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McCain Ready to Truth-Squad

By Juliet Eilperin
MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Hoping to fend off the kind of campaign loss they suffered in 2000, advisers to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) have formed a Truth Squad to counter any sort of negative attacks they may face in South Carolina, which could determine McCain's shot at the GOP presidential nomination.

McCain's aides expect he will win here in New Hampshire today, just as he did eight years ago. But his 2000 New Hampshire victory was quickly erased once the contest shifted to the Palmetto State, when backers of George W. Bush circulated rumors, including that McCain had fathered an illegitimate child. In a statement, several senior South Carolina elected officials said they would quickly respond to any such aspersions.

"We saw what happened in Iowa with the negative attacks. We see what's happening in New Hampshire, and I can tell you for certain, we won't stand for it here in South Carolina," said Adjutant General Stan Spears. "Some candidates are spending more of their campaign war chests on telling voters why John McCain shouldn't be president rather than telling voters why they should. Voters in South Carolina need to be on the lookout for these kinds of negative attacks."

The South Carolina contingent -- which will issue statements to voters as well as be available to comment to the media -- will include Spears, Attorney General Henry McMaster, House Speaker Bobby Harrell and Seventh Circuit Solicitor Trey Gowdy.

"Our goal is to set the record straight," McMaster said. "As soon as one of these negative attack ads goes up on the air or hits the mailboxes, we'll let the voters know the truth. Hopefully candidates will have learned, given what happened in Iowa, that negative campaigning just doesn't work. But, just in case, we'll be ready."

By Washington Post editors  |  January 8, 2008; 1:23 PM ET
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Think about what you just said. You've declared yourself the enemy of a man who spent five years in a Vietnamese prison camp for you. That says a lot about you. Take a look in the mirror

As for the people on that truth squad - McMaster and Harrell specifically, those are two of the most powerful Republicans in all of South Carolina, and are likely to be battling it out (along with Gresham Barrett, who's a Thompson supporter) for the gubernatorial nomination in 2010. McCain's got some pretty big guns there.

Posted by: Quiet_American | January 9, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

The question: Why DID McCain lose in South Carolina in 2000? The answer: South Carolina is a conservative state. Bush was the choice of conservatives, McCain was not. McCain ran against the Christian right. And won the media and lost the Republican primary voters. I was there,in Columbia, attending as many McCain rallies as I could. He was charismatic and funny and a great guy. And he lost. Not because of dirty tricks. This is a media monster myth, fed by their love for McCain. He lost because he was not conservative enough for South Carolina Republicans. Period. Save the conspiracy stories and the "national disgrace" moanings. This time, McCain has learned to run as a conservative. So he may win. South Carolina will be a great test. Is he a real conservative? Who cares? Both sides just want to win. Ideology is sooo 2000.

Posted by: Craig_Colgan | January 8, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Whether you like McCain or not, what happened to him in SC in 2000 was a national disgrace. I hope this "squad" will help destroy any similar rumors this time around, though I don't see them appearing this time - there isn't an establishment candidate that certain people would go to such desperate lengths to defend.

Posted by: edmcglothlin | January 8, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

The Mittster has all the backbone of a cup of melted marshmallows...if liberal Massachusetts was too much for him, why didn't he stay in Michigan or head out to Utah with the rest of the whirling-ninnies?

Posted by: Jerryvov | January 8, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

SC_GOP-YOU, like too many others in this Country, fail to realize how the powers are arranged.
There is first of all, Federal limitations, State limitations, County, and finally Township!

Labor and Immigration, are federal. What BITES, is when the Federal makes Statutes, that the States have to follow. Such as Education, Language(EO13166), and benefits-IE Anchor Babies!

The President is a duly Commisioned representative subservient to the Federal Representatives. He is authorized by the Constitution to enforce the Federal Laws, and to protect the Constitution, and the people.
Congress however, Legislates, and Funds!

THE LAWS ARE THERE! However, ALL the Federal Agencies dealing with Immigration, Labor Law enforcement, and Prosecution, are severely UNDERFUNDED! Or, at least that is the BS line we keep getting fed. See, I would swear that at $1,000/ Un-Documented worker/Day, writing Tickets would be an incredibly PROFITABLE and Lucrative enterprise! But, the smokescreen, is the Immigrant, not the Employer!
Ohhh, we have caught an Immigrant! NOW we have to incarcerate Him(Her), deport, and break up their happy Family(The DUAL-Nationality Anchor Babies!)!

The horror! The HORROR!

Take away the Illegal Employment, by just fining the employer, and watch the Invasorios at sunset swimming south!

THAT is the Garbage that we keep getting shoveled, and THAT is where MY Patience runs out! NO Governor, or ME, can Force Nancy Pelosi to get off her ample butt, and push through HR:1940-Birthright Citizenship Act. She, can stall it as long as she wants! No president can do anything but chastize her, and look forward to possibly eventually signing it! SAME was true of the Dim Sponsored Amnesty Bill Reagan was duped into signing-Under false pretenses Congress was going to push the FBI and INS Services with funding, to handle the job!

This is what needs to be fixed! Someone needs to take names and start kicking some dead-beat butts!

Obama-He is being coddled! That, should warn everyone! Mitt Romney, is being treated like the Anti-Christ!

Guess, who I feel is going to be wanting to actually Kick Booty!

As far as what Mitt did in Mass.s, he represented one of the most Liberal States in the Country, as Their Rep.-While probably having to hold his conservative nose half the time!

Then, the Olympics, then...

Posted by: rat-the | January 8, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee has the best shot in South Carolina as well as national election. The most recent polls from shows.

I like McCain to some extend but Huckabee is a better choice.

Just a short comment to rat-the. The United States is founded by immigrants. Legal invaders? You can't use this title for our founding fathers. Certainly you can't use that for the new comers either.

If you are so anti-immigrants, too bad you won't have any candidate to vote for, not even the double-talker Mitt. He became "tough" on immigration issue only after he decided to run for the president. He actually praised McCain's plan "reasonable". Hunter has no chance; he wasn't even in a debate. Tom has dropped out. Who are you going to vote for?

Posted by: SC_GOP | January 8, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Giuliani lay low strategy
Rudy Giuliani's strategy, as he describes it, sounds a bit like playing rope-a-dope in a bar fight.

Can a Strategy Of Losing Early Work?

Posted by: usadblake | January 8, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Gimme a Break! McCain has support in a far Northern State like New hampshire because they like him for all the Pork he has thrown them while in Congress!
TRUTH SQUAD? Here is a tidbit for you! Those Supporters in New Hampshire, THEY would prefer he actually had to stay in Congress! As President, he would not be able to throw anything their way! They know full well, he will NEVER win, but want to stroke Him, and make him feel all Fuzzy inside while they can!

The South, has had it with our NON-Unionized Jobs being underbid, and all wages across the board destroyed due to too many Illegals, and possibly a few too many Legal invaders as well!

Texas, California, Arizona, The Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida, are MAJOR States, and McCain is our Enemy!

Posted by: rat-the | January 8, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

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