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McCain Promises to Be a Uniter ... for the GOP


Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., talks with reporters on his campaign plane this month. (AP)

Updated 6:09 p.m.
By Glenn Kessler
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Sen. John McCain may be closing on the magic number of delegates to claim the GOP presidential nomination, but he's not taking anything for granted. Even before the polls closed in Wisconsin, he arrived here to kick off his campaign for Ohio's delegates.

McCain will spend much of the next three days in Ohio, though with a leisurely schedule that alternates campaign events with fundraising activities here and in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. Speaking to reporters after he flew to Ohio's capital this afternoon, McCain acknowledged that he still needed to energize a Republican electorate that was dismayed by GOP missteps in recent years.

"Our base was dispirited by the spending and corruption," McCain said, arguing that scandals largely explained the loss of GOP control in Congress. "We have a lot of work to do with our base. We have to unite it and we have to energize it. I am working as hard as I possibly can to unite and energize."

McCain once again also sought to explain what has become one of the Democrats' favorite attack lines -- that he said U.S. troops might need to stay in Iraq for as long as 100 years. He said that he was referring to what he called "an American presence" after Iraqis take over the military responsibilities from U.S. troops, much like the presence of thousands of U.S. troops in Germany, Japan and South Korea more than 60 years after the end of World War II.

McCain made much the same point when, during a January campaign event in New Hampshire, he said that having U.S. troops in Iraq for 100 years "would be fine with me."

"The surge is succeeding," he said today. "We can bring our troops home with honor. And we can bring them all home or we can have security arrangements much along the lines we have had with other countries."

His earlier comment on 100 years "was taken out context -- wildly," McCain said. "But I understand that. We are not playing beanbag here."

Asked about the big international news of the day -- Fidel Castro's resignation and the big defeat of the political party associated with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf -- McCain played it safe, saying U.S. policy did not need any changes toward either country.

McCain said Cuba must first take dramatic steps toward greater freedoms -- "free elections, political prisoners are free and human right organizations are functioning in Cuba" -- before the United States ends its diplomatic isolation. Otherwise, he said, a shift in U.S. policy could merely keep the old guard in power. "I worry that we would extend aid assistance that would prop up Raúl [Castro] or any of his friends and comrades who repressed the people of Cuba for too long," he said.

On Pakistan, McCain called Musharraf "a good ally" but said he had made "mistakes," particularly in firing Supreme Court justices. He suggested the election results were largely because of the "tragedy of Benazir Bhutto," rather than a reaction against Musharraf, and expressed the hope that the United States can work with the new government cooperatively. "We have to understand that Afghanistan is an enormous challenge right now and we need Pakistan to help us," he said.

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 19, 2008; 5:45 PM ET
 
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Next: From Bilingual Education to the War, Obama Plans Big

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Gas going to $4/gal soon thanks to Big Oil Idiot in Chief wasting trillions fighting illegal wars. Indict the War Criminal. Get that Moron out of there.

Posted by: mawt | February 20, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

So, was this article meant to be satire? You're kidding us right? A uniter, not a divider! Is that a joke?

Posted by: Arjuna9 | February 20, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, McLame, we already have the Uniter and the Decider and the Born Again, Faith Based, Pro Life Lying War Criminal Mass Murderer Serial Killer in Chief and the VP of Torture. You are too late, Warmonger.

Anyone who supports the Born Again, Faith Based, Pro Life Lying War Criminal Mass Murderer Serial Killer in Chief and the VP of Torture should never be in the WH. Anyone who supports wasting a couple of trillion dollars of taxpayers funds in Illegal Invasions of Sovereign States should never be our leader. If one had any courage, one would call for the Axis of Evil to be indicted for War Crimes. People who support Mission Accomplished is equally Guilty in the thousands of Murders. The Decider and his Murderous Gang need to face Justice at the International Criminal Court. There is no Statue of Limitations on War Crimes.

Only a Coward would send others to do his dirty work. Why have these Born Again Killers not made any sacrifices with their huge public salaries to finance their Illegal Invasions.

WHAT WOULD JESUS KILL?

The Anti-Science Guns Owned Party of the National Right to Annihilate are all Cowards with Guns. They can only Kill Defenseless Creatures. They have Zero courage without their Guns.

All of these Religious Extremist Psycho Cons are Frauds. Only Deluded Ignorant Idiots would believe any of them and their Delusional Religious Fairy Tales.

Before any Coward Cons claim torturing people is okay, (1) it is illegal and immoral, and (2) have it done to you and your family before be so quick to approve. You have given the green light to the other Religious Extremists to do the same and worse to every American they capture in the future. Why hasn't the Big Oil Decider and the sharpshooting VP of Torture Cowards undergone waterboarding on National TV to demonstrate to the country that this is a fine way to treat people?

