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Romney: McCain Still Outside the Conservative Mainstream

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By Michael D. Shear
ST. PAUL -- During the heat of the Republican primary battle, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney blasted his rival, Sen. John McCain, as "outside the mainstream of conservative Republican thought."

But today? Would Romney say that now?

Actually, yes.

In an interview this afternoon, the one-time McCain rival said he still stands by his assessment of how he and McCain stack up against each other in terms of their conservative credentials.

"I still think my views on those issues are more consistent with the mainstream of my party, but you know what? He won. And I didn't," Romney told editors and reporters at The Washington Post.

The comments came in a wide-ranging discussion in which Romney repeatedly blasted Barack Obama for failing to have enough experience to be president.

"On the Democratic side, you have a nominee who is of so little experience in foreign affairs, domestic affairs, of any affairs, that I wonder how it happened," he said.

At one point, Romney stumbled a bit. During a criticism of Obama's past statements on Pakistan, he said, "we're going to go in and bomb Pakistan if we find Barack Obama -- excuse me, excuse me -- Osama bin Laden."

But his assessment of McCain's conservative credentials were the most interesting part of the conversation, because they were so off-message.

"Those comments pointed out differences between he and I on issues. I continue to have those differences with John McCain on those issues," he said. "But during my campaign, and during the debates, I always said I respect John McCain. He's a national hero and a person who is without question qualified to be president of the United States."

He went on: "There were a number of positions that he took that were more liberal, in my opinion, than my positions. And there are probably some vice versa ... I disagree with him on his original vote on the Bush tax cuts. I disagreed with the final version of McCain-Kennedy. I disagreed with him on campaign finance reform. I still do."

It's amazing how free a short-lister is to talk when they're no longer on the short list.

By Web Politics Editor  |  September 4, 2008; 7:05 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , John McCain , Mitt Romney  
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I'm glad Romney was honest, but why didn't he say this while he was on the VP list? Yet another example of his opportunist character.

Posted by: Mrs. P | September 6, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: scrivener | September 5, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

I have not slept since the Republican convention began. I worry so much about my children and their futures. I would love for them to go to college and get great a great education. But the reality is that McCain/Palin do not care if my children go to college, they don't have those worries. I also want to know that if one day they become pregnant and choose not to bring a child in this world that they are not ready to raise, that they have the option to terminate. McCain/Palin want my children to not have that option. Then, if my child does have the baby and not be able to financially support it, Bush/Palin do not want to provide services to help them. Then my child is going to need insurance for her and her child. They don't care if my child and grandchild have insurance. McCain/Palin have health insurance paid by the government. These and other issues you guys may not realize. You know why? Because Bush, excuse me, McCain/Palin and company did not mention ANY of these issues the entire week. They used their t.v. time to bash the hope that Americans have gained from watching the Democratic convention. I realize that John McCain was a POW and cringe when I think of what he endured. But hearing about that for 1 week did not explain to me how I am going to be able to keep my home, buy groceries for my family and have just a tiny piece of the American dream. You don't have to like Obama/Biden. But when you are in a dark corner by yourself with no one watching, think a minute about what McCain/Palin represent and think about your children and grandchildren.

Posted by: Concerned Mother | September 5, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Poor Mitt Romney still bitter over the primary and not being selected as McCain's VP when all, I REPEAT, all the mainstream media organizations had him as their number one pick for McCain!

Romney is not fooling me. He knows that McCain is going to lose and setting himself up for 2012!

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | September 5, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

McCain is a centrist. If this is a news flash to you, you are not paying attention. Romney is trying to hold on to conservative principals.

Posted by: nate | September 5, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I find it interesting that Mcsame says will be a pro-life president while at the same time promising to go to war with everyone Russia included. does he know that war destroys lifes.

Posted by: Masolo - Kenya | September 5, 2008 3:23 AM | Report abuse

Life is not simple, political life is. Your children never will be in harms way at war, so talk is cheap. Most do not no what it is like to struggle.
Leaving it at that, the Republicans VP, soother in mouth, rifle ready is just a mouth piece. If you shot a deer you would know that the animal will look right at you knowing it's killer. A rifle is not a natural predator they are used to. and unless you are poor and can't afford to buy food what's the thrill. is it the cutting, the trophy, or the man made weapon of destruction. Any idiot can kill., these mavericks make me sick. If you want a female VP, go for a real naturalist. Lots of bull seems to excite you people and I question why. I prey her son does not come back dead or disabled for life, by fire power or the poisoned air he will be breathing because of all the bombs dropped in this illegal war. Yes illegal. Get past the soother people. She does not, nor will have the experience for years. Al the poor lady has is backing and scrips written by everyone involved in this 8 year mess. May your god bless you the people, not theirs. I still have faith the real American women equal to any man will see through this disgusting attempt to start yet another war. The surge did not work. You will never change those people and have no business there. Just a calm before the storm, and yes the Republicans can hide much from you till election day.

