he didn't do it alone, he had Dick by hi$ $ide

    Your statement that McCains campaign is aware of the PERCEPTION that the economy is weak... WAKE UP.... Our economy SUCKS. There is no perception, oh shucks it looks like it will, maybe not yet, blah blah blah ... ENOUGH!! We're (the People) circling the drain here. What part doesn't he get. Oh wait, he talks to Bu$h.., You know, I can't even get my self to call him president.

    So the point is, WHOEVER gets in there, needs to get us out! (of iraq)
    And from what McShame has said he agrees with Bu$h...Bad for us..

    Kris Kessell

    March 7, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  8. Obama 08

    It doesn't matter, the only way McCain gets my vote is if Hillary is the Dem. nominee. Then you will see a galactic surge toward McCain.

    March 7, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. David

    bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran!!!!!!!!
    go away war monger

    March 7, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  10. Dan Wouk

    Maybe the first thing McCain can address at the town meeting is why in the debates he described waterboarding as torture and stated that it had no place in the way America operates and then voted against the Senate bill requiring the intelligence community to abide by the same standards as articulated in the Army Field Manual and banning waterboarding.

    If one cannot trust him on so simply a moral issue, how can one trust him about anything?

    March 7, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  11. Think - FL

    McCain is angelic! Just look at how he gives off light from his head!

    Or is he just a Gloworm? Hmm.

    March 7, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. Grif

    Say Hello to Tony for me, when you go to Europe...

    The best Leader Britain ever had...

    March 7, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. Tish

    Come on Wolf!! Stop looking at just your networks ratings!! You know Florida and Michigan is going to be a stinker!!! The closer Barack Obama gets closer to the nomination the more the media show's it's true colors!! If Hillary gets this nomination because of Florida and Michigan it won't be fair!! Rules are Rules BUDDY!! and you know it!! I wonder why you failed to mention in your interview with Gov. Christ Thursday the Shady side of his actions?? Anderson at least brought it up last night!! What's really going on in your Situation Room!!!

    March 7, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  14. Obama 08

    My god look at that picture. Looks like Casper the Friendly Ghost (my friends).

    March 7, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  15. CB

    Way to GO JOHN BOY! Get that media attention where it really counts and start raking in the money. Were going to need all the lull time we can get while old Hillary and Obama keep going at one another. Stop giving any foreign policy props to Hillary, she doesn't have any and you know it. McCain defeater of the democrat's divider and uniter.

    March 7, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
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