Archive for Thursday, February 7, 2008

McCain seals GOP nomination as Romney suspends campaign

February 7, 2008


(AP) - John McCain effectively sealed the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday as chief rival Mitt Romney suspended his faltering presidential campaign. "I must now stand aside, for our party and our country," Romney prepared to tell conservatives.

"If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror," Romney will say at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

"This is not an easy decision for me. I hate to lose. My family, my friends and our supporters... many of you right here in this room... have given a great deal to get me where I have a shot at becoming President. If this were only about me, I would go on. But I entered this race because I love America, and because I love America."

McCain prevailed in most of the Super Tuesday states, moving closer to the numbers needed to officially win the nomination.

Overall, McCain led with 707 delegates, to 294 for Romney and 195 for Huckabee. It takes 1,191 to win the nomination at this summer's convention in St. Paul, Minn.

"I disagree with Senator McCain on a number of issues, as you know. But I agree with him on doing whatever it takes to be successful in Iraq, on finding and executing Osama bin Laden, and on eliminating al-Qaida and terror," Romney said.

Romney's departure from the race came almost a year after his formal entrance, when the Michigan native declared his candidacy on Feb. 12, 2007, at the Henry Ford Museum of Innovation in Dearborn, Mich.

Over the ensuing 12 months, Romney sought the support of conservatives with a family values campaign, emphasizing his opposition to abortion and gay marriage, as well as his support for tax cuts and health insurance that would benefit middle-class families.

"We need to teach our children that before they have babies, they get married," he told voters at his campaign events.

But he was dogged by charges of flip-flopping, a criticism that undermined the candidacy of another Massachusetts hopeful - John Kerry in 2004. In seeking to unseat Sen. Edward M. Kennedy in 1994, Romney said he would be a better advocate for gay rights than his rival and he favored abortion rights.

Throughout his campaign, Romney was questioned by voters and the media about his Mormon faith. Hoping assuage voters skeptical of electing a Mormon president, Romney gave speech on Dec. 6 in College Station, Texas, that explicitly recalled remarks John F. Kennedy made in 1960 in an effort to quell anti-Catholic bias. He vowed to serve the interests of the nation, not the church, if elected president.

In early voting Iowa, Romney sought votes by casting himself as the guardian of the Reagan-era conservative triad - a three-legged stool, as the candidate put it - of a strong national defense, strong economy and strong families.

Fueled by what would grow to more than $35 million of personal donations, his campaign hired top-notch staff in the early voting states, and Romney scored an early win when his organization topped the field at the Iowa Straw Poll in August.

By that time, the national front-runners, McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, had virtually ceded the lead-voting state to Romney.

Instead, McCain focused on New Hampshire, second on the calendar, while Giuliani employed an untested strategy of waiting out the early primary contests and instead staking his candidacy on a strong showing in the Jan. 29 Florida primary.

Romney's goal was to score back-to-back wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, clearing the field and creating momentum to roll through Florida - where he enjoyed the support of top aides to former Gov. Jeb Bush - and seal the nomination in the Super Tuesday contests.

Instead, Romney was beaten Jan. 3 in Iowa by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a former Southern Baptist minister who received an unexpected outpouring of support in the caucuses from voters identifying themselves as evangelicals.

Five days later, Romney suffered a second consecutive defeat in New Hampshire, when McCain won the primary in part with the support of independents attracted to his self-styled maverick campaign.

Romney, who headed the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, tried to cast each defeat in competitive terms, saying his second-place finishes amount to "silver medals." He also highlighted the "gold" he won in between and in the little-watched Wyoming caucuses.

Nonetheless, Romney took a cue from Huckabee's win, as well as Democrat Barack Obama's Iowa upset of rival Hillary Rodham Clinton, as a sign voters wanted change in Washington.

On the stump, he retooled his speech to harken back to the theme he broached in Dearborn, that America's future, and that of its government, were dependent on innovation. His campaign also hung new banners reading, "Washington is Broken," as well as a to-do list Romney would complete as president.

Romney and McCain went head-to-head in the Jan. 13 Michigan primary, and Romney won, in part by highlighting his background as a business consultant and venture capitalist. When McCain acknowledged what seemed to be obvious, that not all of Detroit's lost auto industry jobs would be recovered, Romney pounced.

