Wednesday, November 28, 2007

John McCain Republican Debate


"The bottom line is that I think McCain got his message out tonight -- that he has the experience needed at this time in history. In short, he was 'Presidential.'" -- Townhall's Matt Lewis

Watch John McCain Tonight: "Let Us Win!"

John McCain Declared Debate Winner, "Most Presidential," "Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Fight On!"

Townhall's Matt Lewis: "The bottom line is that I think McCain got his message out tonight -- that he has the experience needed at this time in history. In short, he was Presidential.'" (Matt Lewis, Townhall Blog, 11/28/07)

Lewis: "I'm reading David McCullough's excellent book on Truman, so a lot of what McCain said rang true tonight. McCain's comment to Ron Paul about WWII and the danger of isolationism rang particularly true. In addition, his comment about the importance of America taking the high-road when it comes to torture also reminded me of the book." (Matt Lewis, Townhall Blog, 11/28/07)

CNN's David Gergen: "I think that the most presidential tonight were John McCain, who's found his voice again ... especially I thought on the issues of Iraq and on torture ..." (CNN Post-Debate Coverage, 11/28/07)

Redstate's Erick Erickson: "McCain won on scalps. He got Mitt Romney and he got Ron Paul. McCain was the adult in the room all night. He was stable, composed, and mature." (Erick Erickson, Redstate Blog, 11/28/07)

Erickson: "McCain kicks ass on taking out Ron Paul. Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Fight on!" (Erick Erickson, Redstate Blog, 11/28/07)

National Review's Jim Geraghty: "Is it just me, or is McCain dominating the debate tonight?" (Jim Geraghty, National Review's Campaign Spot Blog, 11/28/07)

CNN's Jamal Simmons: "I thought that John McCain clearly won this thing." (CNN Post-Debate Coverage, 11/28/07)

The Politico's Jonathan Martin: "McCain is really starting to look strong now that the conversation has moved onto national security. Beyond his answer to torture, his response about what really happened in Vietnam (contrary to what those blame-America-first types would have you believe) was red meat to every conservative in the crowd and at home who is over the age of 50." (Jonathan Martin, The Politico, 11/28/07)

Ankle Biting Pundit's Bull Dog Pundit: "The 'winner' tonight was John McCain with Mike Huckabee in second." (Bull Dog Pundit, Ankle Biting Pundit Blog, 11/28/07)

Bull Dog Pundit: "McCain continues to impress the hell out of me with his assessment of Iraq and how it fits into the larger war on terrorism. I also wonder if he paid Ron Paul to make his usual stupid comments because McCain brilliantly played off of them to make his larger points on why the war in Iraq is necessary, and why it's necessary we win. His 'let us win' retort to Paul was brilliance, and is the 'sound bite' of the evening. It's hard to deny the man has so much credibility on the issue. He also seems to be the one who is trying to be 'above it all' in terms of playing 'gotcha' with his opponents and focusing on the big picture." (Bull Dog Pundit, Ankle Biting Pundit Blog, 11/28/07)

"God Bless John McCain" For "Stirring" Statement On Iraq War: "Let Us Win" National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez: "'Let us win,' the troops say. God bless John McCain. Ron Paul should have let it alone. Absurd to say John McCain doesn't understand this war. He's communicated our effort in Iraq better than the White House for a very long time. We owe him a debt." (Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review's The Corner, 11/28/07)

The American Spectator's Philip Klein: "McCain's stirring on criticism of Ron Paul's opposition to Iraq and foreign policy views in general, delivered in a way that only he could, will play well with the base." (Philip Klein, The American Spectator Blog, 11/28/07)

Granite Grok's Skip Murphy: "McCain does a good job standing up for people like me who realize that we are in the fight of our lives with those that want us dead. McCain understands, better than anyone else, we have to actively fight these folks with everything we have -- and not just militarily. ... [Y]ou can tell that he is the real deal on this subject -- and I will stand with him on this issue to the gates of hell and to the Pearly Gates. He ripped Paul up and down -- good for him." (Skip Murphy, Granite Grok Blog, 11/28/07)

"McCain Shines" Tonight As He "Triumphed" On Experience, Torture And Spending Issues Townhall's Mary Katharine Ham: "McCain shines, as always, on spending and the war. He's right, he's quick-witted, and he comes across as dead-sure ..." (Mary Katharine Ham, Townhall Blog, 11/28/07)

Townhall's Matt Lewis: "McCain's answer to the question about the Vice President was very good. He was able to seamlessly segue into his real message -- that he has the most foreign policy experience -- and thus, wouldn't need to rely on a VP to the same degree Bush did." (Matt Lewis, Townhall Blog, 11/28/07)

National Review's Jim Geraghty: "McCain said that Bush had to rely on Cheney for expertise on national security issues after 9/11. Says he himself would never need to rely on his veep in this area. Ooooh." (Jim Geraghty, National Review's Campaign Spot Blog, 11/28/07)

MSNBC's Mark Murray: "Did that just become the lead of tonight's debate? It sure looked like McCain triumphed in that exchange. But to fair, it was a question that McCain -- the former POW -- was going to win no matter what." (Mark Murray, MSNBC's First Read Blog, 11/28/07)

National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez: "You can't help but to respect and admire McCain." (Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review's The Corner, 11/28/07)

· Lopez: "The Unspoken Truth ... John McCain doesn't own a gun because he's put in more time protecting and defending freedom on the frontlines than most of us will mercifully ever know." (Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review's The Corner, 11/28/07)

The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan: "McCain came out of the exchange easily the most appealing and mature candidate." (Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic Blog, 11/28/07)

Tampa Tribune: "'We let spending lurch completely out of control,' McCain says. Lays out a joke about spending money to study bear DNA in Montana. 'Not sure if it was paternity issue or a criminal issue.' Best laugh of the night." (Billy Townsend, Tampa Tribune Blog, 11/28/07)

National Review's Jonah Goldberg: "I think his immigration answer was grown-up and serious." (Jonah Goldberg, National Review's The Corner, 11/28/07)

The American Spectator's Jennifer Rubin: "McCain oozes credibility and seriousness on controlling spending." (Jennifer Rubin, The American Spectator Blog, 11/28/07)

CNN/YouTube Debate Who Wins

Cross Posted from

That is an interesting question that many people will be wanting to know the answer to. The pundits have already started punditing and the Ron Paul supporters have already started texting their votes.

The Republican YouTube Debate should be interesting because of the source of the questions. That is also why it is so difficult to anticipate a winner. Thompson's policy speeches have been getting stronger. Mike Huckabee needs a good debate to solidify his recent gains in Iowa. McCain, if given a chance, will highlight his trip to Iraq and the success of "the surge." (Personally I prefer the term "Kicking peoples asses and keeping them Kicked.")

I know that Micheal Palmer over at The Official McCain Blog and others will be blogging about it as will the crew over at Blogs4McCain.

Again, I was invited by the NH McCain Campaign to live blog the pre-debate party and the debate. I will have comments from the McCain08 NH staff, an interview with Rep. Fred Upton (R) Michigan 6th and of course my own thoughts on the debate as it happens right here at Azamatterofact. And here is the rest of it.

McCain Sites - Update

Broad Side of the Barn
Election Night HQ New!
Iowa for McCain
McCain Blogette
McCain States
McCain Talk
McCain08 On-Line Strategy Memo
McCainHQ08 Yahoo Group
Metaxupolis New!
NJ for McCain
Official McCain Blog
Pardon My French New!
Partisan American
Political Mafioso
Purple People Vote New!
Reality Bytes New!
South Carolina for McCain
StandUpForMcCain New!
The Mac Is Back
The Mad Irishman New!
The McCain Times New!
The Way Forward-John McCain
With Both Hands
Republican YouTube Debate
Circle the Web
Rambling Web
Linked the Web

Monday, November 26, 2007

John McCain - Media and Articles 11/16/07



ABC News: Back From Iraq, McCain Focuses On New Hampshire
Republican Contender Attempts to Set Himself Apart From Pack in New Hampshire
By Ron Claiborne


Washington Post: Decency On Immigration
Apart from John McCain, it's hard to find that quality in the Republican presidential contest.


