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Confident McCain Says Security Will Dominate Fla. Vote

John and Cindy McCain and Florida Governor Charlie Crist visit a St. Petersburg, Florida polling station. (Reuters).

By Juliet Eilperin
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.. -- With Florida Gov. Charlie Crist by his side, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) arrived at a local polling station and told reporters he believes the issue of national security will dominate today's GOP primary.

"The real issue here in Florida is who can keep them safe," McCain said.

Hampered by his lack of funds last year, McCain never developed an elaborate get-out-of-the-vote operation in Florida the way he did in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Instead he is relying on the Florida Republicans who have backed him, such as Crist and Sen. Mel Martinez to mobilize their supporters on his behalf.

Crist said this morning that he was happy to have endorsed McCain. "I hope it helps the guy, and I know it's going to be a great day in the state of Florida." In an interview on Monday, the governor said when it came to supporting McCain, he was doing "anything we can do, everything we can do."

In some instances Crist's support has already translated into other influential endorsements. On Monday Pasco County GOP Chair Bill Bunting -- a prominent gun-rights advocate who served as the Second Amendment chairman of Crist's gubernatorial campaign and had previously backed former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson's presidential bid -- declared his support and urged roughly 90,000 supporters via e-mail to vote for McCain.

"I look for the candidate who understands the idea that with great freedoms come great responsibilities, which is why I am supporting John McCain," Bunting said in a statement. "John McCain is an honorable man and a great American with strong commitment to second amendment rights, and I am proud to support him for president."

Another key grassroots ally of Crist, the Florida Police Benevolent Association, also endorsed McCain yesterday. The association represents 36,000 law enforcement and corrections officers across the state. "Endorsements matter," McCain told reporters this morning as he stood beside Crist.

The senator added that he doubted the recent verbal sparring between former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and himself would dishearten voters, saying it "looks like a Sunday school picnic compared to what the Democrats have been doing."

"Governor Romney has attacked virtually every one of us," he said, adding he had not engaged in a verbal tug-of-war with former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) or former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson, who recently dropped out of the GOP presidential race. "It's only Governor Romney who attacks his opponents when he thinks they're coming up and might succeed."

In another effort to boost voter turnout McCain has established a phone-banking operation in Florida, and has started sending out an array of robo-calls recorded by his surrogates to targeted audiences. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), for example, has recorded a message on McCain's behalf aimed at the state's Jewish Republicans.

McCain said he hoped to observe his usual primary day ritual of seeing a movie once he arrived in Miami this afternoon, but he wasn't sure if he would have time. He added, however, that he could name the one film he would not watch, on the grounds that it would give him bad luck: "It certainly will not be...'No Country for Old Men.'"

By Washington Post editors  |  January 29, 2008; 12:25 PM ET
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"McCain Says Security Will Dominate Fla. Vote"

In other words, the politics of fear has won again. Keep the people afraid and you can get them to do anything.

Now our choice is between a warmongerer ("Bomb bomb bomb" McCain), and one who pretends she's not a warmongerer (has Clinton EVER voted against supporting the "war" in Iraq?).

No, our last, best hope was Ron Paul. And becuase he's a man of principle and stands by his beliefs - and the Constitution, they had to tear him down.

Well, we are a Republic. As such, we get the government we deserve.

Posted by: MDLaxer | January 30, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

McCain is Soooooo into security! He is ready to wage war in Iraq untill we have secured Tehran as well!

BUT, Austin Texas, or Los Angeles California from MILLIONS of illegal Criminal Invaders here without permission?

Well, just like the one's in Floriduh, everyone knows they are NOT a National Security issue! We should just let them all stay and have full citizenship rights!


Posted by: rat-the | January 29, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

If anyone's not happy with the choices being foisted on them by the corrupt MSM, go to campaign appearances and ask the candidates the questions the MSM won't ask, then upload the response.

Here's a recent example:

If enough people do that it will make the MSM look very, very, very bad.

Posted by: LonewackoDotCom | January 29, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

You Listened To The Media For Your Choices, Now Learn Who They Are;

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

Posted by: Winghunter | January 29, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Ah what great choices the MSM media has foisted on the the sheep of America.
All are ready to run America broke to extend our trillion dollar overseas empire
These MSM front runners are McCain campaigning as a fascist and Romney, an eastcoast liberal, try to flip to becoming a conservative.
That leaves us with Rudy ending his quest in Florida and a preacher(Huckabee) who is not even exciting the fundies and the one who must be not be named (by the MSM) as the only alternatives to some very sorry psuedo conservatives.

Posted by: davrobi | January 29, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I know this is a terribly minor consideration, but has anyone thought of what our future First Lady would be like...?

McCain's bride is the result of an adulterous affair. The other woman in the White House, so to speak....

The same with Guiliani.

Posted by: carolm62 | January 29, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I fail to see what some consider honorable in McCain.

While he was languishing in a Vietnamese prison, his wife waited for him and raised their children. She later became seriously ill and gained some weight, so McCain had an affair with a rich heiress and divorced her.

I don't find that particularly admirable.

On the other hand, Romney has remained faithful to his high-school sweetheart, and continues to love and support her throughout her trials with Multiple Sclerosis.

That's character.

Posted by: carolm62 | January 29, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney can not be trusted. He will say anything and pay anything to win. Just look at the debate, Romney cheated. Do you want someone dishonest and deceptive as our president? Don't believe me? Look at these 3 videos. Romney has someone telling him what to say. And yes, the prompts are in the original video feed. Romney's cheating tells us a lot about his character. I want a president that has integrity and Romney proves here he does not.

Posted by: SabreHawk | January 29, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

The latest three polls from Florida show a completely tied up race with no real sign of momentum for either candidate. The other big question is the impact of early-voting and absentees. Check the full roundup here:

Posted by: campaigndiaries | January 29, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

What is the opportunity cost of not having Romney as President? We are facing the most serious economic challenges in history, from social security to health care to global trade imbalances to a ballooning deficit, and we are supposed to button up and elect a President who knows nothing about these critical issues in order to focus on security?

McCain focusing on national security is McCain campaigning on fear. It doesn't work for me, and is a foolish way to tip the hat.

Conservatives prefer Romney by 15% nationally for a reason.

Now what is the opportunity cost of McCain not getting into office? Another Senator with mixed results who basically balked at school work at West Point and chose not to graduate in the top half of his class, rejoins the work force to sell burgers at Mickey D's. Now that sounds like a benefit to the economy!

Posted by: Jed_Merrill | January 29, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Oh, of course he would say that- certainly not the economy:

John McCain's Economic Policy: "Your money for nothing and..."

Posted by: davidmwe | January 29, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

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