He accused the senator of pessimism, outlining a $20 billion industry recovery package and telling audiences in economically ailing Michigan, "I will fight for every single job."

Romney also tweaked his stump speech to criticize McCain for stating that he was more familiar with foreign affairs and military matters than economic issues.

Highlighting his 25-year business career, he told audiences, "Senator McCain says the economy is not his strong suit; well, it is my strong suit."

As the calendar progressed, however, McCain picked up a big-ticket win in the Jan. 19 South Carolina primary. Romney instead focused on his victory in the Nevada caucuses the same day.

Ten days later, the two squared off again in the Florida primary, where McCain scored a major upset after winning endorsements from the state's two top elected Republicans - Gov. Charlie Crist, a popular figure who had previously said he planned to remain neutral in the race, and Sen. Mel Martinez.

McCain also retaliated for the negative ads that Romney aired against Huckabee in Iowa and him in New Hampshire. In a state with a large population of active-duty military and veterans, the former naval aviator accused Romney of favoring a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

Romney denied the charge, and the April 2007 interview McCain cited as justification for his criticism made no such clear declaration, but the senator ended up beating Romney in the primary. Most telling, he outpolled Romney among voters saying the economy was their most important issue.

The following day, Giuliani dropped out of the race and endorsed McCain. A day later, popular California Gov. Arnold Schwarzeneger announced his endorsement of McCain, reflecting a coalescing of Republican support behind the senator as he approached a Super Tuesday showdown with Romney.

Romney's final pitch was to label McCain a liberal like Clinton and Obama, a charge tantamount to heresy in the GOP. He was backed by conservative media voices like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, as well as former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

"We want the leader of our party to be somebody who stands up for Republican principles, who lives in the house that Reagan built, who makes sure our future stays bright," Romney said Monday.


ndmoderate 10 years, 4 months ago

Outstanding news. Let's now watch the far right wing of the Republican party implode as it is forced to choose between McCain and....McCain.

Kinda spells trouble (t-o-r-t-u-r-e, that spells trouble) for the ultra wingers in favor of torture as a national policy, eh?

fourkitties 10 years, 4 months ago

Did you guys ever hear what Romney did to his dog one time?

Paul R Getto 10 years, 4 months ago

Mc Cain, if he is wise, will put Huckabee on the ticket or promise him a cabinet post. It will be interesting to see how the R's handle this situation. I predict some of them will stay home, not vote Democratic to "save" the Republican Party. Hope Rush doesn't have a heart attack!

beatrice 10 years, 4 months ago

McCain, if he is wise, won't put Huckabee on the ticket. Huckabee doesn't believe in evolution, for god's sake! He is one of those people who believe people and dinosaurs were on the earth at the same time, like in the Flinstones. McCain will be wise if he picks a moderately conservative candidate, like himself, to appeal to a broad spectrum of the population, not just select someone with an extreme viewpoint to appeal to Republican's religious extremists. Geez!

If Romney truly believed that continuing the battle with McCain would give a victory to the Democrats, which he would hate to see, then I'm sure he won't mind giving the money he would have spent on his own behalf to the McCain campaign. Sure he will. My guess is that Romney realized he didn't want to spend any more of his own money on an obviously lost cause.

toefungus 10 years, 4 months ago

Could this be the end of faux conservatism? I am hopeful for good old fashioned fiscal conservatism and smaller government. The religious right has been used by these neocons to grow our federal government beyond all reason.

Steve Jacob 10 years, 4 months ago

McCain has a LONG way to go to unite the party. If not for winner-take-all primaries it would still be a three way race to the end.

Jim Phillips 10 years, 4 months ago

"ndmoderate (Anonymous) says:

Outstanding news. Let's now watch the far right wing of the Republican party implode as it is forced to choose between McCain and:.McCain"

Well nd, here's how I see it. First of all, the libs have three candidates to choose from, Clinton, Obama, or McCain. While we true conservatives are not wild about that idea, it's ok. Sometimes you have to give people what they want just to prove a point.

