The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


McCain Looks Ahead to Florida

John McCain and his wife, Cindy, get ready to leave South Carolina after his primary victory. (AP).

By Juliet Eilperin
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- In case anyone was wondering whether the glow from Saturday night's primary win here had faded, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) informed voters this morning, "Obviously, we are still very happy about the win last night."

While at first McCain demurred when reporters asked him if he had achieved front-runner status by winning the South Carolina primary after defeating his rivals in New Hampshire, saying, "I don't know how to define a front runner. The reality is it helped us a very great deal," by the end of his roughly 15-minute press conference, he was comfortable with the label. When asked what he thought of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani criticizing his opposition to President Bush's 2001 tax cuts, he replied, "When someone hasn't run a primary, I can understand why they would attack the front-runner." Then, he grinned.

Looking ahead to Florida, where he will arrive later today, McCain said the state's Jan. 29 primary "is very important. I don't know if it's a must win, but it's certainly very important to me." He added that while the pro-military bent of South Carolina helped him edge out his GOP competitors here, that same sort of patriotism and enthusiasm for the military is also "very true in Florida."

While the senator said his campaign contributions have risen in the wake of his two primary victories, he said he did not think campaign spending would determine his ability to convey his national security message to Florida voters.

"You have to rely, to a large extent, on media coverage. We can get the kind of earned media that gives a megaphone to spread that kind of message," he said. "It's still going to come down to, in Florida, to campaigning."

He added that he expected his opponent Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, to spend heavily in Florida, joking that while his wife Cindy hails from the Anheuser-Busch family, "Cindy's vast personal wealth is not enough to make up" for the difference.

And while McCain has traditionally reveled in coming from behind in political races, he said he's comfortable with being out front. "I certainly enjoy being the underdog," he said. "I much more enjoy doing very well."

Posted at 12:43 PM ET on Jan 20, 2008
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ELJEFEJESUS-You are mixing up the candidates Stands a little. Mitt is not proposing the Flat Tax, that is Huck and Dr.No. Mitt should listen to Both of them, and mediate a better version.
Immigration? What we have is an Employment Issue. Criminal Employment under the Tax Table of people that should be properly Payrolled. Tancredo could easily perform much of the Leg Work in a Cabinet post Cracking Down on the Employers, while improving the Immigration mess-If Needed.
Then, while McPain is TALKING about Straight Talk, Mitt is WALKING the Exectutive Walk!
His Package Stimulus Package is better than Bushie's! I am GLAD he is not in debt to too many Special Interest Groups who are paying for the other's Campaigns-But NOT His! Who knows, if he was in their Pockets, the Powers would lighten up on their investment! As is, he is Blasted for anything, and everything they can Imagine!
The Existing Powers, have to try to Protect the Investments they have in McCain, Huck, and the others-But Mostly McCain!
Condi as VP? Could Fly, but she could also be in the Cabinet! Huck has a Base! He is also a fellow Statesman!(Governor)

Posted by: rat-the | January 20, 2008 9:44 PM

Those conservative purists should ease off a bit. McCain is probably the only Republican candidate who can beat Mrs. Clinton. Labeling those who do not line up with conservative perfectionism as RINOs is not helpful to the party or its chances for the WH.

Posted by: thepoliticalpost | January 20, 2008 5:47 PM

McCain is trying his darndest to belong to the Clinton's exclusive club, the "Come Back Kid". At his age he is really overqualified for the job! Of course, he has nothing to worry about since the illegals he wants to forgive cannot take his job away, BUT ILLEGALS CAN TAKE YOUR JOB AWAY. THINK - THINK- THINK!

Posted by: LOONYBIN2000 | January 20, 2008 5:33 PM

Wow the hired staffers of the rich guy mitt romney, who could only win in his home state of Michigan and in an uncontested race in Nevada thanks to lucky turnout by members of his religion, are out trying to push him onto those of us who don't sell their votes to the most well-financed, most-staffed campaign.

What I saw was the collapse of the immigrant-bashing wing of the party, on top of the prior failures of Tancredo, Duncan Hunter dropped out and Huckabee tried to veer radically anti-immigrant after his prior success surviving attacks for being to leniant to immigrants. Now Huckabee lost to McCain in a truly contested election.
Hunter's out.
Mc Cain wins again, and in a conservative state thanks to his leadership credentials.

Do you think Mitt Romney can buy anything more than a Steve Forbes type of candidacy? What about that flat-tax idea, did that not work in helping a rich guy buy the presidency? Maybe Mitt Romney will get his act ready for prime-time by Florida. He sure has gotten many dress-rehearsals with each change in his platform at each state. Will he finally win a contested election outside his home state?

Posted by: eljefejesus | January 20, 2008 4:13 PM

Mitt Romney for pres, with Condi Rice as VP. I could really go for that ticket!

Posted by: acorn160 | January 20, 2008 3:31 PM

McCain is a special kind of dumb. The kind who cannot see the Forrest because of all the Trees! Everything he is claiming he wants to focus on, control, and try to improve, he could BEST as the Secretary of DEFENSE!
Cripes! Mitt Romney has already Stated, that he would delegate much of those decisions to that Exectutive.

Same can be said to Giuliani, Thompson, Dr. No, Tancredo, and even Dennis Kucinich-who like Dr.No, has unique ideas that need to be heard!

Mitt, with his sidekick Mike, WILL Listen, and is very skilled at mediating!

The issue is BROKERED! :)

Posted by: rat-the | January 20, 2008 1:20 PM

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