John McCain just held one of his blogger conference calls, which he opened — as you might expect — with a spirited defense of his record on Alito specifically and conservative judges more generally. He quipped that until it raised ethical concerns, he used to say Roberts and Alito should be cloned. NRO‘s Jim Geraghty asked him how the quote in John Fund’s piece got attributed to him, and McCain replied, “I don’t recall a conversation where I would have said that. I’m not saying someone didn’t tell him that.”
Asked about Barack Obama’s win in South Carolina, McCain said he was eager — emphasis his — to contrast himself with any of the Democrats. He argued that it would be a debate over raising taxes, winning in Iraq, and reforming health care versus subjecting it to government control. McCain also took shots at his nemesis Mitt Romney, defending his own economic record and criticizing the performance of the Massachusetts economy during Romney’s governorship. He also delivered crowd-pleasing remarks on the fight against earmarks and the surge.
McCain acknowledged a tight race in Florida, but said he was “having fun.” He described Gov. Charlie Crist’s endorsement as a “coup,” and also mentioned Sen. Mel Martinez’s support. McCain also addressed some supporters who bring a bit more baggage — the New York Times and other liberal papers that have endorsed the Arizonan. McCain said he was glad these editorial boards supported his views, but that he didn’t support theirs.
There was also talk about the Swift Boat Veterans, friendship with Pat Buchanan, and McCain’s history of dating a Brazilian model. McCain certainly allows the most freewheeling blogger conference calls of any candidate I’m aware of.