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McCain Pleased With 'Breadth' of Win


McCain, preparing to depart Arizona for Washington, is pleased with his ballooning lead. (Reuters).

By Juliet Eilperin
PHOENIX -- Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said this morning that he would skip a planned trip to Europe this weekend and would instead continue campaigning across the country in an effort to lock up the nomination.

"Hopefully we can wrap this thing up, unite the party and be able to take on the Democratic nominee in November," McCain told reporters in an airport hangar, as he prepared to depart for Washington. "I think we've got to wrap this thing up as quickly as possible."

The senator took pains to point out that he had won in closed GOP primaries as well as ones that allowed independents to vote. "We're very pleased at both the depth and the breadth of our victory last night," he said, noting he scored a strong win in California as well as in contests in the Northeast.

McCain, who plans to address the Conservative Political Action Conference tomorrow, said he will convey to the right wing of his party, "We share common values, we share common conservative principles." But he added he recognized that some conservative Republicans have yet to accept this message. "Do we have a lot of work to do to unite the entire party? Sure."

Rather than contacting his conservative critics directly, McCain said, he would make his case through forums such as the CPAC meeting. "I think they've made their case against me," he said, adding, "I'm hoping we can now join together for the good of the party, and for the conservative cause."

The campaign will turn its immediate focus to Kansas and Washington state, both of which have contests within a matter of days. "I know we have our work cut out in both those caucuses," the senator said.

McCain indicated he did not expect the nomination fight to end quickly: When asked whether he thought former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney should drop out of the race, McCain replied, "Oh no, I think that's a decision he and his family and his advisers have to make."

By Washington Post editors  |  February 6, 2008; 11:59 AM ET
 
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Comments

Neither Romney or Huckabee, or Ron Paul for that matter should drop out but Huckabee and Romney should consider suspending their campaigns--remaining on the ballot but not spending or campaigning.

It is a long time between now and the GOP Convention and McCain is a flawed candidate. If McCain goes loopy (not beyond the realm of possibility) or starts polling poorly between now and then; some of his delegates could change their minds and someone could be there to pick the pieces.

Sounds farfetched but no more farfetched than those "brokered convention" scenarios that pundits were pushing awhile back.

Posted by: danielhancock | February 6, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't see how McCain keeps the coalition together in the general, but I'm not sure that Romney can either. Many southern evangelicals wouldn't vote for a mormon regardless of his past record.

Posted by: anjos | February 6, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

gecordero:

Actually, here's Romney's plan for the economy (if you really were asking an honest question).

http://www.mittromney.com/Issues/global-economic-competition

http://www.mittromney.com/Issues/curbing-federal-spending

http://www.mittromney.com/Issues/healthcare

Posted by: JakeD | February 6, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Boy, if McCain is not an imminent threat, why are so many asking for him to remove himself. Plastic Romney who needs to post his own millions to run does not have much to show for it but desperate conservatives trying to win a lost battle. Look what happened these last 7 yrs with what we thought was a good choice. We are left in shambles with a war that has left us in the biggest deficit in history as well as no victory, an economy that is headed to a recession, and immigration with no thought of a solution. What is Romney going to try to run the US as a business in hopes of bringing down the deficit? He can't seem to do anything else. He is so plastic, wishy washy, flopping idiot. Vote conscience -- forget the Limbaugh and Hannity - they were wrong the last time. Vote McCain.

Posted by: gecordero | February 6, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

McCain is the one who should drop out: Santorum, Reid and Cochran all agree:

"The thought of him [McCain] being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper, and he worries me."

Bottom line, however, I think that's a decision he and his family and his advisers have to make.

Posted by: JakeD | February 6, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

48% was enough to win it.

Posted by: avagabond | February 6, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

McCain is a "better" candidate but can only win 48% of the vote in his OWN HOME STATE?!

Posted by: JakeD | February 6, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't base it on that. Romney should accept his losses and go back to a campaign 101 class. Losing the way he is now is a good sign that either Clinton or Obama would clean his clock in November. Let Walter Mondale keep the record for Electoral College futility. Romney needs to learn how to campaign on the national stage. Huckabee and McCain are better candidates than he is.

Posted by: avagabond | February 6, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Just based on McCain's age / health, I would not drop out if I were in second place either.

Posted by: JakeD | February 6, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

JakeD,

So Romney has spent twice what McCain has spent, but has less than half the delegates? He has spent 12 times what Huckabee has spent and is only ahead by 100 delegates? And these numbers are likely to be skewed even further (if Politico.com is reporting accurately) when CA awards its delegates.

Romney is running with a whole slew of institutional advantages (money, ground organization, talk radio backing) and can't pull it off in the races where he actually has competition. He needs to drop out. He isn't selling his brand. He isn't earning the votes. Evangelicals, veterans, moderates and independents are rejecting him. It should be a no brainer.

Posted by: avagabond | February 6, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

If that's too much effort, here are the relevant comments from that thread:

"CNN's latest delegate count shows Romney at 265. At $1.16 million each, that means Romney has spent $304 million?! I thought it was more like $35 million so far -- maybe you meant $116,000 per delegate -- someone's math is off."

