GOP House Leaders Flock to McCain
By Jonathan Weisman
Republican presidential nominee-to-be John McCain received a far warmer welcome this morning from House Republicans than he had been led to expect -- he accepted the endorsements of the entire top House GOP leadership.
GOP leaders had said yesterday they intended to remain neutral, but after an extended closed-door session with the Arizona senator, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and House Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) all fell in line.
"John McCain is an American hero and will make an excellent president of the United States," Boehner said. "McCain has a solid conservative record as one of the most vocal opponents of wasteful spending, a staunch defender of America's national security, and a strong believer in the sanctity of human life. He is uniquely suited to lead our country forward as we take on the many opportunities and challenges of the years ahead."
McCain spent much of the session with House Republicans not only taking their praise but also reassuring them on one big issue, immigration. He repeatedly told them he had gotten the message and would back shoring up border controls and cracking down on employers of illegal immigrants before considering a new push to give an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the country a pathway to citizenship.
McCain also was encouraged to go after Illinois Sen. Barack Obama hard, and he did, denouncing what he called Obama's rhetorical "platitudes."
"Look at the record," he said, "not the platitudes but the principles."
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