Posted by: justadad55+ | September 5, 2008 3:14 AM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney is a horrible candidate who could not sell himself to America even after spending millions of dollars. If McCain loses, Palin will be the new Republican star.

Posted by: Mitt Romney Sucks | September 4, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Mitt bought Michigan with a promise to tax the rest of us to support GM and the Unions. McCain said they'd have to compete.

McCain said at the Indian State Fair that taxpayer ethanol subsidise were a scam. Mitt said nothing.

Yeah, Mitt, Mr. Conservative.

No male Mitt Romney, has ever worn the uniform of the US. Not since before the Civil War. What patriots.

Thanks Mitt, today you are a conservative.

Posted by: Paul from Florida | September 4, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Count me as a contitutional conservative. That would put my positions to the right of even Mitt Romney... although he would have been my pick out of the candidates running for President. For vice President, he would have still been my pick.

Still, given the field of candidates running on both sides... it has been a major dissappointment. Barack Obama is the furthest thing from a Presidential pick that I can imagine. John Mc Cain would be far too liberal for my own good. What choice does one have but to vote for his ticket? It is not a choice that I am entirely comfortable about. No question he is a good man and trustworthy (as far as politicians go)... but that still doesn't make the mark with me.

Although I have been republican for my entire voting life, I have watched my own "party", as it were, abandon just about everything it ever stood for in terms of fiscal responsability. Immigration is another boondoggle that our congressional leadership has completely fouled up, intentionally. It has been a great cooperation between both parties... to sell it's country and citizens completely out. This country is in for some very difficult times, I am affraid. The winds of war are upon us, once more.

Posted by: CRETIAN | September 4, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

reply to: Hillary 1st then McCain and then Palin
Who cares? What are you trying to prove?

Posted by: BDG | September 4, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Most people will disagree heavily with the following comment, but here goes.

1). I can't imagine the pain that Sen. McCain went through the Vietnam conflict.

2). I am glad many in my generation fought against this unjust conflict. We know, like we know now about Iraq, that the conflict was unjust. In Vietnam it was suppose to stop communism running rampant which it did not after 70,000 had died.

So when we say Sen. McCain was a hero, I would say the word hero doesn't really fit. He fought in an unjust conflict (not declared a war) and he and others killed hundreds of thousands in the country of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia as well as many Americans (70,000).

We ended up that war escaping off the embassy roof and now they have McDonald hamburger stands, Starbucks, Kinkos and many other typical corporations in the country.

Hero! You decide.

Posted by: jerry rubin | September 4, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Mitt! Who let the dogs out?

Posted by: Mr. Bling Bling | September 4, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Mitt Romney has been consistant on McCain. He IS outside of mainstream conservatism. If fact, Romney's speech last night was probably a shot accross John McCain's bow to NOT take the party away from its conservative values. This election is a mess for the true conservative. We get either the rookie, tax and government guy, or the maverick-I am not really a republican, Ivoted against the Bush Tax Cuts because I hate him so much, I might pick a Pro-lifer,profane-John McCain. OH, I WISH THE EVANGELICAL BIGOTS WOULD HAVE GIVEN UP THEIR PHARISEE WAYS AND ALLOWED US TO HAVE MITT ROMNEY.

Posted by: Ron | September 4, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Romney will always sell himself to the highest bidder. He really does make a perfect Republican politician, though. Oh, and his mixing up Osama bin Laden and Barack Obama? He did that when he was running, it's not a "stumble." He does that on purpose. Yes, he really does think the American people are that stupid.

Posted by: Tom | September 4, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Mitt was just horrible yesterday. Why is it that these guys must out conservative one another? Mitt's views were at one time reasonable and normal... now he's simply nothing more than a politician... nothing.


That's too bad because he has excellent experience and credentials.

Posted by: Rick | September 4, 2008 7:40 PM | Report abuse

When Hillary Clinton was running for President, I voted for her because she was the best candidate. Now I am voting for McCain, and Palin with him, as McCain is the best candidate. It is really that simple.

Posted by: Hillary 1st then McCain and then Palin | September 4, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

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