Posted by: JakeD | February 6, 2008 11:17 AM

"Sorry, but it seems as if the $35 million figure I had in my memory was what Romney has spent from his own PERSONAL fortune -- a more precise, total campaign amount I found at OpenSecrets.org was $86,068,239 -- divided by 268 (CNN just updated its estimated delegate count) equals $321,150.15 per delegate. That is still a far cry from $1.16 million per delegate, and it will continue to go down as the final delegate count from yesterday is determined (although campaign costs are still going up obviously).

My initial point, above, was that the math was off in the first place. Even using the correct amount, I also have a problem extrapolating that "rate" to from this point forward. There's no evidence that the rest of the delegates would cost Romney the same."

Posted by: JakeD | February 6, 2008 12:46 PM

"Ron Paul spent $20,262,084 for 16 total delegates. That's $1,266,380 per delegate thus far. Rudy spent $50 million for ONE delegate in Nevada I think."

Posted by: JakeD | February 6, 2008 12:57 PM

"FWIW: opensecrets.org lists Rudy as spending $60,929,240.

http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/index.asp?cycle=2008 "

Posted by: JakeD | February 6, 2008 01:52 PM

"Sorry, that was total raised. Rudy spent $48,152,428 as of December 31, 2007: http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/summary.asp?id=N00009908&cycle=2008 "

Posted by: JakeD | February 6, 2008 01:54 PM

Posted by: JakeD | February 6, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Jake,

Ok, I stand corrected - he's spent $100K per delegate. How does that rack up to Huckabee and McCain?

I will say again. Romney needs to drop out. He is not running a competent campaign. He has lost almost every race that has been contested by either McCain or Huckabee. It's easy to score when you are the only one on the field. But when the other team shows up, you need to be ready to play. Romney is failing in the face to face matches. If he can't beat McCain or Huckabee despite his deep pockets, rabib talk radio support, and the institutional stregnth available to him throughout this campaign, then he is out of his league. The results (last night and earlier) have spoken for themselves.

Posted by: avagabond | February 6, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Please refer to the comments section where said "cost per delegate" is thoroughly debunked: http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/02/06/romneys_expenses_per_delegate.html

Posted by: JakeD | February 6, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Jake,

Please refer to the following on delegate cost from this morning's Trail article by Jonathon Weisman.

"Republican campaign operatives call it the Gramm-o-meter, the money a candidate spends per delegate won, in honor of Phil Gramm, the former Texas senator who spent $25 million and won just 10 delegates, or $2.5 million per, in 1996.

By Republican strategist Alex Vogel's calculation, Mitt Romney is giving Gramm a run for his money. The former Massachusetts governor has spent $1.16 million per delegate, a rate that would cost him $1.33 billion to win the nomination.

By contrast, Mike Huckabee's campaign has been the height of efficiency. Delegates haven't yet been officially apportioned, but roughly speaking, each $1 million spent by Huckabee has won him 20 delegates."

Even Mitt doesn't have $1.33 billion. 2 may come before 3, but Mitt is spending like a drunken sailor and has essentially nothing to show for it. He is 350 votes behind McCain and only 100 votes ahead of Huckabee. Given that Huckabee is running a bargain basement campaign, the gap should be a lot bigger.

I say again. Romney needs to drop out. He is not running a competent campaign. The results speak for themselves.

Posted by: avagabond | February 6, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

avagabond:

Romney's "per delegate" cost is NOT over $1 million per delegate -- see thread below -- and I already made my argument above by pointing out that Huckabee is in third place in the delegate count. You know, DELEGATES who choose the next nominee? 2 comes before 3 (it's not fuzzy math ; )

P.S. does anyone else know anything good/bad about Pawlenty?

Posted by: JakeD | February 6, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I think voters are finally comming to see the real McCain. Not the "hero" we keep hearing about, but the unscrupulous Washington insider who now way in hell is going to make any meaningful changes in Wasington.

I also think voters will now recognize that a vote for Huckabee is definitely a vote for McCain and that the two of them are are working together, no matter what they say.

Posted by: johnandsonia | February 6, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

JakeD,

RE Huckbee needing to drop out, go ahead and state your case. Its ok to whine - Mitt flipped on that issue too.

Mitt has come in second or third in nearly every race where he has had competition. The only competitive race he won before yesterday was Michigan - home field for him. Yesterday, he won Colorado, Minnesota, Alaska, Montana, and North Dakota, all caucuses where party king makers make the choice. Of the 15 primaries, where real people make the choice, he only won in Massachustts. Every state where he had competition, he lost.

His per delegate cost is now over $1 million per delegate. Sorry, if business is his area of expertise, I'd like someone who can get more return on investment.

Bottom line, he won't win. The Bible Belt rejected him last night. Verterans rejected him. Moderates and independents rejected him. Romney is the one who needs to drop out - he's a natural third tier candidate who is trying to buy his way into contention. Not that I have a problem if he wants to redistribute his wealth, but come on.

Posted by: avagabond | February 6, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

If anyone should DROP OUT, it's Huckabee who is in third place in the delegate count.

Posted by: JakeD | February 6, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

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