Union Leader: Tom Kean: John McCain Is Best Prepared To Defend And Protect America


Nashua Telegraph: McCain Looks To Rekindle '00 Vibe

By Kevin Landrigan

CONCORD – Republican presidential hopeful John McCain hopes to complete the resurrection of his 2008 candidacy in New Hampshire by starring in a new TV ad cast in an old role – fiery maverick.

The commercial is clearly meant to assure Republican primary voters that even after campaign stumbles, a messy fight over immigration and an unpopular war in Iraq, he remains the same patriot who makes the establishment angry.

McCain, Arizona's senior senator, speaks to the camera during the entire, 60-second ad scheduled to air today on New Hampshire television stations.

"I might not like the business-as-usual crowd in Washington. But I love America. I love her enough to make some people angry," McCain concludes.

The ad highlights McCain's unapologetic support for campaign finance reform and the latest troop surge in Iraq, while railing against pork-barrel spending and the Pentagon's early strategy in the war.

"I didn't go to Washington to win the Mr. Congeniality award," McCain said in the ad. "I went to Washington to serve my country."

McCain produced a similar commercial that aired about the same time as this one eight years ago during his first White House run.

"Sen. McCain is very comfortable communicating directly to the voters, whether it's in his town hall meetings or broadcast messages like this one," said Michael Dennehy, McCain's political director.

"He wants the citizens of New Hampshire to know he's the same guy they saw in 2000, someone who will stand up to the special interests and is no friend of the status quo."

In that 1999 commercial, McCain vowed to fight the special interests, reform campaign finance laws, cut taxes, reduce the federal deficit and save Social Security.

Today, McCain's critics publicly condemn him for joining liberal Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and President Bush to propose a pathway to citizenship for the nation's 12 million illegal aliens.

Those critics also privately question if McCain, 71, can offer a fresh change most voters say they want and if he can defeat a better-financed Democratic nominee in November 2008.

On one level, McCain's ranting at "business as usual" could be seen as a shot at an unpopular president who ignored his sharp criticism and his pleas for more American combat troops early on in Iraq.

"I made the Pentagon angry when I criticized Rumsfeld's Iraq strategy, and I upset the media when I supported the strategy that's now succeeding," McCain declared in the ad.

For McCain, the spot tries to bring him full circle back to the underdog role he played seven years ago against then-candidate George W. Bush and parlayed into a crowning victory in New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary.

Three weeks after the New Hampshire vote in 2000, Bush routed McCain in South Carolina and coasted to the Republican nomination.

This nostalgic ad ignores the reality that McCain was the early, wealthy front-runner through all of 2006 and nearly half of this year.

By June, however, that had all vanished, thanks to his campaign's own runaway spending, his unpopular stance on immigration with the conservative base and, at times, a more cautious candidate on the stump.

McCain nosed past former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani into second place in the latest independent poll of likely GOP primary voters from CNN/WMUR.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney still holds onto a healthy lead in the survey, though, 33 percent to 18 percent for McCain.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

John McCain Iraq Memo


In 2003, Sen. McCain Acknowledged Mistakes Made In Iraq, Pushed For Urgent Changes Or “We Are Facing A Very Serious Long Term Problem”

Sen. McCain: “There is no doubt that we have made mistakes …” (CNN’s “Inside Politics,” 8/19/03)

Sen. McCain: “If we don’t turn things around in the next few months, we are facing a very serious long term problem.” (ABC’s “Good Morning America,” 9/3/03)

For Over Three Years, Sen. McCain Has Consistently Advocated For New Strategy In Iraq


Washington Post Headline, August 24, 2003: “McCain Says U.S. Needs More Money, Troops in Iraq.” (Mike Allen, “McCain Says U.S. Needs More Money, Troops in Iraq,” The Washington Post, 8/24/03)

August 2003: “Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said after visiting Baghdad last week that President Bush needs to level with the public about the need for more U.S. troops as well as dramatically more spending to make postwar Iraq peaceful enough for democracy to unfold. McCain said that when he returns from the Middle East he plans to mount a heavy campaign on the issue in meetings with national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and other White House officials and during hearings of the Senate Armed Services Committee. ‘We need to tell the American people directly, and I think they’ll support it,’ McCain said from Islamabad, Pakistan. ‘We must win this conflict. We need a lot more military, and I’m convinced we need to spend a lot more money.’” (Mike Allen, “McCain Says U.S. Needs More Money, Troops in Iraq,” The Washington Post, 8/24/03)

· August 2003: NBC’s TIM RUSSERT: “What must be done in Iraq right now?” SEN. MCCAIN: “First, could I say, Tim, the men and women in the military are doing a superb job. … The problem is that they don’t have enough resources. There’s not enough of them, and we are in a very serious situation, in my view, a race against time. We need to spend a whole lot more money to get the services back to the people. We need to get the electricity going, the fuel, the water. And unless we get that done and get it done pretty soon, we could face a very serious situation. … Time is not on our side. People in 125-degree heat with no electricity and no fuel are going to become angry in a big hurry. The sophistication of the attacks on U.S. and allied troops have increased. And what we do in the next several months will determine whether we’re in a very difficult situation or not, and there’s still time, but we’ve got to act quickly.” (NBC’s “Meet The Press,” 8/24/03)

· August 2003: NBC’s TIM RUSSERT: “MR. RUSSERT: How many more troops do you think we need in Iraq?” SEN. MCCAIN: “I think we need, I would guess, at least another division, but we also need people with specialized skills. Linguists we’re running short of. Our Guard and reservists are at the breaking point. We need civil affairs people. The infrastructure, refinery at Basra cannot be fixed. It needs to be totally replaced. It was 30 years of neglect on the part of the Saddam Hussein regime.” (NBC’s “Meet The Press,” 8/24/03)

November 2003: “To win in Iraq, we should increase the number of forces in-country, including Marines and Special Forces, to conduct offensive operations. I believe we must have in place another full division, giving us the necessary manpower to conduct a focused counterinsurgency campaign across the Sunni triangle that seals off enemy operating areas, conducts search and destroy operations and holds territory. Such a strategy would be the kind of new mission General Sanchez agreed would require additional forces. It’s a mystery to me why they are not forthcoming. We cannot achieve our political goals as long as a strategic region of Iraq is in a state of fundamental insecurity.” (Sen. John McCain, Remarks To Council On Foreign Relations, Washington, DC 11/5/03)

· November 2003: “More American forces and a commitment to keep them in Iraq as long as it takes are required to defeat our adversaries, so that Iraqi democracy is not stillborn. As we learned in Vietnam, if we do not defeat them before we leave, our enemies will continue to fight until any government we help establish is destroyed.” (Sen. John McCain, Remarks To Council On Foreign Relations, Washington, DC 11/5/03)

· November 2003: “The simple truth is that we do not have sufficient forces in Iraq to meet our military objectives. I said this in August, after I returned from visiting Iraq, and before the security situation deteriorated further. It is even more obviously true today.” (Sen. John McCain, Remarks To Council On Foreign Relations, Washington, DC 11/5/03)

· November 2003: “We need more troops. The casualties in November were the highest in history. I hope we are achieving some success. We have to achieve success. We cannot lose. But in order to save American lives, we have to be much more robust and do – and send whatever troops are necessary.” (Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday,” 11/30/03)


April 2004: “When I came back last August from Iraq, I said we needed more troops, thousands that were special forces, linguists, civil affairs type of people, that we’d be dealing with this new insurgency that we are now seeing in spades. Yes, I believe we need more, thousands more of the right kind of military personnel.” (CNN’s “Inside Politics,” 4/6/04)

· April 2004: “I was there in last August and have said since then that we needed more troops, we need them very badly. We may be paying a price for not having had more troops there, and I feel sorry for these young men and women having to remain there, but they know their job and I’m sure they’ll do it well.” (Sen. John McCain, Remarks At Media Availability, Washington, DC, 4/11/04)