We'll be back if four years to clean up the mess.

ndmoderate 10 years, 4 months ago

I think it depends on what your definition of 'true conservative' is, Guardian.

For example:

If someone thinks W is a true conservative, then they are out of their effing mind.

If someone thinks Mitt "Who Let the Dogs Out" Romney is a true conservative, then they are similarly out of their effing mind.

I'm not saying that you think those things, Guardian, so no offense intended.

(For the record, I think fiscal conservatism can--I stress the word 'can'--be a good thing for the US. Conversely, I think social conservatism is un-American.)

dagopman 10 years, 4 months ago

No sensible, reasonable person would want another Clinton or Bush in the White House. Period.

Hoots 10 years, 4 months ago

I wish we could get some real change. The American people give Congress and the Senate the lowest approval ratings ever and then they vote for McCain and Clinton. Yeah, that's CHANGE.

Like believing you're going to drop that extra 100 pounds by eating 3 meals a day at McDonalds. Here we go again with the same old thing and everyones going to be unhappy in 41/2 years again...Geez. The people who tell it like it is and truly say something never get elected. We just love to be lied to and bury our heads deep in the beach.

Jim Phillips 10 years, 4 months ago

"...of the people, by the people, and [screw] the people."

Navin_R_Johnson 10 years, 4 months ago


i see you define "moderate," "considerate," and "logical" as, well... "liberal."

typical of leftist pro-Nanny Staters to think a good election is determined by a lack of any real alternatives among candidates. it would seem modern liberalism has achieved its vision of constitutional usurpation, Orwellian socialization and soft tyranny in the manufacturing of two marginal candidates whose differences are exactly zero.

statists are pleased I know, because in the highly unlikely event that Hillary actually loses you still get to have her with McCain: more war, more social spending, more obliteration of liberty and national sovereignty, more dilution of the dollar and a rapid expansion of currency killing government superstructures.

congratulations to the liberals, you win (i suppose). all you did the past 8 years is whine that you wanted an alternative to Bush; i thought you guys would have at least looked for one.

again, congrats.

beatrice 10 years, 4 months ago

DL - "... a lot of people will turn out at the polls to make sure Hillary is not our next president."

And us Dems saw how well that worked out for us on the last go-round. Relying on a vote against one person, rather than making sure you have someone to vote for, will never win the election.

rt, wait a second. Are you saying FoxNews is more interested in pushing an agenda, or "cheerleadering" as you put it, than actually presenting the news? I'm Shocked! Who would ever think that the people at FoxNews aren't fair or balanced in their views? Shocking I tell ya.

It is time to face the fact that Americans have had enough of the Social Conservative agenda. It is about time that the majority in the Republican party came to their senses and kicked the NeoCon extremists to the curb.

Jim Phillips 10 years, 4 months ago

Yes, because Dubya's done such a bang-up job with the "mess" of a thriving economy and budget surplus that the last Democrat WH left us:.

Just a minor correction to your thought. Congress controls the budget, not the President.

beatrice 10 years, 4 months ago

Just knowing how upset rt is right now, sitting all grumpy and gloomy in his little neocon hole he calls home just makes me smile. Oh what a glorious day.

I wonder if McCain will have Liberman as a running mate? Or will it be Ted Kennedy?

Navin_R_Johnson 10 years, 4 months ago


"Yes, as liberals tend to have more education, (logical), tend to be nicer to their fellow man, (aka considerate), and seem to be open to different ideas, (aka moderate), then I guess I did mean that Mccain was more "liberal", thanks for helping me with that Navin:"

no problem atheist, you're welcome. i hadn't seriously considered that any of this was such a brain teaser.

oh, and beatrice you should embrace the neo-cons with a bit more of that liberal "consideration" anxiousatheist speaks of; they are the best political allies you could possibly have.

Jim Phillips 10 years, 4 months ago


I'll briefly tell you what it means to me,

The Constitution is NOT a living , breathing document that has to be interpreted.

Fiscal responsibility and forget about sharing the wealth or corporate bail-outs.

Small government/small controls/small taxes.

Life ain't fair--deal with it!

Everyone should be responsible for their own actions

Help those who TRULY need it and end the government handouts for those too lazy to make their own way.

