The Spectacle Blog

McCain Blogger Call

By on 1.4.08 | 10:01AM

McCain just completed his blogger conference call. He described himself as "very pleased to basically be in a tie for third" and joked he had called Fred Thompson to demand a recount. He touted his town hall with Joe Lieberman, remarking it was perhaps the first time an Independent/Democrat had appeared with a Republican. In answer to the first question he said that one of the first lessons of Iowa is that negative advertising doesn't work. He said that he has and will continue to respond to Romney's barrage by quoting local media including Romney's "hometown" newspapers, the Boston Herald and Boston Globe. As for Independents, he acknowledged that Obama would draw on them heavily but that it was noteworthy and important for the general election that he was the only candidate who was discussed as a draw on the GOP side for Independent voters. Throughout the call he talked about his credentials as an "agent of change" --changing the Iraq war strategy and attacking earmarks. Perhaps most interesting he placed great emphasis on his conservative credentials, twice referring to himself as a foot soldier in the Reagan Revolution and reminding those on the call that he had voted for the Reagan tax cuts which also included spending cuts. He talked about his position on immigration --sounding not too different frankly from other GOP contenders -- which recognizes that the borders must first be closed and then remaining firm that those here "can't be rewarded and move ahead of other who are here or who have been waiting." ( He also spoke in favor of a Rudy sounding biometric card and employer identification system.) On the money front, he contends that money is coming in as he rises in the polls and that he has funds to go up on the air in SC and Michigan and is working to get funds to pay for expensive Florida media. Phil asked about the enthusiasm gap between Democrats and Republicans and whether McCain could unify the party. McCain gave a long answer again stressing his spending and conservative credentials ( the GOP was "dispirited" he said by fiscal laxity and pork barrel spending) and sounded confident that the party would rally around the nominee. When Phil followed up as to whether McCain could attract Independents and beat a Barak Obama he gave his most interesting and perhaps comforting answer for conservatives. He explained "American is a right of center nation" which stresses family, social conservative values, less taxes,etc. He said there was a "clear division of philosophy" between him and the Democrats which he would successfully explain to the American people. In total: he sounded ready to rumble and confident. More importantly, he sounded like he understands he has to win over the base of the party.(Indeed at one point he minimized the impact of the Independent vote in NH, saying he'd get some of these voters but it was more important to get GOP voters since he is running for the GOP nomination and GOP voters turn out more reliably in the primary.)
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