April 22nd, 2008
06:05 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain insists he is neutral about Democratic nominee

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/22/art.mccainflage2.jpg
caption="John McCain said it's up to the Democrats to decide their nominee."]
(CNN) - Campaigning across the border in Ohio, John McCain insists he’s neutral about what happens in Pennsylvania’s primary and Democratic contests beyond.

“I have never stated whether I wanted this election to stretch out or not. That is up to the Democratic Party voters and I have nothing to do with that,” said McCain.

The Republican nominee in waiting said he doesn’t know whether the Democratic race helps or hurts him, saying he’s heard arguments for both.

But privately some of McCain’s advisers tell CNN they do have an opinion. They’re secretly rooting for a big Pennsylvania win for Hillary Clinton, because they’ve concluded the longer Democrats bruise each other in battle, the better it is for McCain.

They point to polls among Democratic voters showing the longer the bitter race goes on, the more each candidate’s supporters say they won’t vote for the other.

But while those McCain aides say they want Clinton to stay in the race for a while, they increasingly say they would rather not run against her.

Those in the McCain camp who say they think Clinton could be tougher to beat than Obama point to both the map, and the makeup of Clinton and Obama’s supporters.

When it comes to the map, some McCain advisers say they would likely lose the traditionally red state of Arkansas to Hillary Clinton, where she was first lady and polls well against McCain. If Obama is his opponent, McCain aides think their candidate would likely win Arkansas.

In terms of voters, McCain aides say if Obama is his opponent, it would be much easier to woo Clinton’s primary voters like conservative white working class Democrats.

They also argue that if McCain ran against Obama, he would have a leg up on the Democrat with many Hispanic voters, who have flocked to Clinton in many Democratic contests. McCain often notes how well he has done with Hispanic voters over the years in his home state of Arizona.

Regardless, McCain aides are devising two general election strategies, one against each Democratic candidate.

After all, if there is anyone who knows how quickly a candidate’s political fortunes can change, it’s John McCain

soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Andrew

    People who have really looked into this campaign know that if it's Hillary vs McCain it's going to be a close race and Hillary might squeak by. If it's Obama vs McCain, McCain will dominate him.

    April 22, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  2. kim portland, oregon

    duuuuuuhhhhhhhh, "good for mccain", ya think?!?!?!?!

    this disastrous campaign is now getting very close to handing over the white house to a war-lover and we will be getting 4 more years (if he can live that long) of bush trainwreck policies!!

    why would you mccain people vote AGAINST the best interests of yourself, your family, YOUR CHILDREN, your job (it's gonna get REAL ugly when your white-collar jobs start going overseas b/c of another repub president), and your country???? no doubt you are those people who live in a house you are very close to losing to foreclosure and driving around in your yellow-ribboned and US-flagged SUV, with your lapel pin glittering in the sun, cuz YOU are a much better patriot than ME!!!

    if you love the war so much you want it to continue AND to start a new one in iran, WHY aren't YOU over there fighting for your country you love so much, you patriots you!?!??!

    April 22, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  3. ron

    Not news

    April 22, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  4. The Iraq war IS legal

    Who cares.... either Dem nominee is a loser. People like Darth are morons with their war monger talk. When Clinton was still president in 1998, the world voted against Saddam, due to his continued violations and non-compliance. When we invaded Iraq, they were already in violation of international law, so it was not illegal. It's just that nothing was ever done about it before 1993!! McCain is the only one that understands the stakes.

    April 22, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  5. McCain is tied to one of the biggest republican cover ups yet

    McCain has some dirty laundry in his closet that ties him to hundreds of billions of dollars missing out of Individual Indian Money Accounts within the BIA. He had a leak within the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs that went straight back to the Special Trustee Office where hundreds of billions of dollars are missing. Taxpayers will have to be responsible but in the mean time Bush reappointed Ross Swimmer as Special Trustee to cover up these skeletons. Regan originally appointed Swimmer where billions were discovered missing only a few years after he had been appointed. Swimmer is hated by all Indian Chiefs in America. McCain will have to explain why he was tied to Swimmer and Billions of stolen dollars.

    April 22, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  6. Louis

    All week we have heard how Obama has outspent Clinton 2:1 or more, and yet she is still close or winning PA. If she had the same funds she would be spending it, but he is breaking all records for fundraising in the Demo race as well as the Republican race. If soo many people are giving Obama money, and he has previously won or matched Clinton in even numbers in mostly white states, why do we keep hearing how she thinks she is the better canidate to win against McCain? Earlier tonight it was said that McCain secretly wants Clinton to win, because he belives that he can win against her! Obama should be the nominee not only because he won more delegates, more states, and has the popular vote, but because he has the best chance of winning in November!

    April 22, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
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