INDICT the Born Again, Faith Based, Pro Life Lying War Criminal Mass Murderer Coward Serial Killer in Chief and the VP of Torture and their Gang of Born Again Hypocrite Coward Killers!

http://www.un.org/law/icc/statute/99_corr/cstatute.htm
War Crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuTqgqhxVMc
Ann Coulter will campaign for Hillary if McCain is nominated.

OLD McLame is done, he is too old and way too boring to go anywhere but to a senior home.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HuTqgqhxVMc
Ann Coulter will campaign for Hillary if McCain is nominated.

McCain, the candidate who is trying to become the oldest person ever elected to a first presidential term and who almost promises a war with Iran ("There is only one thing worse than military action, and that is a nuclear-armed Iran").

Posted by: mawt | February 20, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Same exact words Bush used, you would think he would use something new.

Posted by: southernrican | February 20, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Let's hope McCain works overtime "uniting" his base. By doing so he will completely alienate the Left and Center. And he'll lose the election.

Posted by: jp1954 | February 20, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

To cralm | February 20, 2008 09:26 AM: You may be correct about Powell's financial donation, but that's not what he reportedly said in the New York Times Jeff Zeleny Feb 12 report:"While each of the three candidates, (McCain, Obama and Clinton) would almost certainly welcome Mr. Powell's endorsement, he told Mr. Blitzer that it was not forthcoming. Instead, he said, he was absorbing the 'historic moment.'Mr. Powell, a Republican who has served in two Bush administrations, is letting it be known that he is sizing up the entire field of White House candidates -- Democrats included.'
'''Every American has an obligation right now at this moment in our history,' Mr. Powell told Wolf Blitzer of CNN on Sunday, 'to look at all the candidates and to make a judgment not simply on the basis of ideology or simply on the basis of political affiliation, but on the basis of who is the best person for all of America.' Frankly, we've lost a lot in recent years,' Mr. Powell told Mr. Blitzer. 'I'm going to be looking for the candidate that seems to me to be leading a party that is fully in sync with the candidate and a party that will also reflect America's goodness and America's vision.'''
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/11/the-powell-factor/
I rest my case!

Posted by: thedefendant | February 20, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

With McCain being about as exciting as watching the paint dry on a wall, I'm sure he'll have the ability and charisma to get the people inspired to unite. In reality, all McCain will do if he becomes president is continue the Bush doctrines. He will not unite anyone.

Posted by: BigB1 | February 20, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Is this deja vu all over again? Fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again. I don't know if it was Roger Daltrey that said that or the Chimpanzee in Chief that infests the White House. McCain wants to unite the ChristoFascists and right wing nut jobs? What about the 70% of Americans that are sick and tired of these idiot fascists and their failed policies? McCain? No thanks.

Posted by: VeloStrummer | February 20, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

A uniter, not a divider.

Let's see ... Where have we heard that before?

Posted by: jlelijah | February 20, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Sadly, John "Wayne" McCain is the REAL War President, and heaven help us ALL if this old dog somehow manages to steal the election and occupy the oval office. He will attack Iran! He is very weak on economics and admidts it! Strange for a politican to admidt they don't know everything about all things! His ideas are very stale and out of touch with the current crisis in the world! A new leader like Obama without all the baggage is what America needs at this dangerous time in our history of a once great nation. The current regime with their misfits and fools have set America back 25 years!

Posted by: bill | February 20, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

ceflynline: Big ups for the reference to The Last Emperor, one of my favorite movies. I _did_ feel sorry for Pu Yi, but your likening him to McCain is more dead on that I wish were true.

Posted by: gbooksdc | February 20, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

To thedefendent: Colin Powell has thus far contributed to one campaign: John McCain's.

Posted by: cralm | February 20, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I am not to sure what Republicans are thinking with McCain. He has an uphill battle and then some (unless they know something they are not telling us?):

Obama vs. McCain- The Internet Indicators:

http://newsusa.myfeedportal.com/viewarticle.php?articleid=48

Posted by: davidmwe | February 20, 2008 7:07 AM | Report abuse

Just like pouring gasoline on a fire, More Wars and Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran and whatever other hateful thing he has to do to secure the wingnut vote is not going to unite anyone.

Posted by: SarahBB | February 20, 2008 6:53 AM | Report abuse

Republican deja vu: "I'll be a uniter, not a divider."

Yea, fool me once . . .

