(CNN) - John McCain said his endorsement of Mitt Romney in the presidential race is not a response to Rick Santorum's recent surge in the Republican nomination process.
During an interview Thursday on CNN's "Starting Point," McCain said he "strongly disagreed" with the former Pennsylvania senator's support of earmarks when they served in the Senate together, but added "I still respect him."
- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
Santorum spoke out publicly against McCain during the last presidential race and they at times had differing opinions as members of the upper chamber in Congress.
The Arizona senator and 2008 GOP presidential nominee, who backed his former rival Romney Wednesday, also offered some advice to current contender Newt Gingrich.
He said calling an opponent a liar, as Gingrich did to Romney earlier in the week, crosses a line in politics.
"You need to be careful about being too angry," McCain told CNN's Soledad O'Brien. "The people of New Hampshire want to hear your views and vision for the future rather than attacks on other candidates."
McCain, who won the New Hampshire primary in 2000 and 2008, said he intends to help Team Romney however he can, although he acknowledged endorsements do not hold much weight.
"Endorsements have limited effect," McCain said. "The performance of the candidates is what makes voters decide."
DNC highlights old Romney-McCain tension
Gingrich hones message in New Hampshire
Santorum raises more than $1 million in one night
Huntsman to air first TV spot
Who cares what John McCain thinks? Lets remember his judgement is so good he chose Sarah Palin to be his running mate and to this day won't admit he was wrong.
McCain telling people not to be angry? Anybody that tells a lie is a LIAR. If Romney told a lie (he did), then, he is a LIAR! Gingrich has got some cojones!!
There are times when you have to call a spade a spade.
I think Gingrich has been the most sincere and upright candidate, in the race, taking heat for views he has, which he knew would be unpopular, because he believed they were right. No other candidate has been willing to do that.
Perhaps if the Senate operated more on the principle that people should be called out, when they lie, or otherwise attempt to deceive, and manipulate, the Senate might operate a little better, as well. McCain would do well to re-examine his own methods, in dealing with those who want to dictate to the people, in the Senate.
Wasn't it Romney that spent millions of dollars on negative campaigns in Iowa? So is it only the people of New Hampshire that want to 'hear your views and vision for the future rather than attacks on other candidates'? Did Iowa want to hear the negative ads?
McCain is revealing politics at its worst. On Santorum, he said in effect, "I think he is a screw up on earmarks but I still respect him." On Romney, he said in effect, "I didn't think he was qualified to be President, but he is a personal friend and I'm not in the race, so now I endorse him." No matter how you slice it, McCain is a master hypocrite.
And to think it was just 4 years ago that McCain hated Romney. I would think Romney and McCain are both flip-floppers. But McCain is old and delusional.
Mccain stated he ONLY backed Romney because he wants him to beat President Obama. I would think issues should come into play somewhere. So I have a problem with this. This is part of the problem with Washington now. Issues should be an issue and what they believe in not to just beat someone in office
"You need to be careful about being too angry," McCain told CNN's Soledad O'Brien. He then turned, opened a window and shouted at those kids to get off of his lawn.
WoW !! They used to be rivals in '08' – I think he's doing the right thing (McCain) makes me respect him a little.
Sounds like he may be the smartest one of the whole bunch. If those other clowns don't get behind someone by the time Florida (voting) comes around, the Repubs will be in Trouble !
I'd expect CHina and India to contribute heavily to Romney's campaign. They owe for all of the jobs he help create in those countries.
One of the few times Gingrich told the truth and McCain is all flustered and peeing his pants ? It's Ok for Republicans to spew outright lies about the sitting President but how dare they break the 11th commandment. Republicans entire agenda is about lying to every American everyday.
"McCain: Gingrich crossed a line"
And McPampers jumped straight down the rabbit hole when he foisted Jabberwocky Barbie on us.
This is a very destructive tantrum Newt is throwing.
I'm glad he specified which line Gingrich crossed that upset him. Newt has crossed so many lines....
Now that Romney has received the "coveted" McCain endorsement in New Hampshire, Mitt could start proving his leadership skills by getting McCain off the campaign trail (and out of the spotlight he so craves) sooner rather than later. Be careful what you wish for, Mitt. John McCain is one of those wishes which would have been best left on the cutting table.