· April 2004: “[W]hen I was there in Iraq in August, I talked to [the] British. I talked to sergeant majors. I talked to colonels and captains. And I came back absolutely convinced that we needed more boots on the ground. These people warned me. They said, ‘Look, if you don’t have more soldiers here, you’re going to lose control of this situation and you’re going to face an insurgency some months from now.’ I begged and pleaded that we send more troops. Secretary Rumsfeld said, ‘Well, our commanders on the ground haven’t asked for them.’ It’s not up to the commanders on the ground. It’s up to the leadership of the country to make these decisions. That’s why we elect them and have civilian supremacy. We’re now facing a terrible insurgency. We can prevail, but we’ve got to have more people over there to get the job done.” (Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes,” 4/14/04)

· April 2004: “Third, it is painfully clear that we need more troops. Before the war, the U.S. Army chief of staff said that several hundred thousand troops would be necessary to keep the peace. While criticized at the time, General [Eric K.] Shinseki now looks prescient. I have said since my visit to Iraq last August that our military presence is insufficient to bring stability to the country. We should increase the number of forces, including Marines and Special Forces, to conduct offensive operations. There is also a dire need for other types of forces, including linguists, intelligence officers, and civil affairs officers. We must deploy at least another full division, and probably more.” (Sen. John McCain, Remarks To Council On Foreign Relations, Washington, DC, 4/22/04)

May 2004: “We need more troops in, need more troops now. Yes, there are more troops that are going to stay there, but we may even need more than that, and we have to expand the size of the military. We really do.” (Fox News’ “The Big Story With John Gibson,” 5/10/04)

June 2004: “Some of this could have been prevented if Secretary Rumsfeld had recognized long ago what so many of us were saying urgently, that we needed more troops on the ground in Iraq, particularly of particular specifications, specialties that these people have that are being called up involuntarily.” (MSNBC’s “Hardball,” 6/29/04)

August 2004: “I think the events on the ground right now indicate clearly that we cannot bring anybody home. In certain areas we may even have to strengthen our troop presence.” (ABC’s “Good Morning America,” 8/11/04)

September 2004: “I think that we need more troops in Iraq. I’ve thought that for a long time, election or no election. … [I]’ve been asking since a year ago last August. So I’m not sure that the elections have a lot to do with it, but I’ve been saying since a year ago August that we needed more boots on the ground, particularly in the form of Special Forces, civil affairs, linguists and others.” (CNBC’s “Capital Report,” 9/23/04)

November 2004: “It’s very tough and we still need more troops. We still need more people there. I believe those reports of those young Marines that said, ‘Look, unless we keep a significant presence here, they’re going to filter back in.’“ (NBC’s “Meet The Press,” 11/21/04)

December 2004: “[T]he problem that we have here is that the Pentagon has been reacting to initiatives of the enemy rather than taking initiatives from which the enemy has to react to. Many of us, as long as a year and a half ago, said, ‘You have to have more people there. You have to have more linguists. You have to have more special forces. You have to have’ – and the Pentagon has reluctantly, obviously, gradually made some increases. And the problem, when you react, you have to extend people on duty there, which is terrible for morale. There’s a terrific strain on Guard and reservists. If you plan ahead, then you don’t have to do some of these things. The military is too small. The good news is we went into Fallujah and we dug then out of there. And I’m proud of the work. These men and women are magnificent. Their leadership is magnificent. The bad news is we allowed Fallujah to become a sanctuary to start with. So, yes, we need more troops. Yes, we have to win.” (Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday,” 12/5/04)

December 2004: MCCAIN: “I have to say that I want to work with Secretary Rumsfeld because he will be the secretary of defense for an undetermined length of time. And I want to work with him and I want to do the best that I can for the country.” QUESTION: “That’s not a vote of confidence.” MCCAIN: “No, it’s not.” (CNN’s “American Morning,” 12/6/04)

December 2004: “Asked about his confidence in the secretary’s leadership, McCain recalled fielding a similar question a couple weeks ago. ‘I said no. My answer is still no. No confidence,’ McCain said.” (Beth DeFalco, “AP Interview: McCain Says He Has ‘No Confidence’ In Defense Secretary Rumsfeld,” The Associated Press, 12/13/04)

December 2004: “I have strenuously argued for larger troop numbers in Iraq, including the right kind of troops – linguists, special forces, civil affairs, etc. … There are very strong differences of opinion between myself and Secretary Rumsfeld on that issue.” (Beth DeFalco, “McCain says He Has ‘No Confidence’ In Secretary Of Defense,” The Associated Press, 12/13/04)


June 2005: “I think we need – I think we need more troops there … because we’re not staying once we attack and clear. We’ve got stay and expand.” (MSNBC’s “Hardball,” 6/28/05)

· June 2005: “I’ve thought for a long, long time, since the very beginning, that we needed more troops, and one of the reasons why we’ve experienced many of the difficulties we have is we didn’t have enough boots on the ground, and we still do.” (CNN’s “American Morning,” 6/29/05)

August 2005: “We not only don’t need to withdraw, we need more troops there.” (Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday,” 8/14/05)

· August 2005: TIME’s MIKE DUFFY: “Do you think we need more troops?” SEN. MCCAIN: “I’ve always said that … I think we need more and I think they need to stay longer. The problem is, is that we didn’t expand the size of the Army and the Marine Corps and we put enormous strains on the Guard and Reserves and on active duty personnel. We need to expand the Army and expand the Marine Corps, and have more troops over there for as long as is necessary. The irony here is that we could have had less troops here now if we had had more troops when they were needed where, in the view of literally every military person I talked to in Iraq, right after the victory.” (CBS’ “Face The Nation,” 8/28/05)

· August 2005: “Well, I don’t have confidence [in Rumsfeld], but it’s up the president. The important thing is that he has the president’s confidence, and that’s the important thing. … Have I disagreed with the secretary of defense? Yes. But my job is not to have an open confrontation with the secretary of defense. My job is to try to work with him as long as he enjoys the confidence of the president to try and get this job completed. It doesn’t help if I get into some kind of fight with him.” (Fox News’ “News Sunday,” 8/14/05)

September 2005: “I have always said we need more troops. I believed it then. I believe it now.” (NPR’s “Morning Edition,” 9/20/05)

October 2005: “[W]hen I say that I don’t have confidence in [Rumsfeld], I can’t look people in the eye and say that I do [have confidence in him], because so many mistakes were made that – that cost us so much in American blood and treasure.” (PBS’ “Charlie Rose,” 10/31/05)

November 2005: “Securing ever-increasing parts of Iraq and preventing the emergence of new terrorist safe havens will require more troops and money. It will take time, probably years, and mean more American casualties. Those are terrible prices to pay. But with the stakes so high, I believe we must choose the strategy with the best chance of success.” (Sen. John McCain, Remarks To American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC, 11/10/05)

· November 2005: “To enhance our chances of success with this strategy and enable our forces to hold as much territory as possible, we need more troops. For this reason, I believe that current ideas to effect a partial drawdown during 2006 are exactly wrong. … Instead of drawing down, we should be ramping up, with more civil-military soldiers, translators and counterinsurgency operations teams.” (Sen. John McCain, Remarks To American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC, 11/10/05)

December 2005: “I’ve wanted to send troops. I still think we should have more troops there.” (NBC’s “Meet The Press, 12/4/05)

December 2005: “When the first insurgents – or when the looting started, Secretary Rumsfeld said, ‘Stuff happens.’ And then when the insurgency started, he said there was a few dead-enders. The reason why I mention that, there was a gross misunderestimation of the challenge we faced in the post-conflict aspect of Iraq.” (NPR’s “Fresh Air,” 12/6/05)

· December 2005: “If the president wants him on his team, I’m not going to question that. But, as I said – very strong disagreements because early on after the initial military phase, I said, ‘You’ve got to have more troops over there.’ And I didn’t think of it myself. I heard from everybody from sergeant majors to generals saying the same thing; that they didn’t have enough troops over there. And we paid a very heavy price for that.” (NPR’s “Fresh Air,” 12/6/05)


March 2006: “Of course, I would, quote, like to see more troops.” (CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 3/30/06)

April 2006: “It’s well known, because I was asked a direct question about my confidence in Secretary Rumsfeld, that I do not have confidence. But that does not mean that I’m calling for his removal, because that’s what the president of the United States’ job is.” (CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees,” 4/13/06)

June 2006: “You know, I’ve always said that we needed more troops over there. I have said that for years.” (CBS’ “Evening News,” 6/20/06)

