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John McCain's Grueling Schedule

As 2008 draws ever closer, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is working to win over many of the establishment party fundraisers and operatives who worked to ensure his defeat in 2000. Post chief political reporter Dan Balz wrote about this courting effort in Sunday's paper -- pointing out that McCain is keeping a grueling travel schedule this year to accrue chits for his planned national bid.

John McCain
Sen. McCain is busy courting GOP insiders who backed Bush in 2000. (AP File Photo)

The Fix got a detailed look at McCain's schedule between now and mid-April and thought it would be worth sharing. A few interesting tidbits: McCain will make trips to the key early caucus and primary states of New Hampshire and Iowa within a week of each other in April. McCain is also making stops in a number of big fundraising markets (Los Angeles, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale). While these trips are ostensibly to raise cash for other candidates, they also afford McCain the opportunity to meet and greet potential donors for a 2008 race.

Here's the schedule:

* Feb. 23: Fundraiser for Florida Reps. (and brothers) Mario Diaz-Balart and Lincoln Diaz-Balart in Miami.

* Feb. 26: Fundraiser for New Jersey state Sen. Tom Kean Jr., the Republican nominee against Sen. Bob Menendez (D).

* March 10: McCain speaks at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis, the first major cattle call of the 2008 presidential race.

* March 17: McCain in Hartford for fundraiser to benefit Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell (R).

* March 20: Fundraiser for California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) in Los Angeles.

* March 21: Fundraiser in Seattle for Washington State Republican Party and former Safeco Insurance executive Mike McGavick (R), the Republican candidate against Sen. Maria Cantwell (D).

* April 7: McCain raises money for New Hampshire State Senate Republicans.

* April 8: Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.) and McCain participate in a town hall meeting in Portsmouth. Later that day, McCain flies to Florida to headline the Polk County Lincoln-Reagan Dinner.

* April 9: McCain keynotes the Broward County (Fla.) Lincoln-Reagan dinner.

* April 10: In Arkansas, McCain campaigns for former Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R), who is running for governor.

* April 11: Breakfast fundraiser in Cincinnati for Rep. Steve Chabot. McCain spends the rest of the day campaigning for Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, the frontrunner for the GOP nomination for governor.

* April 12: McCain in Minnesota with Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R).

* April 13: In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, McCain raises money for Rep. Jim Nussle (R) at a luncheon fundraiser. Nussle is running for the state's open gubernatorial seat in November.

McCain also got some good news over the weekend, finishing second in the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll. McCain took 20 percent, just behind Virginia Sen. George Allen's 22 percent. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani took 12 percent and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice received 10 percent. No other candidate rated in the double digits. In 2005, Giuliani won the CPAC straw poll with 19 percent while Rice received 18 percent. Allen, McCain and Sen. Bill Frist (Tenn.) received 11 percent each.

It's worth noting, however, that CPAC does not ask who the voters want to be president but rather who they thought would be president.

(See Dana Milbank's write-up of the CPAC gathering from Saturday's Post.)

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 13, 2006; 2:53 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008 , Republican Party  
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I like the blog.

Posted by: Tanny | August 23, 2006 1:38 PM | Report abuse

McCain is not the "3rd most conservative senator." His lifetime ACU rating is 83, and his 2004 rating was 72. His NTU grade was a B-. Not exactly top-10 material.

The thing everyone seems to miss about McCain is he has NO executive experience. He's been in Congress for 22 years, but no one knows how he'll do as an executive. Compare that to candidates like Giuliani and Allen who have executive experience, and Mitt Romney, who's had nothing but executive experience. That's the trio the GOP needs to pick from.

Posted by: FirstState | February 14, 2006 9:31 PM | Report abuse

The "guy running for Lt. gov in GA" is Ralph Reed and if you look on line, McCain is the 3rd Most Conservative senator.

Posted by: Al | February 14, 2006 6:51 PM | Report abuse

If McCain gets enough chits, he's formidable in 2008, in the primaries and nationally. If he puts a Lindsey Graham or a George Allen on the ticket, then all the better. If he puts Condi Rice on the ticket...landslide. She's done good as secretary of state, is perceived as a political moderate, and would make history twice as both the first african american and first woman elected to the second highest office.

Posted by: Albany Pol | February 14, 2006 12:14 PM | Report abuse

McCain has also been extremely busy kissing butt. It strikes me as distinctly un-maverick like that McCain putting so much capital into currying favor w/ the Bushies who made it their business to trash McCain in the SC primary in 2ooo.
Yet, the McCain ass-kissin' juggernaut rolls on..............

