Posted: July 23, 2007 5:03 PM
McCain Seeks to Move Beyond Campaign Turmoil
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has hit the stump in recent days as he tries to return some stability to his troubled campaign. On Saturday, McCain traveled to New Orleans for a fund raiser and press conference. During his media appearance, McCain reiterated his support for the war in Iraq and said he would not call for Sen. David Vitter, R-La., to resign. Of Vitter, who admitted recently he had used a Washington, D.C. prostitution service, McCain said, “I’ve always been one not to judge the conduct of others. That’s a decision he and his family would have to make.”
Then on Sunday, the senator visited Urbandale, Iowa, where he met privately with supporters to reassure them about his presidential prospects. Afterward, he talked with reporters and asserted that he will be competitive in Iowa. He also expressed a desire to put the recent troubles of his campaign behind him. In response to a question about his campaign organization, he said, “I will not respond to any more questions about process. I did that for two weeks. I cut down at least three forests’ worth of paper being written on it.”
McCain continues his Midwestern trip Monday with a speech at the Economic Club of Southwest Michigan in Benton Harbor. The Associated Press reports that he said if elected he would call for eliminating the alternative minimum tax and clamp down on government spending through vetoes, including a line-item veto. In his prepared remarks, the senator said, “Give me the pen, and I’ll veto every single pork-barrel bill Congress sends me, and if they keep sending them to me, I’ll use the bully pulpit to make the people who are wasting your money famous.”
Last week, two memos about McCain’s new campaign strategy were leaked to the press. The memos were distributed during a meeting with McCain’s supporters on Capitol Hill. Chris Cillizza of Washingtonpost.com wrote in his blog that the memos compared McCain’s campaign to that of Ronald Reagan in 1980 and that the senator will focus on the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. And, Cillizza wrote, the memos say the key for McCain will be to “spend less” and “raise more.”
To that end, new campaign manager Rick Davis tried to rally supporters in an e-mail message sent July 18. He talked about McCain’s speech on the Senate floor during the overnight debate on the war in Iraq. Davis lashed out in particular at one of the Democratic front-runners in the presidential race, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who voted to withdraw troops from Iraq. Davis wrote, “Do we have the courage to stand up and fight for victory? Or will we settle for Hillary Clinton’s vision of retreat and defeat? John McCain has reminded us time and again that the consequences of withdrawal from Iraq are catastrophic, which is why we must stand strong for victory.”
Looking ahead, McCain plans to remain in Michigan on Tuesday for fund-raising events and then fly to New Hampshire in the evening. On Wednesday, he is slated to appear at a meet the candidate forum and two town halls. He will have more campaign events in the Granite State on Thursday and is expected to be in New York on Friday.