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. CA

    "Republicans will vote for Hillary !!!!!!!!!"


    Oh, no they won't. Hillary will be exactly what the doctor ordered to rally Republicans to the voting booth in favor of McCain. Of course, all this is contingent on Hillary being cleared of fraud charges in the Peter Paul trial in October 2008. Watch for Hillary and the gang go down.

    March 5, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. John Huynh

    McCain will rule with a centrist fist.
    Like Clinton did.

    Either one again will bring back the good years 🙂

    March 5, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. Brian

    So CNN, please tell us why the "Obama Camp" article is stuck at the top of today's ticker, when usually the newer stories come in at the top. Is it because you are biased towards Obama?? I think so. Shame on you...

    March 5, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. C.B.

    John MCCain thinks he can win the presidency with Bush behind him, no way that is crazy, another Bush in office. I have had enough of these high taxes and all these Republicians in office. They spend our money like "Drunk Hillbillies" something has to change. Hilliary doesn't have it either so what because she won 3 states, he won 12 in a row. I guess now she won't be crying about the media. I am a Mississippian and I do plan on voting for Obama this Tuesday.

    March 5, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. concerned cit

    House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi said that a prolonged democratic primary race is good for the party. What? Nancy Pelosi don't know shiit!

    March 5, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. Rosa Birmingham, AL

    who cares, Hi will lose because he is dangerous not because of anything related to social issues. 100 years in Iraq, Bomb bomb Iran. Is he going to try to start up the Vietnam war again since he thinks we left to early? Can he get along with anyone?

    March 5, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. Grif

    Why are so many of the Middle East Countries, choosing Obama!!!

    That's his weakness,,,, His Big Weakness!!!

    When does the Swaying stop!!!!!! Can't see the forrest, for the Tree's

    March 5, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. Grif

    Away to go John!!! I guess your chosen!!!

    Security comes First!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Maybe the rest of America has notist than also... Go John!!! Go.....

    March 5, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  9. WhosehadEnough

    Ronald Reagan could get those Independent voters needed to win the Presidency.....but John McCain is not in that league and neither is George Bush. If conservatives are looking for the next Ronald Reagan in the White House forget it. McCain might as well ask the Reverand Sharpton to be his running mate.

    March 5, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  10. anna

    I am a ron paul republican and will vote democrat. The neocons' agenda for the world is a disaster; they want to impose their will on other cultures at gunpoint! they occupy foreign lands and claim terrorism when the locals resist. it could'nt get any sicker and perverted! and this is just scratching the surface..

    March 5, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. Chris

    Jeannie of Sacramento is exactly correct! I couldn't have said it better.

    March 5, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  12. David, Gilbert Arizona

    This article reads as if Wolf is trying to make news once again instead of reporting it. McCain's stance on social issues is one of historical record and he has not wavered from it. McCain would just be pointing out the obvious to us Republican voters.

    McCain isn't "moving beyond" conservatives. We already know where he stands and that hasn't changed.

    March 5, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. Ed K.

    Bush = The kiss of death..

    March 5, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. david

    Is it just my television or does he seem to have problems "reaching" anywhere?

    March 5, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. Brad, Dallas Tx

    I am now a Republican for Obama because of just some of the reasons you have stated. In McCain's acceptance speech yesterday, all I heard was what he was going to do for business. Not once did he mention what he could do to help the american worker or average americans in general. That goes directly against the middle in which he claims to be an advocate for.

    March 5, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. rc

    Obama has to direct his attention to the constant CNN reporting of the negative news regarding Senator Obama. I believe that by redirecting the language, CNN reporters want to give the appearance that they are reporting equally, but in fact CNN is blind-siding, or back dooring Obama with negative, and unfavorable press. Obama really needs to watch out for CNN (very sneaky and suspicious).

    March 5, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. Bill

    McCain's greatest hurdle to getting to the Whitehouse will be balancing conservative values with his own values. For example, in Texas to win, the Hispanic (Mexican) vote will likely be necessary; however, how can he say what he truly believes and get the Conservative vote? On the other hand, how can he say what the Conservative agenda will no doubt force him to do regarding immigration, and get the Hispanic (Mexican) vote? He will have a similar issue in California and possibly in Florida, although I do not believe that Hispanic (Puerto Ricans and Cubans) have the same feelings as Mexicans in Texas and California, nor do I believe they feel as strongly about the issue of immigration. I would imagine that the economy comes much higher on their list. You cannot be everything to all people, and to keep the conservative vote on the conservative issues that matter (abortion and immigration always high on that list), this will require Sen McCain not to be himself. The question is, is he willing to do that?

    March 5, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  18. Pat Canada

    "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."

    And this turns a page in America how? We know America is at war with two countries and so do Americans. We both have our men and women fighting this war did Senator McCain forget that? I don't think so as it was He who made the statement he'd keep our men and women in Iraq for 100 years if that's what it takes!

    As far as strengthening job growth and lowering taxes for businesses that is band aid solution for a hemmorage!

    Great Ideas Senator McCain. Next .........

    March 5, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. nancy burns

    why has CNN been on "hold" all day regarding the Texas Caucuses totals. Did the people just quit and go home?

    March 5, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  20. pth

    “protect the country and keep taxes low, and how to have a culture that respects the dignity of every human being.”...............

    unless your gay, then you deserve no dignity. BS and we all know it.

    March 5, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  21. John, Lexington MA

    Hillary is dead in the water. She's no better off than Huckabee was 1 month ago. She can't win in primary delegates. So she's trying to beat the system. America, just say NO to an aristocracy. America is better than 2 or 3 families. Can you imagine Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton? The thought of it makes me sick.

    March 5, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  22. Joe Law

    Let's all be honest here folks, McCain will be the next President. Just as Bush was 8% down in the polls to John Kerry the day before the last general election, and won by 5 million votes, amazing, considering he was not the most popular guy at that time , just as now. There is this segment of America who does not write on blogs, do not give poll answers, do not speak to folks about politics...THE SILENT MAJORITY! Nizon was supposed to have his butt kicked by McGovern, the war in Nam was going bad, people, according to the media, hated Nixon's guts. The silent majority always wins the election, they are middle of the road folks, working hard, raising their kids, just going about their business, but the voted for Reagan, Clinton, and Bush, and they will vote for McCain, because he is the closest to middle of the road.

    March 5, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  23. Jose Card - Independent

    I may not agree on all issues, but I can trust Senator McCain with my country. But it won't be much of a race if Hillary were the Dem nominee. I am looking forward to Obama's comeback.

    I don't understand what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was talking about. Whatever the outcome may be on the Dem side, it is already a great advantage for Senator McCain.

    March 5, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  24. Darth Vadik, CA

    Doesn't matter, he already sold his soul to the Devil (Dick Cheneys father).

    March 5, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  25. shamous mc

    With Hillary Clinton campaigning for McCain lately in her attacks against Obama..he not only has more experience than her, but he can use her words as evidence of her support of him.
    McCain over Clinton.

    I can think of nothing that brings people together like constant fighting!

    March 5, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
1 2 3 4