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McCain Win Cements GOP Frontrunner Status

Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) cinched a crucial victory in Florida's Republican presidential primary tonight, cementing his status as the GOP frontrunner heading into Super Tuesday.

McCain is now a strong favorite to be his party's nominee. He will likely receive a boost of momentum from the press coverage coming out of tonight's win -- wind in his campaign's sails given McCain already carried a lead in several of the largest states -- California and New York -- that will vote on Feb. 5.

In a speech to supporters in Orlando, Rudy Giuliani spoke about his candidacy in the past tense, and the Associated Press was reporting that he would end his campaign and endorse McCain on Wednesday in California.

We'll have more thoughts on tonight's proceedings a bit later. Stay tuned.

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By Chris Cillizza  |  January 29, 2008; 10:02 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Is Winning Florida a True Boost for Clinton?
Next: Florida: First Thoughts on McCain, Clinton Wins


Clinton got 51 % of the votes cast in her primary, that looks more like a victory.

The downside is that Obama stayed away, never campaigned and still came within 3% points of the number McCain is using for his victory celebration.

The primaries are not over and the voters have not yet spoken.

Posted by: pach12 | January 30, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

There is a surreal quality to McCain's win in the Florida Primary.

McCain is the "BIG WINNER" with 36% of the votes. That means that two out of three Florida Republicans had the wisdom and good sense to reject him and vote for someone else.

If you want another unpopular President, whose only strength is the brute force of the military and his ability to manipulate the institutions of government- McCain must look really good to you now.

Posted by: pach12 | January 30, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Democrats for McCain- remember, this is the guy who wants to keep sending kids to Iraq until we win.

Sort of like invading China to defeat North Vietnam.

McCain's election would put us in the position the Germans were in when they elected Hindenburg to save the Weimar Republik.

McCain's Presidency would serve only to legitimatize and consolidate a militarist, fascist government in this country.

McCain is a danger to the Republic.

Posted by: pach12 | January 30, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"McCain will reward Mike Huckabee with the veep job for taking vital support away from Romney in Florida and on Super Tuesday. Bank on it.

The scary thing about this ticket is McCain's age. What would happen if McCain were to die in office? ...President Huckabee???

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 30, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse


I, too, like John McCain -- as a man of integrity.

I, too, am an Independent.


Dems who lean toward McCain, listen:

John McCain wants to STAY in Iraq. For how long? "Decades", he says.

So, before you decide to vote against either Obama or HRC, please consider that. As distasteful as either Obama or Hillary may be to you, please remember that McCain will not pull us out of Iraq so that we can FIGHT THE REAL ENEMY, but rather, keep us there -- misguided, distracted and draining away our wealth and geo-political capital.

And never forget that our young people are needlessly being killed.

McCain has vowed to keep us in that quagmire.

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 30, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

as I started saying weeks ago... I could not understand why Rudy Guiliani and Fred Thompson were in this race.

First Fred, now Rudy. Buh-bye...

Thank GOD.

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 30, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

The biggest drawback to a McCain/Pawlenty ticket is... [drumroll] ... Lt Gov Carol Molnau. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't stick us with her as Governor. Really, I'm begging here.

Posted by: bsimon | January 30, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

McCain will reward Mike Huckabee with the veep job for taking vital support away from Romney in Florida and on Super Tuesday. Bank on it.

Posted by: optimyst | January 30, 2008 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Yep, definitely MCain/Pawlenty ticket.
Billary looks to win the nomination with the Hispanic vote BUT will lose against McCain in the general. AND her loss will destroy her and Bill's reputation in dividing the democratic party and losing the WH, which should have gone to Barack. Good news is Barack will be back in 2012 to win it back with full democratic support.

Unless Barack somehow wins the nomination...then it's a landslide for Barack.

Posted by: wpost4112 | January 30, 2008 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Yes! McCain won tonight, and that thrills me! It was a tough battle, but with the Florida GOP establishment in his corner, he pulled it out. John McCain finally won a closed GOP race in a Republican state as not the underdog, but the front-runner. For McCain, hopefully this is a sign of things to come!

