February 6th, 2008
02:04 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain vows to unite Republicans, ready to 'wrap this up'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/06/art.mccainunite.ap.jpg caption=" McCain said Wednesday he can unite the Republican Party. "](CNN) - Sen. John McCain expressed pleasure and gratitude over his Super Tuesday showing and declared, "We will unite the party behind our conservative principles and move forward and win the general election in November."

The morning after proclaiming that he is now the front-runner among Republicans seeking the nation's highest office, the senator from Arizona told reporters in Phoenix, "I'm very pleased about the victory last night, obviously."

Standing in front of his "Straight Talk Express" bus, flanked by the man he has called his "favorite Democrat," Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, McCain said he was "pleased at the depth and breadth of our victory last night."

Supporters like Lieberman and Graham, he said, "gave us a broad base of support from all parts of this party."

McCain said he has canceled a planned trip abroad this weekend in order to "wrap this up as quickly as possible."

Asked about concern among "very conservative" Republicans that McCain is not conservative enough for their tastes, McCain said he is not worried.

"With conservative voters, which are the majority of Republicans, we did extremely well," he said. And comparing his home state with that of is conservative rival, he said, "We won by a much larger margin in Arizona than Governor (Mitt) Romney did in Massachusetts."

"Is there a lot of work to unite the entire party?" he asked rhetorically "Sure. After the campaigns are over, you've always got the task of uniting the party behind the nominee."

But he expressed confidence he can do just that. "Our message will be we all share common conservative principles," he said. "Fundamental conservative political philosophy, which has been my record."

McCain then addressed the issues that motivated many voters in Tuesday's elections. The nation is in "difficult economic times," but raising taxes "exacerbates the difficulties," he said.

He reiterated the he would cut wasteful spending rather than raise taxes, which "would be the worst thing we could do to our economy."

And he backed the call by President Bush for Congress to move quickly to pass an economic stimulus measure.

"If we say we're going to pass a stimulus package and then we don't, then that contributes to the cynicism and lack of trust."

McCain took pains to single out Lieberman as "a chapter in 'Profiles in Courage'" - an example of the kind of bipartisan politician he admires. "We

have a guy here who would stand up against his entire party and say, 'We've got to stand the course in Iraq,'" said McCain, who supports Bush's stay-the-course approach in that country.

"Al Qaeda will win if we do what the Democrats want us to do," he said about the Democratic presidential candidates' plans to draw down U.S. forces from Iraq quickly if one of them becomes commander in chief.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. La'Kitgum

    Definitely in favor of Clinton otherwise Florida and Michigan results will have to be recgonized.. If they are not recognized, it is already roumoured these states will go for McCain and Clinton supporters will switch to McCain in anger. It is also expected that the Republican conservatives will announce a colorful acceptance of McCain. Many people also believe that McCain deserves presidency as a reward for serving in the military and in congress for very many years.

    I tatally believe that McCain will beat Obama in November '99 but he will not beat Clinton. Conservative acceptance will make healines that will energize the party. against Obama – a Blackman who's been against the military – literally laugh at their sacrifices in protecting the country and laughing at them for listening to the C-in-C's orders. Clinton did not demean the military.

    February 6, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  2. Kwaku, California

    Just like Romney, she is trying to buy the nomination with her money. If you can't get people to support you financially, then I'm sorry you should give it up. Meanwhile ordinary folks continue to support Obama because they believe in his cause and vision for the country. Ordinary folks are propelling Obama all the way to the nomination and the presidency. That's the difference!

    February 6, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  3. Not for McCain

    How can McCain even run for President? He was born in the Panama Canal Zone. Check out his bio on his website, he leaves that little factoid out. If he wins, can he serve?

    February 6, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  4. jmm36

    Is it wrong to hope McCain dies of a heart attack? It is starting to look like the only hope for our country.

    Fortunately, this nomination fight is not over, except in the sense that the Democrats are sure to win if McCain in fact becomes the nominee. No true conservative will vote for him.

    What a raw state of affairs when a perfectly good and well educated person entertains thoughts of a Presidential candidate's premature death being a happy and patriotic event. (The "Son of Cain" is 71. It could happen.)

    And I am not alone.

    Back to campaigning for his competitors!

    February 7, 2008 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  5. Tom, NY

    The party would come together on it's own if Ron Paul gets the nomination

    February 7, 2008 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  6. Duop Wuol, Colorado Springs, Colorado

    Sen. John McCain deserves to lead the country–public interest is bigger than that of GOP.

    February 7, 2008 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  7. Kristopher

    Not for McCain: He's an American Citizen, still. It doesn't matter where you are born as long as you are born as a US Citizen. You can have someone born in Canada whose parents are American and claim they are a natural American citizen.

    And it's amazing the animosity against McCain. Almost as amazing as the support of Ron Paul (I still don't get the appeal of someone running William Jennings Bryan's platform of bimetallism and isolationism), but I suppose that's to be expected. Of all the Republicans, he's easily the one I respect the most. Frankly, the Republican Party today is murdering itself behind stupid leaders (Bush) and selfish pundits (Limbaugh, Beck, Coulter) who feel they are actually more important than the people who actually do the work that they comment on.

    February 7, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  8. phil texas



    GOD BLESS US ALL--------

    February 7, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. ginger

    McCain is not reich wing enough for Dobson and Limbaugh THANK YOU GOD AND GOP VOTERS !!!!

    February 7, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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