February 17th, 2008
10:55 AM ET
14 years ago

McCain: Winning in the fall will be 'uphill battle'

(CNN) - Likely GOP nominee John McCain said Sunday that beating an energized Democratic party in a fall election fight would be “an uphill battle all the way.”

The Arizona senator told George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week that he “can out-campaign them, and I can out-debate them, and I can out-perform them” but conceded that he had his work cut out for him in the months ahead.

“...We've got to reunite the party, and we've got to re-energize the party. And I'm prepared to do that. We've got plenty of time. But I won't waste a day,” said McCain.

The Arizona senator, who is close to capturing the number of delegates required to claim the Republican nomination, has struggled to win over much of the GOP’s conservative base. But party leaders have begun to rally to his side: Monday, he is scheduled to receive the endorsement of former President George H.W. Bush.

Looking ahead, McCain said Sunday that - as President Bush had in 2004 - he would look to compete in California, where he won this year’s Republican presidential primary.

The senator, who supports the administration’s surge policy in Iraq, also repeated a familiar attack against potential opponents Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama - saying that they favored eventually setting a date for withdrawal from that country, a policy that would “bring chaos, genocide. And we'll be back, because Al Qaeda will then succeed.”

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Chuck

    There is tremendous anger out in the country about Bush's squandering of American resources in Iraq, and his tax breaks for the rich here at home. Only Obama taps into that tremendous anger about the war, and the need for greater respect for the common American. It doesn't take alot of experience to see that, and to see that something needs to be done about it. If Obama can stay on message, he will sweep away everything before him, war heroes not withstanding, and bring change to Washington that Americans are starving for.

    February 17, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. Alice

    I was on Barack's side until he played the race card – once he did that, he lost me.

    Obama played the race card first, re: the cheap shot about MLK, Jr. and Lyndon Johnson. The media sniffed out a "good story," and they jumped on Obama's bandwagon. I hope the media are proud of themselves.

    Once the media jumped on the "racist" bandwagon, not only did they get the ratings; they also turned this election (maybe the most important one in the history of our country) into race vs. gender.

    Well, I can't hardly blame the media – they're in it for ratings, and race vs. gender is SO much more ratings-worthy than issues or experience or what is really the best for the future of our planet.

    I think it's really funny that the outcome of this entire election may be that the media as we know it today will become largely irrelevant because they are so often wrong.

    IF the "anointed media King" Obama becomes President; WHEN he screws up (as he will, as he is so inexperienced and so very arrogant)

    Future bumper stickers will read "Don't blame me – I didn't vote as the media told me I must"

    February 17, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  3. Uncle Sam

    Despite the unpopularity of President Bush, the strong desire for change from a Republican administration, and the tremendous Democratic voting numbers, John McCain is polling close to both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Makes you wonder.

    February 17, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. CaliforniaDem

    I love how John McCain thinks he can compete in California. This state will stay blue in 2008 and beyond!

    February 17, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. David Jones



    GO OBAMA!!!!

    February 17, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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