December 15th, 2007
07:02 AM ET
15 years ago

McCain: "We've got to win on the coast"

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona

JAMES ISLAND, South Carolina (CNN) – Sen. John McCain made abundantly clear Friday that his fate in South Carolina rests firmly on the coastal areas that voted in his favor when he ran for president in 2000.

Although he has campaigned furiously along the coast, populated by thousands of McCain-friendly veterans and military personnel, it’s the first time he's acknowledged the region is a must-win for him.

"We've got to carry the coast heavily," he said to an audience at an American Legion hall here. "We've got to win on the coast, and I think we can. We've got to win all over, but its very important we win here."

McCain defeated then-Texas Gov. George Bush in several coastal counties in the 2000 primary, while Bush dominated McCain in Upstate counties with larger populations of GOP primary voters and churchgoing conservatives.

But unlike that primary nearly eight years ago, the current GOP contest is not just a two-man race, which could dilute McCain's support where he needs it most.

South Carolina's demographics have also changed: out-of-state retirees, including many New Yorkers, have poured into communities in and around cities like Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, when he campaigns here, targets coastal communities in particular.

Still, McCain was in friendly territory on Friday as he made an old-fashioned political appeal to the crowd of veterans gathered around a bar.

"I'm asking for your support," he said. "I'm asking for your vote and I'm asking you to make a few phone calls. I'm asking you to put up a sign in your yard."

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: John McCain • Race to '08 • South Carolina
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Tom, Denver CO

    First Comment!

    I think McCain would be a good president.

    December 15, 2007 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  2. Independent in IA

    I doubt very seriously McCain can even win the Booby Prize. He's as out-dated as his ideas, and his Bush-clone war-mongering makes him anathema to those who wish to end the war.

    December 15, 2007 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  3. Daniel, nY

    The latest New Hampshire poll out yesterday has McCain firmly second in front of Rudy, but very very far from Romney... It's going to be hard for him to close that gap.

    December 15, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. hey allons,tn

    hey john McCain you have supported g.w. bush on to many crooked war lies same old same just a republican same.

    December 15, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. Jose Card

    Some of you had asked why Senator McCain's wife or children aren't running with him all the time. Do they not support his campaign?

    His son Jimmy is being shipped out to Iraq with the Marines. The only family member that is not actively working may be his 95 year old mother. She helped him campaign twice and got ridiculously attacked by some posters here. I was very glad to see a fair posting, "You don't fit to lick John McCain's boots."

    Senator McCain's family is not filthy rich and everybody has a meaningful job to do. He does not groom kids as politicians at home. He sent them out to serve the country at front lines. Courage is still cherished in his family.

    Senator McCain is running to serve the country, not for his family. You and I are lucky if we can have him. He is a man of conviction, honor and integrity. He doesn't make empty promises just to get elected. He means what he says. He also listens to the People and did not vote for the Dream Act. I trust this man to lead our country any day.

    December 15, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  6. Val Carter Orlando, Florida

    is he still running? he should just hang it up. McCain is just way to out of touch with 90% of americans. He should leave politics for a while to get his head on straight!

    December 15, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. Tim, Minneapolis

    Hey Joe Card, if he listens to the people why did he push for amnesty?,
    He's too close to Bush, the republicans will lose the election with him anywhere around the ballot box.

    December 15, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. Chris

    Presidential Pardon for Annoying Hilton Paris McCain and Romney!!!


    December 15, 2007 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  9. ne,pa.

    You had the support of the NH Independents in 2000 that pushed you over.
    Bush then smeared your family and you took it!
    Your fear and war mongering make you another Bush!
    You have well documented anger issues and some bizarre behavior.
    You're also soft on immigration.
    I for one, am an Independent that would NEVER support you!
    The only right thing you did was marry money. It's time to go home!

    December 15, 2007 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  10. Ajay Jain, Dallas, Texas

    Senator John McCain may call for all the "must wins" in his war chest, Senator John McCain may denounce the popular IOWA corn subsidy for ethanol in debates, Senator John McCain may command as many endorsements as he wishes, Senator John McCain may make trips to Liberty University to please evalangicals, Senator John McCain may support the troop surge after going against the prior war blunders, Senator John McCain may try his hand on a systematic solution to pathway to citizenship for 12 million illegals amongst us he can not do enough with the Hispanic vote. Senator John McCain's time has come and gone. 2008 is not the year for Grand Old Party anymore. Vote for the party that is enthusiastic and futuristic forward looking. Vote Democratic. Vote for Hillary Clinton. Super Tuesday will decide everything. Forget the early states and the IOWA caucus. End of discussion. Here is a secret assessment:

    December 16, 2007 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  11. Jose Card

    On the issue of Illegal Immigration:

    "Hey Joe Card, if he listens to the people why did he push for amnesty?,
    He's too close to Bush, the republicans will lose the election with him anywhere around the ballot box." – Posted By Tim, Minneapolis

    Hi Tim,
    Most politicians will say anything to get elected. What they will do after election is anybody's guess. Senator McCain does not make empty promises. I may not agree with Senator McCain on every issue, but I can trust his judgment for the best of our country. I am against granting citizenship to law-breakers, while delaying legal immigrants' processing for ten years. I think he was influenced by Senator Kennedy, who considers it heroic to help illegals. It is, IF no laws are broken.

    Our illegal employers are the core of the problems. That boy trapped with his dying mother in the desert on the southern boarder should blame the illegal employers in the U.S. and the corrupted leaders in his home country.

    What I like about Senator McCain is that he will consider people's opinions while remaining a great leader. There is a dedicate balance between leading and listening. Senator McCain showed that he knows that balance well, which is a desired quality in a great leader. I am no expert so this is just my personal instincts. Most illegals are good people for a better life, but we need to maintain the rule of law and preserve our democracy. Big corporations are telling politicians that they need cheaper labor to maintain competitiveness. That is the short-term view. The best bet for us is to educate and train our citizens for higher technologies and innovations, but that would cost more for now.

    Huckabee promised to bar illegals 10 years from re-entry to the U.S. if they don't register their illegal status and return home first. The problem is that it takes about ten years for anybody to apply for a green card or permanent residency so his plan means no consequences whatsoever as one usually cannot re-enter till after 10 years anyway. Giving in-state tuition to children of illegals is very kind, but you can't do that on taxpayers' money. Out-of-state citizens cannot get in-state tuitions. If we want peace in our society, we need to be fair to all first. Anti-illegal immigration is not racism. There is nothing wrong with keeping our house in order. The rule of law guarantees more freedom, which attracts many to come to the U.S.
    If the rule of law is lost, U.S. will become much more corrupted. If we repeat the 1986 amnesty, we will have to do it again sooner and U.S. will become more like the old countries of these illegals. Why bother to come? I just don't understand why Senator Kennedy still can't get it and doesn't want to hear it.

    Hope this helps! Thanks for listening!

    December 17, 2007 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  12. sue WINN, OKC. OK,

    what a group of selfish, arrogant losers. Emotional opinions over facts.
    Hillary, a Marxist, Obana, rejects everything County stands for, refused to put hand over heart during pledge,& refused to use Bible for swearing in.
    McCain do not know which party he belongs to, etc.
    Vote for what is best for your pocketbook! Democrats, anti-American, who want more of your money to control you. Huckbee lied, Disgraceful group.

    December 18, 2007 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  13. marie,hampton roads,va.

    From a lowcountry (coastal) South Carolinian ... McCain, you got my vote ! (stationed in va.).

    December 23, 2007 12:29 am at 12:29 am |