Welcome to GulfCoastNews.com

McCain tries to salvage lagging campaign

From: Mississippi Democratic Party - TERRY R. CASSREINO (Released as received at GCN 5/31/07)

JACKSON (Thursday, May 31, 2007) – Republican Presidential candidate John McCain is in Mississippi today raising money in hopes of salvaging his lagging campaign.

A new poll out this week shows McCain nationally at just 15 percent and trailing both Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney in the Republican primary race. According to Rasmussen Reports on May 29, this is significant because “McCain had a 6-point advantage over Romney just two weeks ago.”

The news follows a series of struggles for McCain’s campaign stemming in part from his shifting positions on issues like campaign finance reform, immigration reform and even support for ethanol.

The do-anything-to-win approach led McCain to dismal results in first quarter fundraising, poorly received retooled speeches and an announcement tour with little energy and small crowds. [The New York Times, 4/4/07; washingtonpost.com, 4/24/07; The Chicago Tribune, 4/25/07; The Washington Post, 4/26/07]

“John McCain’s do-anything-to-win approach to the GOP primary has made him unelectable,’” said Mississippi Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Dowdy.

“By continuing to embrace President Bush’s failed strategy on Iraq and through his pandering by shifting positions on everything from campaign finance and immigration reform to his opposition to ethanol, there’s no straight talk left in new establishment candidate McCain. Mississippians want strong leadership, not the type of political expediency that’s becoming the calling card of Republican presidential candidates.”

Below is a fact sheet on McCain’s struggles and Double Talk:

False Start for McCain:

  • Trailing the Rest Of the Pack, McCain Was Forced to “Overhaul” His Fundraising Operation.  After a disappointing first quarter of fundraising, and taking increased criticism for his position on the Iraq war, Sen. McCain “overhauled” his campaign finance operation and announced that he would delay “the official announcement of his candidacy.”   [The New York Times, 4/4/07]
  • And Fire a Large Chunk of His Campaign Staff, Including His Finance Director.  Amid an array of finance concerns, McCain’s “troubled” campaign was forced to eliminate a number of positions from its staff, a number they would not “quantify exactly.”  Soon after, McCain also fired his finance director, a “longtime fundraising consultant” to the senator.  [The Associated Press, 4/11/07; The Washington Post, 4/24/07]
  • McCain Skips the South Carolina Republican County Conventions and Loses the Straw Polls.  South Carolina Republicans were angered when McCain decided to skip the Greenville, Spartanburg and Richland county conventions.  “I thought that McCain missing these South Carolina conventions was a major error in his strategy,” said Spartanburg County Republican Party Chairman Rick Beltram.  County voters rewarded McCain’s absence with very poor showings in their straw polls.  [CNN, 4/23/07]

McCain Misfiring on Iraq:

  • First McCain Claimed it was Safe to Walk Around Baghdad Neighborhoods... “McCain’s latest problem began before he left for the region, when he told Bill Bennett on the radio that ‘there are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk today.’ After Michael Ware of CNN’s Baghdad bureau accused the senator of living in ‘Neverland,’ McCain charged that it’s reporters who are living in a ‘time warp of three months ago.’” [Newsweek, Alter, 4/16/07 edition]
  • Then McCain Was Forced to Admit he “Misspoke”...  Headlines soon after McCain’s trip called his statements “propaganda” and a “magic-carpet ride.”  The Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon, declared: “Brainwashed McCain is a straight-talker no more.”  An op-ed in the Rocky Mountain News called McCain’s staged walk through a Baghdad market “a truly Orwellian publicity stunt,” that was turned into a “desperate attempt to give some sliver of credence to claims that the dreaded ‘liberal media’ are failing to report on all the wonderful things happening in Iraq. Chastened, McCain issued a half-hearted apology a few days later, saying he ‘misspoke’ when he pointed to his little walk under the protection of several platoons from the world's most powerful military as evidence of Baghdad's excellent shopping opportunities.”  [The Washington Post, 4/7/07; Rocky Mountain News, 4/10/07]

McCain Straddling the Fence on Immigration Reform:

  • In 2005 McCain Called For Documenting Illegal Immigrants And Providing Them A Path To Citizenship.  McCain, through his Kennedy-McCain immigration reforms, “want(s) to allow undocumented workers who participate in a guest worker program to be able to stay in America and apply for permanent residency or citizenship after paying fines and satisfying other requirements.” [Los Angeles Times, 11/29/05]
  • In an Effort to Please Conservatives, McCain Turned His Back on Immigration Reform. “McCain’s hesitancy about joining (Sen.) Kennedy on the same issue they worked together on in the previous Congress,” The Boston Globe reported, “speaks to an emerging dynamic in the Republican presidential race. McCain has encountered anger from hard-line immigration foes on the campaign trail, particularly over an aspect in last year’s bill that would have allowed most undocumented immigrants to work toward citizenship.” [The Boston Globe, 3/22/07; The New York Times, 3/20/07]
  • But Then Parachuted In at the Last Minute to Take Credit, and Lash Out at a Republican Colleague. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) reportedly criticized McCain during the immigration compromise announcement, saying, “I’ve been sitting in here for all of these negotiations and you just parachute in here on the last day. You’re out of line.” McCain responded by accusing Cornyn of “making a ‘chickens-t’ argument to try to sink the delicate immigration package” and shouting, “(Expletive) you! I know more about this than anyone else in the room.” [Washingtonpost.com, 5/18/07; Roll Call, 5/21/07]

McCain Turning His Back on Campaign Finance Reform:

  • McCain Won His Reputation As A Champion Of Campaign Finance Reform.  The New York Times described McCain as a “champion of strict government regulation of campaign spending,” and noted that campaign finance reform was “the issue that propelled his presidential campaign in 2000.”  [The New York Times, 10/22/01]
  • Now McCain Says He Will Only Accept Public Financing if His Opponent Agrees to do the Same.  McCain agreed to “accept the public financing and live within the general election limits if his opponent were to do the same.”  [The Washington Post, 4/5/07]

###