July 2006: CNN’s JOHN KING: “The United States is sending more troops to Iraq. What do you think?” SEN. MCCAIN: “I think it’s necessary. I think it was necessary a long, long time ago. I think one of the biggest mistakes we made that we’ve paid a very heavy price for was not having enough boots on the ground. I said that three years ago.” (CNN’s “Larry King Live,” 7/26/06)

August 2006: NBC’s DAVID GREGORY: “But to do that, do you need more U.S. soldiers on the ground now?” SEN. MCCAIN: “I think so. I think so. We took troops from places like Ramadi, which are still not under control, to put them into Baghdad. We’ve had to send in additional troops as they are. All along, we have not had enough troops on the ground to control the situation. Many, many people knew that and it’s – we’re paying a very heavy price for it. But I want to emphasize that we cannot lose this. It will cause chaos in Iraq and in the region, and it’s – I still believe that we, we must prevail.” (NBC’s “Meet The Press,” 8/20/06)

· August 2006: “I know that military commanders on the ground need more troops, whether they’re asking for them or not. But see, this is kind of a false argument. … It’s not up to the commanders on the ground, it’s up to the leaders who assess the entire battlefield situation to decide whether they need. I’ve known very few – General McCaffrey’s going to follow us – I’ve known very few commanders in the field who see I – say, ‘I need help.’“ (NBC’s “Meet The Press,” 8/20/06)

September 2006: “I still think we need more troops over there.” (CBS’ “Face The Nation,” 9/24/06)

October 2006: “I would increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps by some hundred thousand people, and I would send more troops over there where necessary, and I would listen very carefully to my military commanders.” (CBS’ “Evening News,” 10/19/06)

· October 2006: “Roughly, you need another 20,000 troops in Iraq, but that means expanding the Army and Marine Corps by as much as 100,000 people …” (Lorna Colquhoun, “ McCain Urges More Troops For ‘Insurgency,’“ The Union Leader, 10/28/06)

· October 2006: “I have said, as long ago as nearly three years ago, when I was asked if I had confidence in Secretary Rumsfeld, I said I did not.” (MSNBC’s “Hardball,” 10/18/06)

November 2006: “I believe that there are a lot of things that we can do to salvage this, but they all require the presence of additional troops. … I also said three years ago, if we don’t have more troops over there, and we don’t do what’s necessary, we are going to be doomed to failure. I gave a speech to the Foreign Relations – Council on Foreign Relations – that said basically that, and I’ve been saying it all along in every hearing, and I’ve been saying, ‘You are going to face this situation we’re facing today if we didn’t have a more robust presence and a better strategy,’ and that’s – I proved to be right in that respect.” (NBC’s “Meet The Press,” 11/12/06)

· November 2006: “I’ve said for a long time that I had no confidence in Secretary Rumsfeld, but that’s a decision to be made by the president.” (Fox News’ “Live Event,” 11/8/06)

December 2006: “We must have more troops over there. That has to be accompanied by a larger Marine Corps or Army. Maybe 20,000 more Marines and 80,000 more Army troops so that we can handle whatever is necessary. And we have to have a big enough surge that we can get Baghdad under control and then Anbar province under control.” (Fox News’ “Special Report With Brit Hume,” 12/12/06)


January 2007: “The presence of additional coalition forces would give the Iraqi government the ability to do what it cannot accomplish today on its own: impose its rule throughout the country. In bringing security to Iraq, and chiefly to Baghdad, our forces would give the government a fighting chance to pursue reconciliation. … There are two keys to any surge of U.S. troops. To be of value the surge must be substantial and it must be sustained – it must be substantial and it must be sustained. We will need a large number of troops. During our recent trip commanders on the ground spoke of a surge of three to five additional brigades in Baghdad and at least an additional brigade in Anbar province. I believe these numbers are the minimum that’s required – a minimum. We need more of the right kind of troops: civil affairs teams, special forces, translators, troops to conduct information operations, among others. The mission of these reinforcements would be to implement the thus-elusive hold element of the military’s clear, hold, build strategy, to maintain security in cleared areas to protect the population and critical infrastructure, and to impose the government’s authority: essential elements of a traditional counterinsurgency strategy.” (Sen. John McCain, Remarks To American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC, 1/5/07)

· January 2007: “Rumsfeld will go down in history, along with McNamara, as one of the worst secretaries of defense in history.” (Roger Simon, “McCain Bashes Cheney Over Iraq Policy,” The Politico, 1/24/07)

April 2007: “After my first visit to Iraq in 2003, I argued for more troops. I took issue with statements characterizing the insurgency as a few ‘dead-enders’ or being in its ‘last throes.’ I criticized the search and destroy strategy and argued for a counter-insurgency approach that separated the reconcilable population from the irreconcilable. That is the course now followed by General Petraeus, and the brave Americans and coalition troops he has the honor to command.” (Sen. John McCain, Remarks To The Virginia Military Institute, 4/11/07)

May 2007: “The war was terribly mismanaged and we now have to fix a lot of the mistakes that were made.” (Republican Presidential Debate, Ronald Reagan Library, Simi Valley, CA, 5/3/07)

New McCain Clinton Giuliani Map

Updated Condensed Electorate Map Available - Click for larger image.

Updated Original Electorate Map Available - Click for larger image.

Monday, November 19, 2007

McCain more Electable in General Election

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John McCain Articles - 11/19/07

Politico: Tom Kean Endorsing McCain In New Push
By Mike Allen


Associated Press: McCain Says It's OK To Make People Mad, Challenges Clinton

By Philip Elliott

RINDGE, N.H. (AP) _ Making people mad is a good thing, presidential hopeful John McCain said Sunday in a speech aimed at playing up the Arizona senator's outsider reputation.

''I didn't seek public office to go along, to get along,'' McCain said, trying to remind voters of the ''maverick'' label that helped him defeat then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush in New Hampshire in 2000. ''I went to Washington to get something done for the people who sent me there. And since then, I know I've made some people angry.''

McCain said Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has done everything she can to land on the popular side of most issues.

''On the one hand, Senator Clinton says we can't abandon Iraq to al-Qaida and the influence of Iran. On the other, she wants a firm deadline for withdrawal that would do just that,'' McCain said. ''Senator Clinton rejected unconditional talks with Iran, but now says she would negotiate with no preconditions.''

''I'm the conservative Republican with the best chance of defeating Senator Clinton, or whomever the Democrats nominate, and take on the challenges that confront us,'' the Arizona Republican said. ''I'm as committed today as when I first put on the uniform of our country to the cause that has been the work of my life: the interests and ideals of our country.''

McCain in recent days has urged a respectful debate with Clinton _ who he expects the Democratic party to nominate _ and challenged his rivals to stop taking cheap shots at the New York senator. He returned to that theme during his Sunday evening speech.

''She will be a formidable candidate and while our differences are many and profound, I intend this to be a respectful debate,'' McCain said. ''Senator Clinton and I disagree over America's direction, and it is a serious disagreement. But I don't doubt her ability to lead this country where she thinks it should go.''

A Clinton spokeswoman said McCain's record should give voters pause.

''Senator McCain is right: Voters have a clear choice between he and Senator Clinton,'' Kathleen Strand said. ''He wants to continue Bush's failed policies, and Hillary Clinton wants to change them. He wants to escalate the war, she will end it; she supports universal health care for every American and he opposes it.

McCain also challenged his Republican rivals, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who have played up their executive experience. McCain said character matters.

''There comes a time when a president can no longer rely on briefing books and PowerPoints, when the experts and advisers have all weighed in, when the sum total of one's life becomes the foundation from which he or she makes the decisions that determine the course of history,'' McCain said. ''No other candidate, no other candidate has my experience or the judgment it informs.''

McCain said he would take on special interests, reform the tax code and address entitlement programs that are projected to swell in the coming years. Clinton, he said, would consolidate power in Washington and raise taxes.

McCain ticked through defense contractors he exposed as corrupt, lobbyists whose influence he reduced and reporters he frustrated.

''Yes, I've made a lot of people angry. But I didn't go to Washington to win the Mr. Congeniality award. I went there to serve my country,'' McCain said. ''I might not like the business-as-usual crowd in Washington, and they might not like me. But I love America. I love her enough to make some people angry.''


New York Times: McCain Takes On Clinton, With An Eye To Civility


Concord Monitor: McCain Hasn't Lost The Gift Of Gab
He's chatty with press on campaign swing
By Margot Sanger-Katz


Associated Press: McCain Finds Memories At Pizza Stop

By Philip Elliott

LANCASTER, N.H. (AP) _ A trip to a small-town pizza shop on Saturday became a journey into John McCain's past.

One woman brought out a silver prisoner of war bracelet she wore as a student at the University of Maine at Farmington to raise awareness of McCain's capture. Another man told McCain he served with the Arizona senator's grandfather in World War II.

Kathy Treamer, an independent voter who had never met the Republican presidential hopeful before Saturday, wore the bracelet starting in 1970 or 1971 _ she couldn't recall. She wore it until his release and since then, she's kept it in a jewelry box in her home.

''We would get up and watch the POWs come home on TV,'' she said.

Norman Sanaterre, meanwhile, said he knew McCain's grandfather and served on the same ship during World War II.

''I'm definitely voting for him. I voted for him 2000,'' he said.

McCain said he was surprised to find so many familiar people.

''He knew my grandfather in World War II. He told the story that he was at his post in the general quarters. It was the middle of the night and he was falling asleep. My grandfather, the admiral, told him he had better not go to sleep. That came as shock to him, I'm sure,'' McCain said.

Treamer said she plans to vote but hasn't yet settled on a candidate.

''I'm not a very political person so I have not made any decisions on anything,'' she said. ''I've been following him because of the memories it brought to me.''

The bracelet was engraved with Oct. 26, 1967, the date McCain was taken prisoner while serving in Vietnam.


Time’s Swampland Blog: Romney Blames...McCain??
By Jay Carney


National Review: Did Mitt Romney Push Poll Himself?
A web of connections.
By Mark Hemingway

Friday, November 16, 2007

John McCain Articles 11/16/07
Halperin’s The Page: Poll: McCain Does Best Against Clinton
By Mark Halperin
Fox poll also shows McCain considered more trustworthy than Giuliani.
GOP: Giuliani– 33, McCain– 17, Thompson– 12, Huckabee– 8, Romney– 8
Dems: Clinton– 44, Obama– 23, Edwards– 1
Sacramento Bee (CA): McCain Accepts Governor's Invitation To Debate Global Warming In N.H. By Peter Hecht

Get Off the Couch for McCain

Reprint from

I recieved this e-mail today from Joelle of the McCain Campain. I am taking a week off in (probably) early January to volunteer for the McCain Campaign in NH. If you have six weeks, great. If you have 6 hours, that probably works to.

Can you invest six weeks of your time to make history?

We need you at one of our offices in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan or South Carolina.
If you can relocate to one of the early primary or caucus states, please reply to this e-mail or send your contact information to:


Joelle Saliba

Please get back to Joelle if you can answer this call.

She can be reached at mccainvols (at)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

NYT John McCain - Character Factor

Reprinted from the New York Times -

November 13, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
The Character Factor
Rochester, N.H.

About six months ago, I was having lunch with a political consultant and we were having a smart-alecky conversation about the presidential race. All of sudden, my friend interrupted the flow of gossip and said: “You know, there’s really only one great man running for president this year, and that’s McCain.”

The comment cut through the way we pundits normally talk about presidential candidates. We tend to view them like products and base our verdicts on their market share at the moment. We don’t so much evaluate their character; we analyze how effectively they are manipulating their image to appeal to voters, and in this way we buy into the artificiality of modern campaigning.

My friend’s remark pierced all that, and it had the added weight of truth.

Eight years ago, it was fashionable for us media types to wax rapturously about McCain. That vogue has passed, but I’m afraid my views are unchanged. I have seen McCain when his campaign was imploding, and now again when he’s rising in the polls. I have seen him shooting craps and negotiating in the Senate. I have seen him leading delegations like a statesman and bickering with his old Hanoi Hilton prison-mate Bud Day like a crotchety old lady.

And I can tell you there is nobody in politics remotely like him.

The first thing that still strikes one about McCain is his energy. In his book, “The Nightingale’s Song,” Robert Timberg runs through primal force metaphors to describe the young McCain. “Being on liberty with John McCain was like being in a train wreck,” Timberg wrote.

Prison in Vietnam gave him self-respect and a cause greater than himself, but it didn’t diminish his dynamism. His office in the Senate isn’t tucked away in a tranquil corner of his suite; it’s right in the vortex, and it’s always empty because he’s walking around. Campaigning last weekend in New Hampshire, he was his old restless self, never alone, craving contact, conversation and fun.

Timberg wrote that McCain fought against the system at the Naval Academy as if it were some hostile organism, “as if any compromise meant surrendering a part of himself that he might never retrieve.”

The years and the Senate have smoothed some of his rebelliousness, but he still fights a daily battle against the soul-destroying forms of modern politics.

If you cover him for a day, you’d better bring 2,500 questions because in the hours he spends with journalists, you will run through all of them. Last Saturday, we talked about Pervez Musharraf’s asceticism and Ted Williams’s hitting philosophy, the Korean War and Hispanic voting patterns.

He analyzed the debates he won and the times he was wooden. He talked about his failures as a fund-raiser and said he’d like to pick a running mate with formal economics training because he’s weak in that area. He won’t tell you everything, but there will never be a moment as the hours stretch by when you feel that he is spinning you, lying to himself or insulting your intelligence.

Telling the truth is a skill. Those who don’t do it habitually lose the ability, but McCain is well-practiced and has the capacity to face unpleasant truths. While other conservatives failed to see how corporations were insinuating themselves into their movement, McCain went after Boeing contracts. While others failed to see the rising tide of corruption around them, McCain led the charge against Jack Abramoff. While others ignored the spending binge, McCain was among the fiscal hawks.

There have been occasions when McCain compromised his principles for political gain, but he was so bad at it that it always backfired. More often, he is driven by an ancient sense of honor, which is different from fame and consists of the desire to be worthy of the esteem of posterity.

Other Republicans used to accuse him of kissing up to the news media. But when the Iraq war was at its worst, and other candidates were hiding in the grass waiting to see how things would turn out, McCain championed the surge, which the major Republican candidates now celebrate.

He did it knowing that it would cost him his media-darling status and probably the presidency. But for years he had hated the way the war was being fought. And when the opportunity to change it came, the only honorable course was to try.

And now he pushes ahead, building momentum, but desperately needing a miracle win in New Hampshire. Everyone will make their own political choices, and you might plausibly argue that the qualities John McCain possesses are not the ones the country now requires. But character is destiny, and you will never persuade me that he is not among the finest of men.

That human point seemed worth remembering, even amid the layers of campaign pretense.

Monday, November 12, 2007

McCain Articles 11/12/07

John McCain addresses Senator Hillary Clinton’s wasteful spending at a town hall meeting in Rochester this Saturday

Reports: Election 2008: Clinton Vs. McCain & Romney McCain Leads Clinton By Two While Clinton Tops Romney by Five Rasmussen

Associated Press: McCain Says Kerik Reflects On Giuliani By Philip Elliott CONCORD, N.H.

Citizen (NH): McCain Gives, Receives Thanks At Ceremony By Gail Ober BOSCAWEN Laconia

Friday, November 9, 2007

John McCain Articles 11/09/07

ABC News: Get To Know John McCain


The Hill’s Pundit Blog: John McCain Is Hitting Stride At Right Time By Frank Donatelli


American Spectator: The Comeback Kid By Jennifer Rubin


Associated Press: GOP Presidential Hopeful McCain Campaigns In Michigan JACKSON, Mich. (AP) _ Republican presidential candidate John McCain stressed Michigan's importance to the Republican party Thursday during a campaign stop. He also said he has the most knowledge, background and experience _ particularly on military matters _ to represent the GOP in the race for the White House. ''Michigan is the heartland of America _ and we can't ignore it,'' McCain said after speaking to an outdoor crowd of a few hundred people in a city that touts itself as the birthplace of the Republican party. ''The state is one that has to be carried by a Republican. ... It is a bellwether state.'' He used the rally to reiterate his long-held support for the military surge in Iraq, while maintaining the war has been ''badly mismanaged.'' McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam from 1967 to 1973, also denounced the interrogation technique of waterboarding as torture. Later, the four-term Arizona senator held a media briefing at the Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit and was to fly to New Hampshire Thursday evening. A day earlier, McCain was endorsed by Kansas conservative and former presidential rival Sam Brownback.


