The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Rebuilding the GOP, McCain Style

By Juliet Eilperin
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- As he spoke with reporters a day before his victory here, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) jokingly pointed to his close ally, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and declared, "If I do lose, there stands the reason I will lose."

In fact, Graham -- who now ranks as the state's senior senator and has tirelessly campaigned for McCain in Iowa and New Hampshire, as well as South Carolina -- played an instrumental role in lining up support for McCain among the state's conservatives. McCain singled him out for praise before anyone else in his acceptance speech, and once it was finished, Graham was eager to explain why his friend could build on his win to restore a fractured Republican Party.

"John is really trying to build a party this time around, not a movement," Graham said. "He's the most electable, viable conservative in the field. Every demographic in South Carolina saw in John the most electable Republican in the field."

The senator argued that McCain's emphasis on fiscal conservatism, which helped him win over New Hampshire voters earlier this month, will make him competitive with any Democratic opponent in the fall. "It's the kind of conservatism that will resonate in blue states," Graham said.

The two men don't always think alike: while riding on The Straight Talk Express this morning they debated which ABBA song they liked most, because McCain had made the decision to substitute "Take a Chance on Me" for the rock and roll classic, "Johnny B. Goode," that had traditionally blared as he left the stage. Graham mentioned he's a big fan of "Waterloo," but did not want to use it as a campaign closer.

"I like the song, but I don't like the theme of 'Waterloo,'" Graham explained.

Posted at 10:41 PM ET on Jan 19, 2008
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How soon everyone forgets that McCain wanted amnesty for illegals and wants to stay in Iraq for the next 100 years if need be. No thank you.
Maybe back east illegal immigration may not be as big as problem, but in the West it is a HUGE problem. Hospitals are closing down in towns where there is a large illegal population, which affects legal residents. Illegals filling up the schools which never seem to have enough money. The Iraq war is a big source of our economic woes. Why throw more money away.
Say no McCain. Even his own state didn't like it that he was pro amnesty. Say No to Hucakbee -- he also supported illegals to help out his Arkansas business buddies. No wonder the CEO of Tyson supports him.

Posted by: JohnJacobs99 | January 21, 2008 4:16 PM

John McCain should get a hold of Fred Thompson as soon as he can and try to convince him to run with him in November. They should form the ticket before Florida. A McCain/Thompson ticket would seal the deal with many conservatives who are wary of McCain and respect Fred Thompson (such as myself). Thompson is likely to bow out soon, and he may endorse McCain, but endorsements generally don't swing many votes. I have no doubt that McCain is not limited by his age, but if he chooses to bow out in four years, we'll have Thompson to look forward to.

McCain/Thompson 2008

Posted by: cpatter6 | January 21, 2008 1:58 PM

Hi cleavere, why is backing Ron Paul a waste exactly? Is cutting back spending, less taxes and running things as the US Constitution requires such a terrible thing? And what are you commenting for anyway, perhaps, it may appear you are doing this for the American Psychiatric Association. If this is so, that is very kind, however no thanks- I have woken up. Ron Paul for president.

Posted by: davidmwe | January 21, 2008 2:39 AM

What is he going to call it the RINO party

Posted by: Imarkex | January 20, 2008 8:19 AM

If McCain is rebuilding the GOP im GETTING OUT OF IT.BYE BYE.

Posted by: Imarkex | January 20, 2008 8:09 AM

If elections are about "who do you trust", McCain is much more likely to beat the Democrat who runs in November than Romney. Even most Republicans don't trust Romney. If Romney is nominated, you'll turn from a world where the race was determined by "Reagan Democrats" to one where it is won by "Hillary Republicans". As for Obama, he can beat him without leaving his front porch.

Posted by: dyinglikeflies | January 20, 2008 7:38 AM

It is true that Mr. mcCain has the best chance of winning against all of the Democratic candidates. It is also true that he must accept responsibility for all of the very stupid things the current President (or perhaps Vice President) has done. He supported these people and he can not deny that.

Posted by: boylande | January 20, 2008 7:29 AM

>>Posted by: Winghunter | January 20, 2008 03:03 AM

Winghunter, you've spammed that blog link of yours all over the internet just like a Paulbot. Give it a rest, loser. If it were worth reading, other people would link to it on their blogs. I've read it, and it's not worth reading--it's just the work of a lame, self-promoting tool. Quit spamming!

Posted by: cleavere | January 20, 2008 4:27 AM

>>Posted by: davidmwe | January 20, 2008 02:54 AM

LOL! Paulbots are still wasting their own and everyone else's time spamming all over the internet too?
LOL! Get a grip and take your meds, lunatic!

Posted by: cleavere | January 20, 2008 4:24 AM

John McCain in "on the Issues" is rated near 88% consistent conservative. He has been strict about cutting earmarks and trimming pork, saving Americans millions. He is therefore the real Conservative. He was awarded in 2005 the Eisenhower Prize from the Eisenhower Institute for Integrity and Leadership. The myths about him are dishonest and a reaction to his goodness. Its the fascist drift of the party - which needs to be addressed by the way - that attacks him. Well my forfathers were trained to fight fascism in Europe and they laid down there lives there so it would never ever come here! John McCain is the Churchill in our midst; let's go for him!

Posted by: musemonk | January 20, 2008 3:05 AM

McCain's negatives are just as fierce as Hillary's are for the Libs.

If he becomes the nominee watch the worst election results for conservatives in history;

Candidate Research - Know Who You're Voting For ( The Easy Way )

Posted by: Winghunter | January 20, 2008 3:03 AM

McCain is probably one of the greatest Americans alive today and towers head and shoulders over anyone else in the race, democrat or republican! He has dedicated his life to serving the Republic, is a decorated war-hero who spent 5 years in the Hanoi Hilton for his fellow countrymen, and seems to be the only influential politician who both understand the importance of winning in Iraq and has some idea as how to go about doing so (ie. rely on real intelligence reports and the advice of professional soldiers instead of collecting intel via Ouija boards and things Bill O'Reilly makes up, ala Bush and Gang.) I actually think it's a sad reflection of the degraded state of politics in our nation that McCain isn't more or less unrivalled already. He is honest, intelligent and loyal beyond question to this nation. In the field which he finds himself, he truly is a giant among pygmies but, unfortunately for the Republic, the US electorate can be very small-minded. They are likely to forget McCain's contributions to this nation as a soldier and a statesmen and instead vote for whomever makes the most appealing crazy promises. McCain's own honesty may thus be his undoing: look how well his honest admission that alot of jobs had permenantly left the state served him compared to Romney's socialist (and unrealistic) version of a Detroit of future that recreates the Detroit of yesteryear.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | January 20, 2008 2:59 AM

John McCain will likely not get the nomination. With economics views like this:

I still hope for Ron Paul. He is truly a patriot whom would fight for America, not the rest of the world.

Posted by: davidmwe | January 20, 2008 2:54 AM

Abba? "Take a Chance on Me"? Pretty lame choice. He ought to use "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen. Much better song. Much better message.

Posted by: anon99 | January 20, 2008 2:20 AM

Iraq for one hundred more years.

Because if we don't, we're losers.

We're not losers, are we.


Posted by: abenson2 | January 20, 2008 1:12 AM

If John McCain can really rebuild the GOP in his image, then I might even drop my independent status and actually join the Republican Party.

Posted by: PBL4 | January 20, 2008 1:08 AM

ABBA? For anyone still wondering which team Lindsey is on, this settles it. But not that there's anything wrong with that...

Posted by: merganser | January 19, 2008 11:37 PM

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