McCain courting former South Carolina backers for Romney
January 5th, 2012
03:35 PM ET
11 years ago

McCain courting former South Carolina backers for Romney

Charleston, South Carolina (CNN) - As he campaigns in South Carolina alongside Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney this week, Arizona Sen. John McCain is quietly reaching out to his former campaign supporters to gauge their interest in backing Romney.

A South Carolina Republican source familiar with the calls described them as "a soft pitch, more of a courtesy call" to many of the elected officials who supported McCain's 2008 presidential bid.

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McCain won the South Carolina primary in 2008, a crucial victory that helped propel him to the Republican nomination.

The McCain team is divided this cycle. Some are supporting Texas Gov. Rick Perry while others are with former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.

Among the Republicans who received calls from McCain Thursday were South Carolina House Speaker Bobby Harrell and former Attorney General Henry McMaster.

Harrell is backing Perry while McMaster is supporting Huntsman.

"He is calling a lot of his old friends," McMaster told CNN when asked about the calls. "In any phone call like that, it's always understood that if that something happens to your guy, we'd love to have you on board. But I don't want to characterize the call other than we are friends and he called."

McMaster said he would stand by Huntsman, as he did with McCain in 2007 when the senator's campaign was broke and left for dead.

Also see:

DNC highlights old Romney-McCain tension

Gingrich hones message in New Hampshire

Santorum raises more than $1 million in one night

Huntsman to air first TV spot

Perry will 'reset the campaign' in South Carolina, adviser says

Filed under: 2012 • John McCain • Mitt Romney • South Carolina
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Egads, I really hope old Johnny boy is helping in the background and NOT giving Mitt campaign advice! He really flubbed it in 2008 and I hope Mitt is looking at that and seeing what NOT to do.

    And be careful Mitt, McCain might alienate the conservative base, not that you have much anyways. Hopefully their "anyone but Obama" feelings will still get them to the polls in November.

    January 5, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. Hurry up! elect Mitt Romney!

    South Carolina will never support a draft dogding Mormon that went to France to avoid the Vietnam War to live in a palace while sipping on wine. Romney has five sons none join the service to fight in Afganistan or Iraq. like father, like son. The Mitt sandwich is hard to swollow for Christian Conservitives to put an Mormon at the head of their movement.

    January 5, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. Indy

    There gos Bomb Bomb McCain taking another year off to get involved in the Presidency again and AZ foots the bill.

    January 5, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  4. bob

    Mr.McCain and Willard Romney, "Keep a look out in S.C." Those S.C. Gop Voters and Gov, will try to stick a Confederate flagg on your lemo,s????? The Civil War is still deep in the Evangelical Zealots down there! And while your there, "Drive around and get a good look at the "Rampant Poverty Level"!!!!!

    January 5, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  5. Sak

    Not real pleased with McCain. He may be backing Romney but it is not his place to take Aim at other candidates.

    He is not helping the Military like he use to. SAD,SAD.

    January 5, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    It figures one flip-flopper would back another. Wasn't Sen. John McCain the same guy who stood on the Senate floor in 2003 and derided the Bush administration for enacting tax *cuts* during a time of war? Wasn't McCain the same guy who defended the BTCs to his own demise in 2008? Yes, this is the same guy. McCain has pointed out that the GWB administration was the *first* to declare a war and *not raise taxes* to pay for it, irregardless of party affiliation. Republicans and Democrats had both rasied taxes to pay for wars until the GWB administration came along.

    January 5, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. Mitt Romney - He`ll say Anything to Get Elected

    John McCain has ZERO credibility after select the unqualified Sarah Palin for the VP slot and suspending his campaign to fix the economy in 2008.

    If jobs is our crucial issue, what, precisely will Mr. Romney do to create jobs and what is the timetable and GDP, employment rate metrics that Mr. Romney . . . the businesman, the MBA`er use to judge success? Until he articulates this, I can`t simply give him the benefit of the doubt.

    January 5, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  8. Thomas

    Arizona Sen. John McCain needs to let go of his anger towrds Obama.

    What a sour grape , You lost John !

    Say hi to Sarah. Maybe Mitt will make you Secratary of Geritol !

    January 5, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. diridi

    just fools....way of GOP life.

    January 5, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. Curt

    Maybe John McCain should just concentrate on doing the job he was voted in to do. We all know his credibility is zero after choosing Palin as his running mate. Maybe McCain wants Romney to pick him for vice president since he lost to Obama for president.

    January 5, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  11. Not Suprised at Anything

    Good grief, McCain needs to get a life. Why is he never at home with his family during a senate break. I guess since the war ended in Iraq he has 1 less war zone to visit during a senate break. No disrepect to a former POW but McCain needs to get over the 2008 election and get on with his life. Romney will not win the primary in SC.

    January 5, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  12. GonzoinHouston

    @Hurry up! elect Mitt Romney!
    South Carolina will never support a draft dogding Mormon that went to France to avoid the Vietnam War to live in a palace while sipping on wine.

    Dude, I don't like him either, but your rant has nothing to do with reality. He went to France as his Morman Mission Trip. You know the kids you see on the mountain bikes in the white short-sleeved shirts and black ties? Same thing but they didn't have as much money. It's a big deal for Mormon youth. And wine? Romney, like about 99% of the Mormons, is a teetotaler. Again, it's a Mormon thing.

    There's more than enough factual evidence that he has no business being President. No need to push the envelope.

    January 5, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  13. Marie MD

    Yes, listen to the man that gave the she devil from AK. I rather take the advice of my dog or cat!

    January 5, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. vic , nashville ,tn

    We must have retirement age for our senators

    January 5, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. willie floyd

    As a native of SC there is absolutely NOTHING some of my fellow Carolinians will do or not do that would surprise me. I was an Indep. for all my voting yrs. until the last election. But during the last campaign I saw things going on and heard things said that made me a Dem. for life. The worst part of it all is realizing most of the country thinks we are all alike. I promise you we aren't. I've been a Christian for 55+ yrs. But I must be reading a different Bible than some of these "fanatics" read. I believe very strongly in the separation of church & state. Faith or "religion" should be a very private thing.

    OBAMA/BIDEN-2012, WARREN-2016
    Please post CNN-my last six or more comments have been ignored.

    January 5, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Please post CNN-my last six or more comments have been ignored."

    It's getting to be a real epidemic on the CNN ticker. Apparently Mitt Romney fans aren't filling up their "equal time" comments quota.

    January 5, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  17. Bill

    McCain is an addled old fool that no one pays much attention to anymore.

    January 5, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  18. Mikey

    @Truth – there you go again! Polls show Romney beats Obama head to head? Really? The most recent polls conducted by nine polling agencies show Romney ahead on only one. Of the 38 polls over the past 3 months reflected at Real Clear Politics, Romney only leads in 9. 5 of those 9 are either Rasmussen (a Republican Party polling organization) and Fox (which is a foreign controlled propaganda outfit for the logically challenged).

    If unemployment trails down below 7.5% and the DJIA runs to about 13,000 by the end of October, the President will be sitting on 60+% approval. To quote a movie line – You are not thinking fourth dimensionally.

    January 5, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  19. PT

    Romney has to learn body language. He seems he has no clue at all. First touching people on shoulder during the debate, and now putting a hand in a pocket, while looking the elder (Big John) as if he is about to say: what are you talking about John!

    January 5, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |