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Conservative Endorsements for McCain, but No Thaw with Limbaugh

By Juliet Eilperin
ABOARD THE MCCAIN CAMPAIGN PLANE -- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) touted the endorsements of two conservative political figures this afternoon, saying the backing of former presidential candidate Steve Forbes and Don Nickles, a lobbyist who used to serve as a Republican senator from Oklahoma, shows he can win over the right wing of his party.

"Part of what you do is what we're already doing -- Steve Forbes, [former Texas senator] Phil Gramm, [former Housing and Urban Development Secretary] Jack Kemp, Don Nickles, the list goes on and on of well-respected conservatives," McCain said. "We'll be talking to 'em, we'll be going to their gatherings and explaining my conservative credentials "

McCain added that conservatives might warm to him once they became focused on the fact that if he wins the nomination, he's poised to take on either Democratic Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) or Hillary Clinton (N.Y.). "Maybe when they look at the opposition, I may be a little more attractive at that time."

Still, there are limits to McCain's courtship of his party's right wing. He said that while he hoped talk radio host Rush Limbaugh would back his candidacy, he would understand if he didn't, adding he wouldn't appear on Limbaugh's show because he doesn't have guests. When told that Vice President Cheney has appeared multiple times on the problem, the senator confessed, "I don't listen to him very much. There's a certain trace of masochism in my family, but not that deep."

McCain, who until recently had shied away from identifying himself as the GOP frontrunner, sounded increasingly confident today as he discussed how he would stand up against either Obama or Clinton.

After being told by reporters that Obama mentioned him by name during Thursday night's debate and contrasted their difference stance on the war in Iraq, McCain replied, "Good, I eagerly await that discussion. It would mean the difference between victory and surrender. It's a product of his inexperience, and we'll be highlighting that."

When asked whether he would make the same comments about Clinton, the senator responded, "Oh yeah. Both of them have said basically the same thing. It's a lack of experience, because anyone who knows military strategy knows that if you say you're withdrawing, the enemy wins."

"They teach that to you the first year of West Point," continued McCain, who graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, which prompted him to add, "Not at the Naval Academy."

With just a few days left before Super Tuesday, McCain said he was fairly confident the nomination would be decided on Feb. 5. "Not often do I ask for divine intervention, but in this instance, I have asked for that."

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 1, 2008; 8:05 PM ET
 
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Posted by: ucwpqav wugr | April 16, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

As I read some of these comments I wonder what has happened to the America we used to have. Although, we have other parties, the main two are the Democrat and Republican parties. They both have principles and a mission that is supposedly shared by it's members. Unfortunately, many people join political parties just like they join a health club, choir, or anything else. Sometimes it's just something to do. However, there are still people who join things because that is what they believe in whole heartedly and they agree with the ideologies and concepts of whatever it is they are joining. In my opinion, that is what Rush Limbaugh is simply voicing. John McCain, regardless of your respect and admiration for him because of his service, has absolutely nothing to do with his stray from Republican principles. It is perfectly understandable that over time and experience, that life can cause one to change their views on things, however, you don't force that on the group, you simply form another group that encompasses those same passions or beliefs that you have. I'm tired of moderates trying to always sway things to their benefit instead of forming another party that represents people in the middle. But to try and change the Republican parties principles is just wrong. You can't vote against tax cuts, advocate the legalizing of millions of people who violated your laws to get here, endorse and get passed legislation that affects how campaigns can be run, and only seems to effect your party, and think that TRUE REPUBLICANS are going to think your one of them. This last year he has sided with just too many Democrats. I don't believe in winning a race to let the looser run the show, and too me that's exactly what the Republicans did. They spent too much time trying to be all things to all people instead of running the country with the Republican principles. I'm starting to believe John Edwards, maybe there are two Americas. The one that believes that we are free to find our own dreams in a country that is plentiful, that government has a limited role and not an entrusive role, success is not to be punished but rewarded. Then there is the other America, the one that thinks everyone else is responsible for them, nobody should be held accountable for the mistakes they make, and too hate the rich because obviously they didn't earn the money legally etc... It's just getting sicking.

Posted by: ateht3 | February 4, 2008 1:42 AM | Report abuse

COWENS99:

The Democrats "control" Congress, right? That didn't work out so great for them. I am curious how exactly you think the Democrats are going to take control of the Supreme Court THIS YEAR? Barring Bush leaving office before January 20, 2009 -- something Nancy Pelosi has taken off the table -- the soonest the Democrats could take control of said third branch of government is next year AFTER one or two Justices retire / die.

johnandsonia:

Are you aware of Reagan's 11th Commandment? Hopefully, WHOMEVER the Republicans nominate, those who spoke ill of the other GOP candidates will "warm" to the nominee once they became focused on the fact that Obama or Hillary is the opposition ; )

Posted by: JakeD | February 3, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

It appears that there is "no one" qualified to become president this cycle. The democrats have no one with experience. 35 years living with "Bill" is not experience. A "do nothing Senator" also is no good for qualifications. I still prefer Obamma to "H". At least he is not carrying all that baggage, although his agenda is no better. McCain is a true hero however being a pseudo Democrat does not justify his being president. His claim to fame is staying at the "Hanoi Hilton" when given the opportunity to leave by his captors. This is what makes him a hero, nothing else. Many died in this prison and were just as great a hero because of their actions. He has consistently voted with the Democrats and has displayed no Republican values through deeds and actions. He has twisted Romney's experience to his own benefit through lies and deceptions. He probably will be the next GOP candidate for President. I will vote Democratic by not voting. "H" or "O" will get my vote as I refuse to acknowledge his twisted political values which are "self centered," not representative of my Commander in Chief.

Posted by: j_w_smith063 | February 3, 2008 6:40 AM | Report abuse

"He said that while he hoped talk radio host Rush Limbaugh would back his candidacy, he would understand if he didn't, adding he wouldn't appear on Limbaugh's show because he doesn't have guests. When told that Vice President Cheney has appeared multiple times on the problem...."

A brilliant Freudian slip.

Posted by: amoffett1 | February 2, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

The 'dream team,' a wake-up call 2/05/08 for 22 states in the presidential primaries.

Dump McCain... the Hillary/Obama ticket in the general election will kill him. Republicans are itching to expose the negatives of Sen. Clinton: it will not work: Obama will neutralize her weakness by being on the ticket with her. McCain will get no help from his running mate.

The general election is 10 months from now. The poll ratings are useless now, look what happened to Giuliani. Obama and the Democrats feel they can get Republicans to come to their side(a possible McCain revolt by Republicans.) Likewise, Romney in the general election facing Obama and Hillary will attract Democrats that are unhappy with their ticket, plus Romney can unite the Republican party.

If Romney can come out after super-duper Tuesday looking good, the polling data will change and he will have 10 months for the country to see the real Mitt Romney.

Posted by: adamscar | February 2, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Joe Lieberman is no moderate. He will support anyone who is willing to send Americans to the Middle East to protect Israel.

Posted by: caesarganz | February 2, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Rush Limabaugh has become politikally irrevelant.
He's too disconnected from the average man.
You got to get out of the limo every once in while or you'll be listening to the dead dial tone of the politikally disconnected.

Rush is a Hollywood Star, a politikal entertainer and like all Hollywood stars
"We'll see on the way up and
we'll see you on the way down." M.F.
Rush road the edge of populism until the point were his own opinion mattered more then the average joe.

It's very similiar to Ann Coulter, who is revealing her true colors this week. She's a New York liberal and always has been. A real Republican would never ever vote for a democrat and that's a fact that everybody understands.

She played "the right" to sell books and this is very well understood within the entertainment community. And why not? It worked, but now she's come back around again to real her true inner self.

They are Politikal Entertainers one and all.

Posted by: steve_real | February 2, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Rush Limabaugh has become politikally irrevelant.
He's too disconnected from the average man.
You got to get out of the limo every once in while or you'll be listening to the dead dial tone of the politikally disconnected.

Rush is a Hollywood Star, a politikal entertainer and like all Hollywood stars
"We'll see on the way up and
we'll see you on the way down." M.F.
Rush road the edge of populism until the point were his own opinion mattered more then the average joe.

It's very similiar to Ann Coulter, who is revealing her true colors this week. She's a New York liberal and always has been. A real Republican would never ever vote for a democrat and that's a fact, that everybody understands.

She played "the right" to sell books and this very well understood within the entertainment community. And why not? It worked, but now she's come back around again, to real her true inner self.

Politikal Entertainers one and all.

Posted by: steve_real | February 2, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Do we REALLY need to take seriously the opinions of right-wing wackos like Rush Limbaugh?

Posted by: peterdemian | February 2, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Why McCain?

There are various reasons, some good, some not so good, that some Democrats will not vote for either Hillary or Obama.

These same Democrats will most likely not support the Republican candidate that today's Republican Party's, right wing elite would provide.

Enter McCain, who is about as popular with the GOP as is Lieberman is with the Democratic Party, mostly for the same reasons. These folks are moderates!

As moderates, they can cross ideologies, get things done and most importantly appeal to the majority of voters, some from the GOP, some from the Democratic party and most importantly, most of the independents.

Lastly, in these times of strife, McCain who was trained as a warrior leader can best navigate this country through the upcoming challenge. Understand that the least likely person to want to go to war is the soldier. The most likely person to know how to win the war is the soldier.


Posted by: daniel_ed | February 2, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"The Democrats know how to govern." Interesting comment.
McCain, with all his flaws (campaign finance non-reform, pro-illegal immigration, favored by liberals, "independents," and the MSM (until the general election-when they will all support the Democratic nominee) would be less bad than either Hillary or Obama.

Posted by: dwbalessr | February 2, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

It was noticed that the Los Angeles TIMES (it used to be a newspaper) endorsed 2 candiates, one from each the R's and D's. Amusingly, the LAT endorsed 2 Democrats! ('Bama and McCain).

Posted by: tucanofulano | February 2, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

After the nasty smear campaign by the Bush machine in the 2000 SC primary, Senator McCain probably paraphrased Gov. George Wallace,

"I was out-bushed
and I will never be out-bushed again."

Turn the clock forward to 2007, and McCain was opposed by a handsome version of Danny Devito's character, Larry le liquidateur, in Other People's Money, of a Wall Street type who tries to take over a small New England company.

McCain discovers that the same Bush machine has adopted Mitt le liquidateur as their surrogate and has the support of talk radio.

Moderates are sick and tired of the Bush machine and talk radio. The only way to beat the Bush machine is to go for the jugular.

Posted by: alance | February 2, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Focus on the Family's (Dr. Dobson) sent out a mass email to 'values voters' before the Florida primary with a short video clip commentary/write-up for each candidate.

Mitt Romney's video spot with commentary by Minnery (just after Tony Perkins comments), quoted Mitt Romney's 'supposed' admission that.....'Mormons were not Christian' - which is an outright lie.

This was done to assure (in a deceptive way), values voters that it is far better to vote for another Christian, John McCain, rather than a 'Mormon, even though Romney's faith shares their values. Wonder why the media couldn't figure out why Romney didn't quite carry the 'economic' worries there? His greatest strength and the U.S. greatest concern right now.

Instead, have FRC's president, (the DC values media man who defends family, faith and freedom) and Dr. Dobson's sanctimonious approval for said FALSEHOOD endorsement. Tax-exempt organizations that give fair
and unbiased views (and lies) on certain candidates who are trying to win certain votes.

Shame on the IHT for printing their weekend story on
these 'values upholders' who have shown anything but in this instance.

No doubt Huckabee VP was a part of that deal.


Posted by: beltwaysense | February 2, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Limbaugh is easy to figure. Call it loyalty to the paycheck. Check out who owns Clear Channel Communications, and make your own decision. As for McCain, the Bushies gelded him a few years ago, and I think all he has left is a desire to remove the shame of losing in SE Asia. Apparently, Grenada (Reagan's one victory) was not enough for him. Meanwhile, this Republican is waiting for the next Eisenhower to surface... I thought I saw a flicker of it in Colin Powell, but he seems to have disappeared. Well, at least the Dems can govern...

Posted by: OldUncleTom | February 2, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

The Religican party is wasting their time. There is no way the majority of voters in this country would vote Republican after 7 years of Bush. Give it up. Guliani was the only smart one. He left cold New England and got a paid for vacation in Florida. I think he knows there's no chance this country will elect a Republican for President. Not for a long, long time.

Posted by: jonsid | February 2, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Conservatives are essentially in denial over the fact they don't have the votes. As a result they are spending $millions to run attack ads against their fellow Republicans, running underground campaigns against John McCain, and seem to be coming up with every excuse imaginable as to why the voters don't support them. Mike Huckabee has been quite blunt about it because John McCain can't - the party must shift to reach out to more average Americans and that means conservatives too!

Posted by: chrisbak52 | February 2, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

I'm a conservative voter, but I'm also a veteran and I appreciate John McCain. His so-called "disloyalty" to the Republican Party included his willingness to stand up to President Bush over the Rumsfeld issue, and I know from experience that Rumsfeld "screwed the pooch" in Iraq.

McCain knew what those of us who were on the ground in Iraq in 2003 and 2004 knew--supplies stayed at a dangerously low level because Rumsfeld insisted we didn't need more troops (to transport supplies and defend the roads they traveled on), despite the fact that General Shinseki had said we needed twice as many to do the job right. Pride, ego, or ignorance trumped good judgment and commitment to troops on the ground.

It took someone with the courage of John McCain to stand up and blow the whistle on Rumsfeld's hard-headed and dangerous mismanagement of the war in Iraq, while most "loyal" Republicans remained silent. Apparently they were either too ignorant or too cowardly to do their job.

To hear a draft-dodger-turned-uber-hawk like Rush Limbaugh sit behind his microphone and shriek about McCain's "disloyalty" to a political party, while McCain has proven his loyalty to his country, his fellow POWs, and to American service members in harm's way . . . is the ultimate irony.

Having said all that--I say screw Rush Limbaugh, and go McCain!

Posted by: mparnell65 | February 2, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

The thought of perhaps having a third or maybe even a fourth Bush like four years not only frightens me but also sickens me. I know that the slime the Republicans will throw in the coming election will be sudden and highly effective but, somehow, I continue to hope that the American voting public will have come of age by November, 2008. Regards, Carl W. Lundquist, JD, Colonel, Army of the United States (Retired) ...... Boston

Posted by: cwlund | February 2, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

How interesting a campaign for everyone. Looks like Ebay is in the fray featuring McCain Political Chronicles. Maybe McCain should purchase to be sure his tracks are covered. Or perhaps Romney should bid to be sure McCain is uncovered.

Posted by: auntilynn | February 2, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

To have Rush against you is a big plus for McCain. Rommey was not a conservative until he started running for President. I don't where the conservative base gets this idea that he is and neither is Huckbee. This is more media spin to the voters that haven't bothered to check their backgrounds. McCain might night be in lock step with the base but that is a good thing. If conservatives want to stay home and pout then so be it but don't whine and complain when you get a Hillary or Obama and they start putting liberal judges on the bench.

Posted by: sque1 | February 2, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

johnandsonia, this Massachusetts voter can tell you for certain that Romney is a disinterested (in all but himself) phony who would make a horrible president.

Posted by: bokonon13 | February 2, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

There are four candidates remaining, and only John McCain ensures that both the white house and congress won't be run by the Democrats. Every single head to head poll shows McCain ahead or statistically tied with Obama and Clinton, while Romney runs 10-15 points behind! Wake up people, Romney ran Hillarycare in Massachuseets and raised "fees" and denied that he raised taxes. Please, how can he now debate with the democrats? He can't argue against or change the past. He's a liberal in a brand new $5000 conservative suit, purchased with "Other People's Money"

Posted by: thecannula | February 2, 2008 8:07 AM | Report abuse

"Limbagh" -- the fat fellow with the pills? He looks like he eats too much. really needs to exercise and eat less!

Posted by: RamuR | February 2, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

John McCain is the only person in the race who can save this country from a cadre of defeatists bent on fleeing in the face of Islamist Terror because they think that this will somehow discourage both Islamism and Terrorism. This is exactly the kind of craven behavior that the enemy hopes to effect in our citizenry by their foul and barbaric tactics and to fail to confront it manfully and unwaveringly will only encourage our foe! I'm a liberal myself, but I support McCain because I know that a country that can't even unit against a foe as insidious, implacible and barbaric as that we now face will have NO chance of fixing the economy and health-care or fighting global warming!

Posted by: andrew23boyle | February 2, 2008 1:24 AM | Report abuse

A vote for McCain like no vote at all! First of all he can't beat Hillary or Obama and secondly he is already in retirement and doesn't even know what it means to work anymore.

He missed over half of his votes last year, making him "unrankable" among conservatives or liberals last year by the National Journal. He hasn't done as much campaigning in the whole of his 25 years of political history as has Obama, Hillary, or Romney has in the last year.

Wake up folks, chances are McCain is going to die before his term is up, even if he could beat the Dems, which he doesn't stand a chance (recall Dole 72 yrs old, Clinton 43). He's already lived longer than his father or grandfather. You can tell from the way he is running his campaign, and the way he is ALREADY senile that he's just wants to live it up before he "kick's the bucket".

Talk about fiscal responsibility: He was the #1 runner up with MILLIONS the beginning of last year and he BLEW it all hanging out with his Washington buddies (doing who knows what) while ditching class (representing his constituents by voting in the Senate) even BEFORE he had a chance to air an add or do anything responsible for his campaign. Even now with his saposed "frontrunner" status he is still not far from broke.

Hey, is this what our economy really needs right now? A senile, over-the-hill President who relies completely on lobbyists for financial and economic advice? Sure, if what we want is for China to permanently finish us off economically! If he can't manage the economics of his campaign how can he manage the economics of the country during a key time like now?

He has been in Washington for HOW MANY years with a posh position as an AZ senator with.... what?.... a total populatioin of maybee 6 million people and just a little over 2 million when he started a quarter of a century before.

McCain supporters: wake up and realize that a vote for McCain is a vote for either Obama or Hillary. At least Reagan (who was just 1 year younger than McCain would be as a President) could comb his own hair (and had hair)! McCain will be BBQ'd by the Dems come November. He is an honerable man who served his country weill. But before you vote for him go and find someone who is actually as old as he is and talk to them about important modern issues and then ask yourself if you REALLY want to impose ALL the preasures of the free modern world upon someone who was born the same year that the colt revolver was invented, who was 50 years old before the 1st generation of personal computers hit the market, into his 60's before the internet and to this day (in his own words) rely's completely on his wife or others for anything that has to do with computers. A vote for McCane is like choosing another Dole for the Republicans which is how we got Bill Clinton.

Huckabee supporters: at this point a vote for Mike is a vote for McCain. Take a look at the important issues and then think about why you are a Republican and what you want our country to be judged by. McCain will take the meaning of Bush "bunker mentality" to a whole new level that we may never recover from. If McCain could win the general (which he won't) it may take several Democratic presidents for the Republican party to recover. With a closer look at Romney you will see someone who has the same inner desire as Mike to really make a difference in Washington. These two really only have two major differences: religious and financial. I believe if Mike had Mitt's financial credentials he would definitely be the front-runner and if Mitt had Mike's religion he would definitely be the front runner. The important thing is what they have in common, which is pretty much everything else, including the core values that they share. Mike is a VERY likeable and supportable guy, but at this point in the election it it time to consider more important issues, like how your vote can make a difference in the final outcome.

Guliani suporters: take a close look at your man and his positions and qualifications. Then take a close look at McCain and his positions and qualifications. You will find that they are two totally different politicians; they just happen to be close friends. In an unbiased look at Romney you will discover that he also has the characteristics that drew you to Guliani such as real and effective executive and leadership skills, the ability to turn things around and find success amist challenging and imposing odds, and real communication skills that can cross racial, religious or partisan lines to get the job done.

Romney is definitely the safest choice out of all the cantidates. He didn't screw up his company or all the others he helped to become successful for the 25 years he was in the private sector. He didn't screw up the Olympics, and you might ask yourself why he was brought in in the first place. He didn't' screw up Massachusets in 4 years as Governor there, which would have been totally easy for a first term Republican Governor in a Democratically dominated state. Just opposite he was pivotal in turning all these negatives around and creating success stories. It is time for real change in Washington and voting in another Washington insider is NOT going to get the job done. Mitt deserves a chance. At least he is putting his money (not yours) where his mouth is. Vote for America: vote for Romney!

Posted by: johnandsonia | February 2, 2008 12:29 AM | Report abuse

John McCain should have left the Republican Party in 2000. He was slimed by Bush and the wacko religious sect in the party. I believe staying on in the Republican Party forever destroyed his chances for the White House.

He may be the nominee but who wants to vote for the Bush policy on the war in Iraq which he proposes , and a hundred years is a long time.

McCain while a great patriot, continues to live in the past and offer nothing for the future.

2008 is the year for the Democrats to take all three branches and turn American to the right path.

Posted by: COWENS99 | February 2, 2008 12:20 AM | Report abuse

McCain may be wooing the Conservatives, but the Far Right refuses to love him back. The latest sign is the re-surfacing of the story, apparently true, that after he and his family were slimed by Bush-Rove in the 2000 South Carolina primary, McCain flirted with the idea of leaving the Republican Party:

http://ajliebling.blogspot.com/2008/02/near-defection-of-john-mccain.html

Posted by: connectdots | February 1, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

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