March 5th, 2008
02:20 PM ET
15 years ago

Blitzer: Is McCain 'moving beyond' conservative outreach?

WASHINGTON (CNN) - For years, Republicans have stressed a three-pronged platform in trying to win votes. They’ve long maintained that they’re strong on national security, on cutting taxes and on social issues, including a strong opposition to abortion.

When President Bush welcomed John McCain to the White House to endorse his presidential candidacy, for example, he said voters will decide on a candidate based on who best can “protect the country and keep taxes low, and how to have a culture that respects the dignity of every human being.”

After effectively capturing the Republican nomination Tuesday night, John McCain stressed only two of those three pillars in his carefully-crafted remarks.

He spoke at length about national security, noting that “America is at war in two countries.” He spoke about the economy. “We will campaign to strengthen job growth in America by helping businesses become more competitive with lower taxes and less regulation,” he said.

But missing from his remarks was any reference to the third pillar - the social issues. Even though he has a long record opposing abortion, he ignored that sensitive issue in his victory speech. Was that deliberate? Now that he has the Republican nomination in hand, is he already moving beyond the need to reach out to the social and religious conservatives in the Republican Party in the hope of bringing in support from moderate and independent voters?

The late President Richard Nixon used to say that successful Republican presidential candidates need to run to the right during the primaries - but then run back to the center after securing the nomination.

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. Grif

    No! He can't be ignored, not now.... He's

    The Old Man! Of experience____.

    March 5, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. Bayou Joe

    McCain does not need the right wingers to win this election. All he needs is loyal freedom loving Americans like this writer. Conservative Democrats that have seen their party hijacked by the left wing, independent free thinkers, and loyal moderate Republicans will propel McCain into the whitehouse. He is not Bush and should not attempt to be another Bush. If he does, that will be his undoing. He needs to make it clear that McCain is Right for America, not for the Right wing nuts.

    March 5, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. Nicole

    That is exactly WHY the GOP gets a bad rap. You can't be on one side during the primaries and go the other during the general. THIS is exactly what gives politicians their BAD names!

    March 5, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  4. Roxy

    It is not his stance on social issues what's going to defeat McCain, but rather, his embrace of the failed policies of the present administration.
    nough said.

    March 5, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. Jeannie, Sacramento, CA

    John McCain is but a shell of the man he used to be. He took a principled stand against the Christian right when he called the fat boy Falwell an agent of intolerance. He stood on principle when he voted for campaign finance reform. He declared with principle that waterboarding is torture and that Gitmo needs to be shut down. Now, he embraces everything he used to disavow. Bush smeared him, his wife, his daughter in 2000. Now, he embraces him?

    Here come the Democrats - they're taking the White House!

    March 5, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. richard

    I voted repuplican in the past but never again. John McCain sickens me.

    March 5, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. jane


    March 5, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  8. Sheik

    Wolf u make a excellent point

    March 5, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. Grif

    Fair Do's! It was just a question...

    March 5, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    You get what you asked for when John McCain was nominated, so stop complaining.

    March 5, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. Steven

    I believe that John McCain would do better without President Bush's help. Yes its fine he would give his suport, but no one really wants the same Bush policies of economy that have destroyed this country. Love your show, I watch it every day.

    March 5, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. Leroisia Burke

    Go Obama, keep your head up high, high. you dont have to be a cry bady, whining for votes. You stand for change, you stand for the people, you are a better, more respectable person among your colleague. You donot have to stoop to the level of Mrs. Clinton. Be strong, be positive in all your dealings, but dont let no one play you for a fool. Attach them back, but in a positive way. Remeber if God is for you than it does not matter who is against you. Brother Kings' words are "We shall overcome, a change is on the horizon. I have a dream and that dream is right in your sight, reach out and grab it. It's yours for the taking. Go and labour on , remeber to keep your eyes on the prize.

    raisy, kianna & lynn

    March 5, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. John

    In other words tell the voters anything it takes to get the nomination and get elected, then go off and do whatever you want to, sounds to me like another G.W. Bush.

    We don't need another four years of Bush.

    March 5, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. R from Ohio

    I think the Right wing nuts have been put right where they belong.
    Let's have a "thinking election". Please don't worry about
    these fanatic right wingers. They are not the majority.
    Many of us are Christians but we sure don't want a preacher running
    the country. I thought we made that clear yesterday.
    Please don't think you have to pander to these people.
    it will ruin what we all love in McCain.

    March 5, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. K.Celina from IL!!!!

    NO !!!!! TO !!!!! McCain !!!!!!!!!!!
    Republicans will vote for Hillary !!!!!!!!!

    March 5, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  16. Bob

    The Democrats are not liberal. The Democrats are conservative, and the Republicans are just scary.

    March 5, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. S. Wright

    Poor, Wolf. Reduced to uttering Nixonian rhetoric.

    Look, Nixon was not a conservative. No president that would levy wage and price controls on this nation could possibly be thought of as a conservative. There are many other reasons why he is not a conservative, but then, you would have to know what a conservative really is, now wouldn't you?

    Wolf, you are emblematic of the problem with the left; you don't know who is conservative, and you don't know what conservatives believe. What you have learned is only what the left preaches.

    Learn us. Live us. Love us.

    March 5, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. dj

    Mr. McCain frankly but, with respect.. is just to OLD.. Enough old Men running our great Nation...It's time for a BIG change..
    HILLARY!!!!!!!!!! is that change... She is all the change we need..

    March 5, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  19. Big Dee

    McCain has become a short lived lackey of the right wing nuts to win the nomination. Now, he will return to the center in order to defeat Mrs. "I have the solutions" Clinton. Just think of how many idiots will vote for John McCain and Hillary. Neither of them deserve the American people's vote. Commander in Chief of what??? The Clintons almost killed the military in the 90s.

    March 5, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. Terrimac

    I used to look at McCain from my left leaning perspective and think that he was a man of principle; who could be counted on to remain true to his beliefs no matter who challenged him. I would have been willing to vote for him against a lesser candidate from the democratic party. Now he is just another politician pandering to the far right and aligning himself with a failed administration in the desperate hope it can get him elected. Dream on, John.

    March 5, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. Leonard

    I would never even think of voting for McCain. He totally lost me after he did not stand up for his wife during and after the now famous S.C. primary. My husband feels the same and he was a Navy officer.

    Nope McCain flows too far to the right just to get the votes.

    Now as far as the famous Day 1 Hillary talks about she can expect that on that day and every day after that the right would go after her for the entire time on a daily basis and nothing would get solved or changed.

    We are in a mess and if we don't stop voting like it is personal rather than about this country we are in for a continued world of hurt.

    March 5, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. Hispano

    Obama win furget mi voto. Macain much better than Obama. Clinton ok with me two.

    March 5, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Hoosier Pete

    Bayou Joe – You hit the nail right on the head!! Well done, Sir!

    March 5, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  24. chuka ezeh

    it seems America are so carried away that most of the time, a predestined death can be avoided when peoples mind are appeased, i know for sure that America are fighting for a just course but they are having less supporters cos they cant sell it to the rest of the world , it is divinely programmed that some minds must understand before others, but as for those who does not understanding it must definitely come but till then, you believe.there is every need to awaken the the mind and make it understand these things at this point terrorism will cease. and the war is won

    chuka ezeh

    March 5, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. Rom

    Simple math:
    1 loser + 1 loser = 2 losers

    March 5, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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