Detroit News (MI): McCain, Campaigning In Michigan, Says No To Torture Gordon Trowbridge / Detroit News Washington Bureau


Arizona Republic’s McCain Central Blog: Women: McCain, Clinton Best For Military Families


Martin Blog: McCain Ups Buy In Boston Market Politico’s John


National Review’s Campaign Spot Blog: In Pennsylvania, McCain, Giuliani Close To Clinton
By Jim Geraghty Quinnipiac

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

McCain Gear - Sweatshirt

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John McCain Articles - 11/7/07

Associated Press: Former Candidate Brownback To Endorse Republican McCain For President
By Liz Sidoti

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) _ Sam Brownback, a Kansas conservative and favorite of evangelical Christians, will endorse his former Republican presidential rival John McCain, GOP officials said Wednesday. The nod could provide a much-needed boost, particularly in Iowa, for the Arizona senator and one-time presumed GOP front-runner whose bid faltered and is now looking for a comeback. Republican officials said Brownback will announce his support for McCain later Wednesday in Dubuque, Iowa, and then travel with the candidate to campaign in two other cities in the state. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid publicly pre-empting the announcement. It's uncertain how much weight the Brownback's backing will carry; the Kansas senator dropped out of the race last month with little money and little support. While he is a favorite of religious conservatives, he failed to persuade them to embrace him as the GOP's consensus conservative candidate. He spent months emphasizing his rock-solid opposition to abortion, gay marriage and other issues important to the party's right flank, but left the race ranking low in national polls and state surveys. Still, Brownback's backing could signal to evangelical Christians that they can trust McCain and could help solidify McCain's credentials on social issues. The endorsement could be especially important in Iowa, where McCain trails in polls.


# Arizona Republic: McCain Rises To Second In 3 GOP Polls
By Dan Nowicki


John McCain Unamused With Rudy Giuliani's 'Deprivation'
By David Saltonstall


New York Sun: McCain Backer Chides Giuliani Over Torture
By Russell Berman

Monday, November 5, 2007

McCain Articles 11/05/07

Watch Sen. John McCain On CNN’s “Late Edition” with Wolf Blitzer
Part 1
Part 2


On Halperin’s The Page: Wash Post-ABC Poll Shows Jump For McCain

Ariz. Sen. moves up one year before election.

GOP: Giuliani 33, McCain 19, Thompson 16, Romney 11, Huckabee 9
Dems: Clinton 49, Obama 26, Edwards 12

Read full results on Bush, Iraq, Congress, national mood here.


Time’s Real Clear Politics Blog: McCain Plays Foreign Policy Experience Card

By Reid Wilson

Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani are eager to point out that they have the experience necessary to run for president. Both point out that leading Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Barack Obama have not run a city, a state, or anything bigger than their Senate offices. And while both will not say so, they are indicting rivals John McCain and Fred Thompson with the same charge.

The argument may work for Thompson; he spent just eight years in the Senate and three years as a federal prosecutor. But McCain has spent the better part of thirty years in the Senate and House, serves as the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and has merited pundits floating his name for Secretary of Defense. In short, by any measure, no Republican candidate running for president has the foreign policy experience and credentials McCain boasts.

Watch any GOP debate and that experience gap becomes obvious. McCain "does not suffer fools lightly," said Rutgers political scientist Ross Baker. "He's experiencing a lot of frustration with the other Republicans when it comes to talking about Iraq." McCain's frustration portrays him as the only candidate who has finished the book, and who knows the ending; Giuliani and Romney are halfway through and forecasting an ending.

Other candidates, said Baker, "would just as soon not mention [Iraq], while [McCain] is much more committed to a military solution." McCain is willing, if not eager, to make Iraq the central issue to his campaign. "It's the issue around which, if we fail in Iraq, we fail every place else in the Middle East," McCain told Real Clear Politics. It's all the more important to the former Navy airman "because young Americans are in harm's way," he said.

After a summer in which McCain's campaign was rocked by internal turmoil, the senator saw his poll position improve as focus shifted back to Iraq in September. Many believed his association with the war in Iraq was the cause of that uptick, as he is the Republican who most credibly talks about the issue.

That credibility is something McCain plays up, primarily because he has long been critical of the war's execution. "I'm the only candidate who has enough knowledge and depth to have fought against the Rumsfeld strategy," he says, "even when other Republicans were accusing me" of disloyalty.

"He lives and dies on the, 'I'm more truthful,' and 'I've been there and done that,'" said Wake Forest University political communications expert Allan Louden. "McCain's not supporting [President] Bush, even as he is." McCain's support for the surge in Iraq is "laced with heavy criticisms," he said. To Republican voters tired of the war's mismanagement, "there is an appeal to that."

Contrast McCain's image on the war in Iraq with that of Romney, Giuliani or Thompson and McCain comes out ahead. Thompson, said Louden, seems inexperienced on foreign policy. Romney appears too slick and falsly optimistic. And Giuliani's emphasis on terrorism through the prism of September 11th is "one-note."

McCain's depth of knowledge and experience, from his time as a military man and in Congress, fosters a much stronger image. He takes issue with other candidates' lack of experience, most notably Romney's. "I'm frankly very encouraged by the events of the last seven or eight months," McCain says, speaking of the troop surge. "Governor Romney said, 'Apparently it's working.' It is working!"

Despite the bounce McCain received in September, he remains far behind front-runners in state and national polls. But, thanks to his prime target, Romney, McCain may have an opportunity to climb back into the race. Romney's big spending in Iowa has scared Giuliani into barely competing in the Hawkeye State, preferring instead to make his stand in much friendlier New Hampshire. Thompson has yet to make his presence felt in Iowa either.

Those absences leave a big void that McCain hopes to fill. His camp recently sent two mailings to Iowa caucus-goers, followed by automated telephone calls with a recorded message from McCain himself. "We're trying to compete everywhere," McCain said. "We recognize how important particularly the three early states are." McCain's Iowa state director, Jon Seaton, said he expects a "fairly aggressive" mail program to continue through the caucuses.

McCain would have a difficult time outpacing Romney in Iowa, but he might not have to. By simply placing second in a state many assume is impossibly hostile to him, McCain could benefit from a big boost going into his real target, New Hampshire. And while Romney and Giuliani are contesting the first primary state, McCain still sees the enthusiasm for his candidacy that existed in 2000. "I knew, on a Friday night when there was a Red Sox game in the [American League Championship] Series, and we still had a big turnout, that we were doing pretty well."

It also helps, in some ways, that Romney and Giuliani are aiming more at each other in New Hampshire. "Conventional wisdom, [McCain] has no chance," said Louden. But if Romney and Giuliani begin attacking each other, "he'll be what's left over." After this summer, "you'd think this collapse [of the campaign] will keep collapsing, but that hasn't happened."

Thanks to the war in Iraq, McCain is sticking around, and has even made something of a comeback. The campaign recognizes the success, and judging from McCain's attitude, he will continue, and likely sharpen, the distinctions. "I think I'm the most experienced and qualified, but I certainly respect the others," McCain told Real Clear Politics. "They just don't have the experience."


Associated Press: McCain Takes Rivals To Task For Lack Of Military Experience

By Liz Sidoti

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) _ John McCain, a Vietnam war prisoner, argued Friday that his top rivals for the GOP nomination aren't qualified to deal with issues like torture _ or to be president in wartime _ because they never served in the military.

The Arizona senator's position on an interrogation technique that simulates drowning _ he says it constitutes torture and is illegal _ puts him at odds with Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson, who haven't taken such a hard line.

''There's a clear division between those who have a military background and experience in these issues and people like Giuliani, Romney and Thompson who don't _ who chose to do other things when this nation was fighting its wars,'' McCain told reporters after touring a shipyard in this military bastion.

