[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/14/art.mccain0514.ap.jpg caption=" McCain admitted Wednesday the GOP’s woes could hurt him in November."] COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) - Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain conceded Wednesday his party’s loss in a Mississippi GOP stronghold is a bad sign for his own chances in November.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. I have a lot of work to do. I understand the challenge. I am confident at the end of the day my vision and plan for action for this nation will get the majority of the votes, but I have no illusions in this campaign,” McCain told reporters during a stop at an Ohio recycling plant. “It will be a very difficult challenge.”
A few minutes earlier on his campaign bus, McCain had been more specific.
“When you look at the data and look at our brand, we’ve got real challenges to re-energize our base,” he said. “This is an indication that our party has a lot to do if we’ve going to win. Not only my campaign but gaining seats in the House and Senate.”
McCain also reacted for the first time to the resignation of his coordinator for the summer GOP convention, Doug Goodyear, and another staffer after it was reported they had worked as lobbyists for Myanmar’s military regime. The Arizona senator vowed that his campaign aides would be “be more thoroughly vetted” in the future.
“We found out those two individuals had represented that country, and so they left and we will vet everyone more seriously to make sure that’s not a repetition,” he said.
McCain has made his fight against special interests in Washington a central theme of his campaign, but has come under criticism because several of his top advisers have been long-time lobbyists.