(CNN) - Asked to define his stands on abortion and gay marriage, McCain is sending a message to evangelicals: I am one of you.
Among evangelicals, judges are the biggest issue - the source of a great deal of their anger and disappointment. Another message from McCain: I understand.
But on the issue of stem cells, he parts ways with this voting bloc - and his answer there is a careful one. He knows he's on the wrong side of this issue for many of them.
His answers are perhaps not as intellectually nimble as Obama's, but they come across as clearer, sharper - he's taking more of a tough, unambiguous stand on these issues.