With all the speculation of who McCain may pick, if he wins the GOP nomination, I haven't heard anyone else say it so I have to think different that the lot of you. I think if McCain wins the nomination, he chooses Minn. gov. Tim Pawlenty as a VP choice. Pawlenty is a strong fiscal conservative who is popular in a "purple state" of Minn. He is currently serving his 2nd term as gov., winning the tough D year of 2006, and has a balanced budget & high popularity ratings. Pawlenty has backed McCain & been a chief fundraiser for him, through thick & thin. Even at McCain's lowest points, Pawlenty was one of his chief allies. Also, Lyndsey Graham has been a chief ally of McCain. Now though, expect McCain's senate ally's to step forward and play a role in his campaign: John Warner in Va., Collins in Maine, Lieberman in Conn. & other states where moderates will vote, Tom Coburn of Okla. & more will likely take active roles in McCain's run in their own states just as Graham (SC) & Marteniz (Fl) did to help him win their respective states. But if McCain wins, I think Pawlenty gets the VP nod. Guiliani gets the nomination for Homeland Security Director & Huckabee the Health & Human Services Director.

Wow, now the Republican race has more of a front-runner than the D race! Clinton vs. Obama is getting really nasty & is really close. With both candidates having campaign coffers full, they will spend & pull out all the stops to gain an advantage on Feb. 5. I have to say I think Clinton is in a bit better shape right now, with the calculation that they turn it white vs. black, sacrifice SC & turn it on come Feb. 5. Will that strategy work? Obama gave a great victory speech in SC against it, speaking as a uniter of race, religion & creed. The Clinton's will likely keep harping on their strategy. We shall see who comes out ahead.

Posted by: bryant_flier2006 | January 30, 2008 12:18 AM | Report abuse

I didn't get the impression that Rudy was too disappointed. It makes me wonder if another alternative has been offered. It is hard to put your best foot forward when personal issues are taking center stage. Timing is everything. McCain just needs to stick to the facts and not get bogged down on one issue. When Ronald Reagan won he was light hearted and then leveled a zinger followed by some meaty information that allowed voters to see a glimpse of what sort of leader he would be. I can still see Carter glaring at him because Ronnie, for an old guy, was still quick in the mind and I think was comfortable debating.

Posted by: jkachmar | January 29, 2008 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Ron Paul naysayers beware: he has the money and actual grassroots support to stay in the the race long enough for the media to be forced to stop ignoring him. once that happens his ideas are going to resonate with allot more voters than you probably think. Rudy Guiliani of all people admitted that Paul had won the debates so far, and in the upcoming debates I expect Paul to decimate his opponents and their positions with REASON rather than rhetoric. with the race soon being down to only Paul, Romney, and McCain, it is clear that we might get an honest president for once - one that has a long voting record consistent with his platform.

Posted by: xeno671 | January 29, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, there's really not much difference between McCain and Clinton, anyway. They're both wedded to the same special interests, war lobbies, illegal immigration, and the like.

It is looking to be a good year for the 3rd Party candidates.

Posted by: smharmon1 | January 29, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Although I have supported Democrats since I handed out Humphrey fliers in 68 when i was 11, I actually look forward to 4 years of McCain/Huckabee, assuming as I do that Hillary will win the nomination and lose the general.

This will give Barack 4 more years to gain some experience and he will return to win the general against Jebb or Huck in 2012.

So, congrats to McCain. We love your maverick stance and will happily vote for you rather than Billary.

Democrats for McCain!

Posted by: wpost4112 | January 29, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

femalenick writes
"If Obama wins the DNC nomination, McCain will have my vote. If, on the other hand, HRC wins the nomination"

Funny, I'm the opposite. But then I'm an independent, not a Dem.

Posted by: bsimon | January 29, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

I am another Democrat who was rooting for McCain all the way tonight. I'm thrilled he won! If Obama wins the DNC nomination, McCain will have my vote. If, on the other hand, HRC wins the nomination -- then well, you Fix regulars know which way I'll go.

Like John from CA, I also believe the U.S. will be fine with either HRC or John McCain leading.

Posted by: femalenick | January 29, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

fail to see how catching up to Romney in number of states won and taking a slim delegate lead "cements" anything for anyone.

Posted by: actanew | January 29, 2008 10:33 PM

You are delusional. McCain beat Romney in a head to head battle in a closed primary in a large state where he was outspent by a huge margin. Mitt cannot seal the deal in a large state. He won a few caucuses in states with large Mormon populations and one primary in the state he was born in. McCain was already ahead in the major February 5 states and the momentum from Florida will propel him to decisive victories on February 5. Giuliani is dropping out to endorse him and so will Huckabee when he ends his campaign. None of the other Republican candidates can stand Romney.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 29, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of gloating, where's Zouk?