Posted by: jay lassiter | February 14, 2006 9:29 AM | Report abuse

John McCain's voting record is largely in line with the GOP; his is a very conservative voting record (with the exceptions of global warming, corporate corruption, and campaign finance reform). He is very much in the Goldwater style of limited (very) government. So I think many people who think he is a moderate are missing the boat on him.

Posted by: Jason | February 13, 2006 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Many people would like to see another party. Conservatives in particular feel betrayed by a president who, despite promises, will not exercise the fiscal discipline to veto a spending bill. And it's the congress that is sending him these spending bills in the first place. Corruption is a stain on the party of "Honest Abe." On the other hand, many democrats feel misrepresented by what they feel are politicians who are uncompromising and uncooperative. (I recognise that these are adjectives frequently used to describe the republicans in power) Yet other democrats are frustrated with the apparent reluctance of their party to make any unified action (social security, Justice Alito, war in Iraq).
I'm pretty young, but I can't remember when party dissatisfaction has been so high in both camps. I think it's a great time for a third party-I'd like another choice come election day. But any such third party could not be realized by Sen. McCain alone. As I said before, McCain cannot split the republican vote only to loose the white house for himself and for the republicans, whith whose ideology Sen. McCain agrees. A defector from the democrats would have to join McCain to ensure enough of that party's vote for presidential victory. While I have great respect for Sen. Lieberman, Sen. McCain would have to find someone with more credibility among hardline democrats. Can you imagine a McCain/Feingold ticket. Name recognition is already high.

Posted by: BFair | February 13, 2006 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Well said JDS. Ditto that.

Posted by: FairAndBalanced? | February 13, 2006 6:04 PM | Report abuse

If you take a look at the people he is meeting to raise money with alot of them jump out as middle of the road kind of folks. No Rick Santorums or that nimrod who is running for GA's Lt Gov. McCain is mostly sticking to guys who more or less sing the same tune he does. That being said I agree that it is time for him to leave the GOP behind and really run as an independent.

Posted by: Andy R | February 13, 2006 5:16 PM | Report abuse

He may sneak by the primaries with such a move, but running as an independent in the general election would split the republican vote. McCain cannot afford to do this. Moderate republicans and independents may vote for him, but even if he receives more votes than the hypothetical republican nominee, he would loose the race to the democrat. It's a nice thought, Maryland Voter, but McCain cannot attract enough of the deomocratic voters to be a viable 3rd party candidate, and in addition to loosing the white house, McCain would guarantee a victory for democrats.
Besides, we must remember that while McCain is often at odds with members of his own party, it is most often because they have abandoned him instead of the other way around. Senator McCain, who describes himself as a disciple of Goldwater, is, by any rational definition of the phrase, more of a conservative republican than President Bush.

Posted by: BFair | February 13, 2006 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I believe that the nation is ready for a change, and McCain should not have to grovel to the Republican Party and convince that he is hard wing conservatives. If he runs as an independent that he will not have carry the weight of the Republican Party failure: Hurricane Katrina, M Street, and Iraq War. As long as he does not have Rice with all her failures as his VP, he has my vote.

Posted by: Maryland Voter | February 13, 2006 4:37 PM | Report abuse

You truly are incredible. If Howard Dean says one thing you marginally disagree with you you make it your days work to draw attention to it. But on a day when (a) it becomes clear that the white house delayed in informing the public that their vice president had carelessly shot a man (something for which he apparently feels no need to apologize even); (B) the Republican led congress is getting set to release a report absolutely eviscerating the Bush administration for its negligent response to Katrina; and (C) a monday after the weekend when a prominent Republican senator says that Iraq is worse than ever - What do you do? you choose to publish insipid fluff pieces - great job!

Posted by: JDS | February 13, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

McCains biggest obstacle to his candidacy for president is not in the general election, but in the primaries. McCain needs to garner more support from conservatives who think that he is republican in name only. He is very smart for lending his support to others of his party. It may not help him defeat Sen. Clinton or Gov. Warner, but it will help him beat Sens. Allen and Frist.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 13, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

McCain needs to watch out. The more he's seen as being favored by the Republican Party's nomenklatura, the less appealing he will become. The straight talker will be forced to become more mealy mouthed and the "straight talk express" will become a distant memory. The true maverick in the Republican Party today is Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. McCain's schedule illstrates that he's transforming himself from a Republican Gorbachev to a Brezhnev Republican instead. That's a shame.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal | February 13, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

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