He stood in a warehouse and focused on comments Giuliani made Thursday on CNBC. The former New York mayor said ''waterboarding'' should not be used in every circumstance, but he also left the door open to it.

''I'm very reluctant to take away presidential prerogatives and decision making, maybe because I've faced crisis more than the other ones have,'' said Giuliani, who was praised by many for his performance in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

McCain, a former Naval aviator who was tortured in his 5½ years in a North Vietnamese prison, responded: ''Mayor Giuliani just contradicted himself because anybody who has experience in warfare knows that waterboarding is by any definition torture and cannot be condoned. I do not know which crisis the mayor may have been talking about. My experience goes back to the Cuban missile crisis and every conflict we've been in since.''

Then, McCain broadened his broadside to also castigate Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, and Thompson, the former Tennessee senator, as well as Giuliani on Iraq. He argued they were ''nowhere to be seen when we were fighting a war with the wrong strategy.''

''I never saw Romney, Giuliani or Thompson say a word about it, except supporting what I clearly pointed out was a failed strategy,'' McCain added. He said he has called for more troops in Iraq since 2003 and saw President Bush embrace that proposal earlier this year. ''I don't think there's any greater indication of experience and knowledge of how wars should be fought and how crisis should be handled.''

All three campaigns dismissed the criticism.

Giuliani's spokeswoman, Maria Comella, said her boss has clearly stated that ''if we're going to defeat the terrorists then we must use aggressive questioning. And in those extraordinary circumstances, the president needs all options available to ensure the safety and security of Americans.''

Romney's spokesman, Kevin Madden, said the ex-governor is focused on the future and has the vision and experience to be president. Madden added: ''We will leave it to other campaigns to make the mistake of merely assigning blame about the past.''

Said Thompson spokeswoman, Karen Hanretty: ''We all respect Senator McCain's military service, however, there are many great Americans who have served this country and not worn its uniform.''

None of the three enlisted. Draft deferments kept Giuliani out of Vietnam while he attended law school and worked for a federal judge; he had twice been eligible for the draft. Romney received a draft deferment while serving as a missionary in France during the war. He was eligible for the draft later, but was not selected. Thompson, with a wife and child, was deferred from service.

McCain assailed his rivals on torture even as he defended his decision to vote for Michael Mukasey's nomination to be attorney general despite being troubled by the nominee's initial answers about waterboarding. McCain said was confident that Mukasey would not allow the method because of answers to written questions in which Mukasey said he did not believe that the president had the authority to violate existing law and that he believed waterboarding was ''a repugnant practice.''

On a three-day tour of this early-voting state, McCain visited Detyen's Shipyard, located on Dry Dock Avenue, and held a question-and-answer session with shipyard employees wearing hard hats and blue jeans as they took a midmorning work break.

He was in the state just as a new Winthrop University/ETV poll showed McCain's support having slipped in South Carolina since August. He's now at 9 percent, trailing Thompson, Giuliani and Romney who are tightly bunched in a fight for the lead.


Red State Blog: I'm Off The Fence And For McCain

By Charles Bird

This will be my only front-page post in support of a Republican candidate for the nomination. John McCain has little to no chance of getting nominated, but I'm supporting him anyway. My reasons are backing him are a combination of things, having to do with my agreement with him on key issues and for what I see as shortcomings in the other candidates. The slate of candidates is imperfect, so my rationale was to go with the least imperfect one. My three main criteria for picking a president in this election cycle are national security, the economy, and integrity. As I see it, McCain is the most solid of the candidates in those categories, so let me go through them.

More below the fold...

National security. McCain has been stronger than the other candidates on this issue, in my opinion. I believe he is the most right on Iraq and national security. He rightfully criticized Bush and Rumsfeld for undermanning the war effort in Iraq and for our failing strategy, going against most of the other Republican Senators in particular and Republicans in general. Now that we are seeing clearer signs of success via more troops and a more workable strategy, we should give McCain credit for speaking out. We should also recognize that it was Bush who came around to McCain, not the other way around.

I think McCain is also right on the matter of coercive interrogations. Waterboarding, to name one technique, is illegal and it is torture. I'm confident that these methods work, but they're morally wrong and we shouldn't be using them unless there is a ticking time-bomb situation. Less importantly, I don't know how much intelligence we've garnered through such coercion, but I would have a hard time believing that the intelligence benefits received have exceeded the political costs paid, both domestically and internationally. It's a problem. My take is that we can win this War Against Militant Islamism without lowering our standards.

McCain was prisoner of war in Vietnam, and he was tortured, so his opinion about the practice carries a lot of weight with me. What's more, to this day he feels the effects that his captors levied on him. From Vanity Fair:

Like his friend Bob Dole, he tries to minimize his disabilities, but they are serious. He suffered severe injuries when his plane was shot down over North Vietnam 40 years ago; his right knee was broken when his seat was ejected from the cockpit, and both arms were broken in the crash. These injuries were compounded by the profound abuse he endured during five and a half years in captivity.

McCain seldom talks about the details of his torture by the North Vietnamese, but he has written about them in clinical depth. Despite the injuries he had already suffered, upon capture he was promptly bayoneted in the ankle and then beaten senseless. The North Vietnamese never set either of his broken arms. The only treatment of his broken knee involved cutting all the ligaments and cartilage, so that he never had more than 5 to 10 percent flexion during the entire time he was in prison. In 1968 he was offered early release, and when he refused, because others had been there longer, his captors went at him again; he suffered cracked ribs, teeth broken off at the gum line, and torture with ropes that lashed his arms behind his back and that were progressively tightened all through the night. Ultimately he taped a coerced confession.

McCain's right knee still has limited flexibility. Most of the time this is not too noticeable, but McCain mounts the steps onto planes with a herky-jerky gait. A climb up dozens of steps at the New Hampshire International Speedway, in Loudon, leaves him badly winded and sweating profusely. Because his broken arms were allowed to heal without ever being properly set, to this day McCain cannot raise his arms above his shoulders. He cannot attend to his own hair. An aide is often nearby with a comb and small can of hair spray.

McCain has difficulty putting on his suit jacket unassisted. Once, as we prepared to get out of a cramped airplane cabin in Burlington, Vermont, where McCain would be greeted by the governor, I turned my back for a moment, only to find him struggling. He could sense that his collar was all bunched up, and asked me matter-of-factly to help him straighten it out. I felt the pang that those around McCain feel whenever they realize the extent of his injuries. "You comb someone's hair once," his 2000 communications director, Dan Schnur, says, "and you never forget it."

Personally, I don't we should ever forget the sacrifices he made for his country and the injuries he sustained in defending it. When a man has been in such circumstances and vehemently rejects those methods used against him, I think we should listen.

The economy. McCain has a solid record on fiscal restraint and freer trade, both of which are conservative positions. Mike Huckabee's tepid support of free trade agreements is why I can't support him, for example.

Integrity. McCain speaks his mind, and oft times it gets him in trouble. I strongly disapprove of McCain-Feingold, especially the gag order in the 60-day period prior to election day, but I think his intentions were in the right place. I wouldn't judge too harshly against McCain about the bill. After all, George W. Bush signed the damned legislation into law. McCain is conservative on social issues, but not boisterously so.

Why not the other candidates? Giuliani has public integrity, but I'm troubled by his personal integrity. I'd rather not have a president on his third marriage and I'd rather not have a president who personally donated money to Planned Parenthood. He made soothing noises about appointing conservative judges, but Giuliani is too left-leaning for my taste.

For Romney, I think he's weaker than McCain on national security. As for Fred Thompson, he's probably my number two choice. But last July, Thompson was bombarded with negative news stories and he barely answered any of the charges. For a media-familiar character, Thompson has not handled media situations well. Thompson has similar positions as McCain on national security, but McCain gets the nod because he has more experience.

Immigration. McCain turned off a good number of conservatives by his support of the immigration bill last summer (I was mildly in favor of it). McCain has said that he has learned his lesson and that he would support "enforcement first" provisions. I take him at his word, just as I take Giuliani at his word that he would appoint judges in mold of Roberts and Alito.

