McCain Clinches It
By Peter Slevin
DALLAS -- The cheer went up at 8:05 p.m. Lone Star time, when CNN called Texas -- and the Republican nomination -- for Sen. John McCain. Eight years after he lost a presidential race, and eight months after his campaign was given up for dead, he earned a trip to the finals.
The happy crowd in the Fairmont Hotel ballroom here waited for hundreds of red, white and blue balloons to drop. But even before he addressed his fans, the Arizona senator spent the day aiming the campaign forward, to a contest against Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) or Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.)
"Either candidate, either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama, we will have stark differences," McCain told reporters at a campaign rally Tuesday morning in San Antonio.
"They are liberal Democrats. I am a conservative Republican," McCain said. "Whether we want the government to take more of your money or whether families will spend that money ... Whether we will declare surrender in Iraq, set a date for withdrawal, or we will continue the surge that has succeeded."
Behind both Democrats in money and organization, McCain is setting out to stitch together a divided party -- and raise enough cash to compete. One stop Wednesday will be the White House, to collect President Bush's endorsement. Another will be a fundraiser scheduled in Palm Beach County, Fla.
A top McCain strategist said the campaign will start coordinating "right away" with the Republican National Committee and the state parties, which are important to voter outreach and communications.
"We have a lot of work to do to unite our party and to energize it," McCain said. "And we have a lot of work to do in fundraising. We have seen a significant increase. We have a long way to go."
Web Politics Editor
March 4, 2008; 9:52 PM ET
Categories: Barack Obama , Hillary Rodham Clinton , John McCain , Primaries , The GOP
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