Posted by: gasmonkey | February 20, 2008 6:50 AM | Report abuse

Let's get those US troops out of Germany, Japan, and Korea too! Since the day I saw John McCain locked in a pathetic-looking bear hug with George W. Bush at a campaign event in 2004, I would never dream again of voting for him, and I darned sure won't this year. And I'm sick of being told he should be elected president now based on what he did in Vietnam 35+ years ago. What's he done for us common folk lately, except complain about (and only sometimes) but then eventually go along with everything Bill Frist, Tom DeLay, Dick Cheney, and Bush 43 wanted to happen? Answer: nothing. He says he's called "sheriff" by other Republicans who want to spend more. Some sorry excuse for a sheriff: our national debt has gone from 5 1/2 trillion to $9 trillion in the last seven years, and big-talking "fiscal conservative McCain seems to have absolutely failed in any attempt he made to halt the process." Vote for change, vote for Obama, try to overturn the failed system that has grown up in Washington.

Posted by: PrussianBlue1 | February 20, 2008 6:19 AM | Report abuse

"McCain Promises to be a Uniter...for the GOP"

However, the rest us--according to the contemptuous, arrogant McCain--can go blow.

Been there, done that.

Posted by: nicekid | February 20, 2008 6:16 AM | Report abuse

Here's betting that McCain will be tempted to let others play the race card for him if he faces Senator Obama, and that he will get the Bush family to attempt to pressure Colin Powell not to come out publicly in support of Senator Obama. Powell may well recall one of his favorite sayings and tell the Bush family: "Fool me once, shame on you;fool me twice, shame on me." He could redeem his public humiliation by George W. Bush, Jr., when he was deceived into giving his United Nations case for the Iraq War, and return to his Democratic roots. His support for Senator Obama would pull the rug out from under John McCain, unmasking his national security program as the same flawed Bush program that has done nothing but tie us down in a needless military quagmire, with no end in sight. McCain was right the first time: McCain's continuation of Bush's policy in Iraq would require a hundred year military occupation of Iraq, perhaps a two, three hundred or indefinite years of occupation, given the long memories of the Iraqis and a culture that enshrines martyrdom, vengeance, resistance to foreign domination, and Wars of Vengeance designed only to inflict losses on an enemy through suicidal tactics, rather than tactics aimed to defeat the enemy. Our hasty departure from Iraq may be the last thing the next generations of Iraqi guerrillas wish for our occupation forces. And that is why a military solution, surge or no, is not a policy that can end the conflict.

Posted by: thedefendant | February 20, 2008 2:41 AM | Report abuse

McCain is headed towards a pathetic denoument of what was otherwise an admirable career in the Senate: despised and reviled by everyone (except Joe Lieberman and some Blue State Republicans, half of whom will vote for Obama).

Posted by: mnjam | February 20, 2008 2:19 AM | Report abuse

Everyone has their opinion and no one can really see into the future with absolute certainty but I will venture this:I think that the world has changed so much,in such a short period of time,so quickly that the American strategic position,economically and politically is in a serious state of decline.I don't believe that any of the Presidential Administrations being offered as choice to the People,will be able to reverse the decline.I don't think that it will matter much who is elected as the next President.

Posted by: Ricardo1 | February 20, 2008 1:40 AM | Report abuse

Smart money says he can't pull it off.

Posted by: slim2 | February 19, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

Remember, if you can, the movie "The Last Emperor" and the scene in which Henry Pu Yi was forced to write his name and then deface it. Fondly go ever that scene in your memory. Then remember Pu Yi's eventual confession to the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.

Do the True Blue Conservatives (which should be true red conservatives, but either color has such delicious connotations when used on Conservatives) remember, when they come up with yet another way to get John McCain to debase himself in order to get their endorsement? Is there a Party Elder out there even now thinking about making McCain write his name in chalk oh the side walk so others can tread upon it?

Torture? Well, OK, since they insist. Tax Cuts? Well, OK, since they insist. Waste money on good Repubican money wasters, while blaming the Democrats for deficits? I can do that. Worship at the altar of Bush's Military acumen? That's OK with me. Turn my back on the Constitution? Hey, what has the Constitution ever done for me?

John sold his soul to the devil when he stood by George and defended Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

John wants the Presidency with a fervor that Pu Yi never had for the Mandate of Heaven.

Henry I can almost feel sorry for.

Posted by: ceflynline | February 19, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm a conservative, and I'm afraid that McCain will never be able to unite me. He turned his back on us for 8 years, and now he needs us. He needs a better platform than to stroke us for a coronation, or talk about war. I'm voting for Huckabee, he mirrors my convictions on pro-life,guns and immigration and he has more experience in the "trenches" of government. He ran a successful state and was re-elected 4 times.

Posted by: JBfromFL | February 19, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Surprise, a candidate who is only interested in representing their party's minority causes.

I'm glad to know I'm not the only person out there who's voting to change this system.

Posted by: thecrisis | February 19, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

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