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February 21, 2006
Will McCain Successfully Woo Conservatives?

ABC News profiles the efforts of John McCain to attract conservative support for his expected run at the 2008 presidential nomination, an effort that looked like a dead letter several months ago. After angering the base on several issues -- campaign finance and judicial nominations chief among them -- McCain now wants to consolidate his support among moderates while attracting enough conservatives to remain viable:

In recent months, McCain has taken several steps to court his party's base: he has endorsed teaching intelligent design alongside evolution; he has backed a ban on gay marriage in his home state of Arizona; he has met with the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

He has also described former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., as "the finest leader we've had" and questioned the commitment of media darling Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., to ethics reform . And to top it off, he recently said he wouldn't be bothered if Roe v. Wade were overturned since he's never supported it.

But far more important to McCain's conservative resurgence has been his opposition to what he calls wasteful spending and his commitment to persevering in Iraq.

ABC never asks about the Gang of 14 and the BCRA, two issues with which conservatives have split -- painfully -- with McCain. Any analysis of his chances for a primary victory have to take those schisms into account. When asked to stand up for conservative jurists, McCain balked and legitimized the obstructionist tactics of the Democrats, kneecapping fine judges like Henry Saad and Brett Kavanaugh. He also pushed through Congress one of the worst abridgments of political speech in American history, the BCRA, which forbids private citizens and groups the right to buy advertisements for their candidates within 60 days of an election -- and also seeks to regulate Internet websites for their involvement in politics, potentially including this one.

Conservatives may wind up with no choice but McCain in 2008, as the pickings look slim so far. If it comes down to McCain against Hillary Clinton, they'll support the former ... but not enthusiastically. Look for the conservatives to rally around a George Allen or Mike Huckabee before they surrender to McCainia

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 21, 2006 6:40 AM

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Captain's Quarters links to an ABCNews piece about how Lt. Commander Philip Francis Queeg Sen. John McCain hopes to court conservatives for his 2008 exercise in futility presidential run. In recent months, McCain has taken several steps to cour...

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Tracked on February 21, 2006 3:34 PM


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