Posted by: bsimon | January 29, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

It's really crazy to see Giuliani bowing out. I never would have expected he'd go before Romney or Huckabee. Weird.

Obama/Richardson '08

Posted by: thecrisis | January 29, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Chris writes
"In a speech to supporters in Orlando, Rudy Giuliani spoke about his candidacy in the past tense"

It would seem that bsimon has won himself a coveted Fix T-shirt. Everything is done but the gloating.

Posted by: bsimon | January 29, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Bye-bye, Rudy....Back to the money & women!!

Posted by: cel1ery | January 29, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Gov Crist is the big winner....He wisely waited until the last minute to make his endorsement, after checking Florida internal polling data to avoid egg on his face.

The property tax amendment is winning with 64% of the vote...Charlie is a double winner tonight.

Also, it looks like Early & Absentee voting was 25% of the total statewide vote.

Posted by: Digital_Voter | January 29, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

actanew, part of the point is that Romney, despite all of his $, can't seem to make the sale except in his home states (MI, NV, and MA). McCain's lead in all the other 2/5 states is even bigger already, and voters will probably figure that McCain is the frontrunner now. Where else is Romney going to win on 2/5?

Posted by: freedom41 | January 29, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Good one proudtobeGOP - McCain as the Phoenix.

I am personally a democrat, but like McCain a lot. The guy deserves to win.

I would probably support Obama in the general election, but it looks like a majority of voters on super tuesday are going toward Clinton. I think Obama's best hope is that Democrats wise up after tonight and realize that 1) they will be running against McCain and 2) Clintons will lose to McCain. The good news is that it looks like smart Dems already know this, and the establishment in the party is supporting him since they know Billary will lose.

Mac is Back!

Posted by: freedom41 | January 29, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

I fail to see how catching up to Romney in number of states won and taking a slim delegate lead "cements" anything for anyone.

Posted by: actanew | January 29, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

As a Democrat from California, I am very pleased to see John McCain win in Florida. It looks like he will be the Republican nominee now.

If Hillary Clinton looses the election on November 4, I expect that John McCain would rule much like Arnold Schwarzenegger has here in California. I did not vote for Schwarzenegger, but he has been a decent governor here. Similar to Schwarzenegger, McCain would be very independent and not beholden to the establishment Republican Party. McCain is an honorable man and would do what is right for America, not just for the Republican Party. Some of this would involve some very un-Republican actions such as seeking to reduce global warming, immigration reform, campaign finance reform and other politically popular and moderate actions. He would act for America, not the Republican Party.

I will certainly vote for Hillary Clinton since she will bring about economic changes that I believe the country needs such as not making the tax cuts for the wealthy permanent. Her knowledge, experience and ideas win her for my strong support.

But with either John McCain and Hillary Clinton as our next president, America and the world will be far better off than we have been with the catastrophic George W. Bush presidency. Things are looking up tonight with the winners of the Florida primaries.

Posted by: john | January 29, 2008 10:31 PM | Report abuse

Let me just say, WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

Oh yeah! Victory in the Sunshine State! Sunshine shining on the best candidate in the field.... The Phoenix.

*&%%$*%^^^victory dance%^**&$##@!!

Cheers to all my fellow McCain supporters out go forth and DONATE!!!

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | January 29, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

A very interesting outcome.

As one who would not have voted for a Republican candidate anyway, can I say that this is probalby the GOP's best chance.

Giuliani must surely now drop out: he is toast - and anyway on almost every issue he more naturally fitted a Democratic ticket!

Romney has shown that even his personal fortune will not secure him the nomination.

Huckabee is now my pick for VP running mate with McCain.

And hopefully the Ron Paul disciples will now realise that all their bluff and noise on the internet will never amount to a hill of beans unless they translate it into actual votes: something the rest of us have known from day one.

Posted by: anthonyrimell | January 29, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

OMG, how is Senator Obama going to explain this

This is unbelievable. I am in tears

Posted by: msadvice | January 29, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Guiliani's done. Will Ron Paul's supporters finally admit that it wasn't media bias. Just the voters' bias.

Hey, I'm a Macintosh user. Being part of a select group (even if self-selected) hits close to home.


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 29, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

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