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McCain Has Plan to Help House Republicans

Two senior aides to Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign met this afternoon with the House Republican Whip team, telling the assembled members that McCain is committed to helping the party win House seats in November.

Today's meeting in the Capitol basement -- which was attended by more than 20 GOP lawmakers, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis and John Green, McCain's chief Hill liaison -- follows a similar gathering with Republican chiefs of staff Friday and with a handful of conservative members Monday, and is part of a coordinated effort by McCain to boost his outreach to Capitol Hill.

A source who attended the meeting said that Davis pledged to help House Republicans pick up seats by campaigning for House members in parts of the country where the national committees will not be as active. Davis reportedly said that the nomination of Barack Obama would put one set of House seats in play, while the nomination of Hillary Rodham Clinton would make a separate set of House seats competitive. The McCain team, therefore, is working on two different congressional campaign strategies -- one based on a Clinton win, one based on an Obama win. Davis also argued that the continuing bitter Democratic primary fight has given the McCain campaign a chance to focus on fundraising and on building field organizations throughout the country that could pay dividends for congressional candidates down the line.

Following on McCain's economic speech in Pittsburgh this morning, Davis said the campaign would continue to hammer at the theme of high gas prices in the coming weeks, a strategy that dovetails with the Hill GOP's own increased emphasis on the issue in recent days. The Republican lawmakers present asked questions on a variety of topics, including gas prices, the importance of McCain reaching out to women voters and whether his campaign can really compete in California.

By Ben Pershing  |  April 15, 2008; 6:19 PM ET
Categories:  2008 Campaign , GOP Leaders  
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