As far as religion is concerned, I don't believe it to be a conservative or liberal point of view. Religion is a personal issue. Let's leave it that way.

Hope this helps.

By the way, I agree with your idea about Condi Rice.

50YearResident 10 years, 4 months ago

The "War Monger Wins" how sad for the United States of America...

Navin_R_Johnson 10 years, 4 months ago


"Was it as good as it always is for you, Navin?"

as always. if prefer it to the noncommital blandness and resulting coital frustration afforded by centrist androgyny.

regarding your 3:53, i'd like to hear what supposed conservatives define as conservatism today, myself.

blahblahblah 10 years, 4 months ago

It's great that McCain will get the nod. He's like a million years old. No one in their right (or left, I suppose) mind would vote for a senior citizen. I heard him speak the other day, and it was like listening to my grandpa. I wanted to give him a high five (well, I guess a mid-five on account of the whole arm thing...)

dagopman 10 years, 4 months ago


For once we agree on something, let's hope there is no BIllary in our future.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 10 years, 4 months ago

"Just a minor correction to your thought. Congress controls the budget, not the President."

Bush is the one who wanted to go to invade another country, he has veto power. It's the war that is going to bankrupt this country, just like the Afghanistan war bankrupted the Soviet Union.

Keith 10 years, 4 months ago

"Agnostick (Anonymous) says:

I see Navin R Johnson has been (a)roused from his sleep for another exciting and deeply-satisfying round of Liberal Masturbation.

Was it as good as it always is for you, Navin?"

At least he finally discovered what his "special purpose" was for.

zbarf 10 years, 4 months ago

It ain't over.....

Romneys people go to Huckabee, the only conservative. Mccain isn't liked and it will quickly show.

Neither will beat Obama.

I'll take anyone but Clinton!

beatrice 10 years, 4 months ago

agno, I'm afraid to say, but rt is right on this one. Condi is way too closely tied with everything the current administration represents. She would drag McCain down. Colin Powell, perhaps, but not Condi. Not now.

dl, you are absolutely incorrect about what the Dems are doing this time around. They aren't running against Bush or as the anti-Bush party, but as the party that is needed to clean up what Bush has messed up. Many are very excited about Clinton, and the fact that she is a woman is enough for some to see here as a candidate for change. Plus, except for social conservatives, many people loved Bill Clinton (no pun intended) and would love to see him back in the White House, even as first mate.

Having such close contact to a former president seems like a great thing to me. I never understood why W. insisted on making such a point of his not consulting with his father. Why not? Presidents know things that others do not. Why not tap into that resource if available?

The funny thing about all of this is that on many issues Clinton is probably the most conservative of the three candidates. Choke on that one Rush Limbaugh!

This is going to be an election that this liberal is actually excited about!

jonas 10 years, 4 months ago

"typical of leftist pro-Nanny Staters to think a good election is determined by a lack of any real alternatives among candidates. it would seem modern liberalism has achieved its vision of constitutional usurpation, Orwellian socialization and soft tyranny in the manufacturing of two marginal candidates whose differences are exactly zero."

This paragraph is so full of liquid #@$% that it's leaking out between the keys on my keyboard. Get over yourself.

mick 10 years, 4 months ago

"Bomb, bomb Iran" (Barbara Ann) sings McCain. He does not have the emotional maurity to be president.

Navin_R_Johnson 10 years, 4 months ago

Navin posits: "typical of leftist pro-Nanny Staters to think a good election is determined by a lack of any real alternatives among candidates. it would seem modern liberalism has achieved its vision of constitutional usurpation, Orwellian socialization and soft tyranny in the manufacturing of two marginal candidates whose differences are exactly zero."

Jonas opines: "This paragraph is so full of liquid #@$% that it's leaking out between the keys on my keyboard. Get over yourself."

Navin replies: oops!! it would seem ol' Navin has preached heresy to the constituency of the status quo. bad Navin, bad Navin.

poor monetary policy, weak dollar, war, welfare state, IRS, Fed, erosion of State's rights, high debt, career politicians, identity politics, dual-party monopoly: all good;

Navin bad.

Get over yourself.

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