Gang of 14. Many conservatives were irked about the Gang of 14 (and still are), but I'm telling you, liberals hate it even more. The dKos crowd was neutralized by this agreement, and we have two new conservative judges on the bench today. The results speak for themselves.

McCain's drawbacks. If elected, he would be 73 on inauguration day. But hey, 73 is the new 63.

McCain's temper and temperament have been issues. In 2000, I sided with Bush because I thought he had a better temperament for the job than McCain. In retrospect, I think I overemphasized that attribute. Back then, I voted for Bush over McCain because Bush came across as the more conservative candidate. Boy, was I wrong. In the last seven years, the person who has clearly made more conservative choices was McCain, not Bush.

Anyway, I've been angry and irritated with McCain's various antics over the years, but I gave him a second look and found his positions on the important stuff more than acceptable. I think all other conservatives should take that second look as well.

Friday, November 2, 2007

McCain Related Article 11/2/07

Associated Press: McCain On A Mission Of Redemption, Flying Closer To Alone
By Calvin Woodward


Time’s Real Clear Politics Blog: Head To Head In Florida
By Tom Bevan


Associated Press: Did Romney Up Taxes Or Close Loopholes?
By Steve LeBlanc

BOSTON -- Mitt Romney's Harvard MBA and gold-plated resume convinced many business leaders he would follow in the tradition of corporate-friendly Republicans when he was elected governor of Massachusetts in 2002.

Within three years, some had a vastly different opinion, after Romney's efforts raised the tax bill on businesses by $300 million as part of a multifaceted plan to eliminate a state budget deficit estimated from $2.5 billion to $3 billion.

Romney, who is now running for president declaring he never raised taxes as governor, says he merely closed "loopholes" in the tax code. Business leaders see things differently.

"These certainly were tax increases and a new source of revenue for the commonwealth," said Brian Gilmore, executive vice president of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, the state's largest business lobbying group.

"His indicating that he balanced a budget without raising taxes is misleading at best," Gilmore added. "We respectfully disagree."

Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said the loophole closings were more about tax enforcement than tax increases.

"In cases where companies were using aggressive accounting to escape their tax liability in a way that was never intended by the law, we closed those loopholes," he said.

Nonetheless, Romney's tax loophole fervor was so infectious, it caught the attention of the Legislature's most liberal lawmakers, who ended up offering to help him hunt down more gaps in the tax laws.

They pushed Romney to roll back tax breaks approved in the 1990s to benefit defense and mutual fund companies like Raytheon and Fidelity _ a suggestion he rejected.

"There's going to be a lot of debate over the definition of what is a loophole and what is a break and what is a tax," Romney said during his first year in office.

On the stump, Romney boasts that he is the first Republican presidential candidate to sign a no-new tax pledge offered by the conservative Americans for Tax Reform. He did so in January, a day after he concluded his term as governor.

While Romney refused to sign a similar pledge in 2002 _ Fehrnstrom labeled it "political gimmickry" at the time _ today he criticizes GOP rivals like Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Fred Thompson for not following suit.

He has also tried to winnow the GOP primary fight to a contest between him and Giuliani, in part by noting the former New York mayor sued to kill the presidential line-item veto in 1997 and the Supreme Court eventually found it unconstitutional.

Romney also lambastes Giuliani for threatening to sue former New York Gov. George Pataki, a fellow Republican, when he challenged a $400 million tax on commuters coming to New York City. The state Legislature repealed it in 1999.

Romney, however, speaks much less about his work raising tax revenues from businesses while courting fiscal conservatives and other Republican primary voters.

One of the biggest tax "loopholes" identified by Romney were real estate investment trust subsidiaries created by banks to hold mortgages. Parent banks received dividend income from the trusts and took advantage of deductions to lower their state taxes.

"The biggest loophole closing involved banks that were calling themselves real estate companies in order to avoid bank taxes," Fehrnstrom said. "Those were the types of abuses we stopped. That's called tax enforcement."

Revenue officials said there were between 50 and 60 real estate investment trust subsidiaries in Massachusetts when Romney signed the law in 2003 barring them and retroactively collecting the taxes back to 1999.

The banks sued and eventually reached a settlement with the state to pay about half of the retroactive taxes.

Businesses were also angry at Romney's incremental approach to tighten those laws.

Romney proposed such "loophole" closures over three successive years, but he hit a wall in 2005. Pressure from business leaders forced him to cut in half a proposal for $170 million in tax loophole closures. He also had to abandon a plan to give the state's top revenue officials authority to pursue corporations that lowered their tax bills by transferring profits outside Massachusetts.

"The thing that was irritating about it is that he kept coming back the following year. At that point, I was thinking, 'You already had your shot at the apple,'" said Bill Vernon, state director for the National Federation of Independent Business. "When you continue to do that, it has a negative impact on business."

Estimates of the total revenue increase generated by the business tax loophole closings range from about $300 million, as calculated by the national anti-tax Club For Growth, to $400 million, as calculated by the Associated Industries of Massachusetts.

The efforts to tighten tax laws are part of a larger, more complex history of Romney's tax record.

While governor, he succeeded in pushing a one-year rebate of $275 million in retroactive capital gains taxes, as well as tax credits for investment, manufacturing and research and sales tax holidays.

Romney and lawmakers also approved hundreds of millions in higher fees and fines during his four years in office.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

McCain Articles Maps and Media 11/1/07

McCain more Competitive Against Clinton Than Giuliani - State stats and map

TV Ad - Guts

New McCain TV ad highlights corruption fight

Fox News: John McCain Stresses Opposition To Mandatory Health Insurance,2933,307101,00.html

Politico’s Martin Blog: McCain Mail Hits SC

National Review’s Campaign Spot Blog: Team McCain's Strategy Memo: Only Our Guy Keeps Conservatives AND Beats Hillary

By Jim Geraghty

Since this cycle began, Rudy Giuliani has promoted himself as the most electable Republican candidate against Hillary Clinton.

A little while back, we noted that GOP voters were starting to see Fred Thompson as almost as likely to beat Hillary. Of course, the suggestion that Hillary Clinton gets about 48 percent against all of the top candidates, including Ron Paul, might argue that electability is a fairly small distinction among the top GOP candidates this year.

The McCain camp is ready to make the case that their man is the one who is most electable where it counts. And they’ve got nifty colorful graphics to prove it in their latest Strategy Memo, found here.

Their argument relies on Survey USA polls from fourteen states matching Hillary Clinton up against Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, conducted since mid-October. Expecting the argument that other polls may show better head-to-head matchups for other candidates, the memo from Rick Davis argues, “It is important to use a single polling company to evaluate states across the country so that you do not pick and choose polls that might be favorable. For the purposes of this analysis we have standardized using the Survey USA Polling firm that has run the most state‐by‐state polls across the country.”

In a nutshell, they say that there are three states where McCain performs better than Giuliani where both lead Hillary significantly: Arkansas, Kansas and New Mexico.There are four states where McCain beats Hillary, but that Giuliani loses: Virginia, Washington, Ohio and Kentucky.

There are three states that McCain is trailing Hillary, but still matches up better than Giuliani does: Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Missouri. In two states they do equally lousy against Hillary: Iowa and Oregon.

And their central point is the states that Giuliani performs better than McCain – New York and California, are two states where Hillary is way ahead anyway.

Is the argument compelling? In its broadest outlines, yes. Some will quibble about using only SurveyUSA, but polls have generally shown McCain running fairly well head-to-head against Hillary nationally, and he’s always demonstrated a certain capacity to bring over independents. (The L.A. Times, polling registered voters instead of likely voters, put her up by 10. Among recent polls of likely voters, Hillary’s up 1, up 1, up 2, up 6, and up 2.)

There are a few results a little surprising in this mix – would McCain really perform better than Giuliani in Washington state? And they’re both are losing Missouri right now? If the Show-Me State is looking blue in 2008, it’s going to be a tough year for the GOP.

We can pick at the details, but I think this memo is the birth certificate of a new argument from the McCain camp that GOP primary voters ought to chew over: “Some of my rivals match up well against Hillary (Giuliani); some of my rivals won’t irk social conservative Republicans (Thompson). I’m the only one who can do both.”

(How did I get my hands on this McCain campaign strategy memo? I knifed one of his guys in an alley.)