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McCain caters to GOP voters
But Mr. McCain’s list is growing fast — possibly because he brings a longer record — and is coming on signature issues that bear his name, such as the McCain-Kennedy immigration proposal.
The problem for Mr. McCain, says one Republican strategist unaffiliated with any campaign, is that his appeal to voters is based on his willingness to stick to his own convictions.
“It’s a little bit hard to be driving that Straight Talk Express while sipping that French nuance,” said Michael McKenna, a Republican pollster.
Cliff Kincaid, president of America’s Survival Inc., who has been a leader in fighting the sea treaty, said Mr. McCain did what he had to do to keep his campaign afloat.
“Senator McCain was a victim of pro-treaty propaganda, engineered by Navy lawyers, previously stacked Senate hearings, and [Indiana Republican Sen. Richard G.] Lugar’s misleading claims in favor of the pact,” Mr. Kincaid said. “To his credit, McCain has wised up. His decision should definitely help prevent his presidential campaign from sinking like the Titanic.”
The treaty is likely to survive a vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, but Republicans are gearing up for a bruising floor fight.
Last week, Mr. Thompson and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney announced their opposition to the treaty, following the lead of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is trying to turn the issue into a major campaign point. And yesterday, Mr. Giuliani also came out in opposition, calling it “fundamentally flawed.”
Mr. McCain’s statement to bloggers was somewhat more equivocal that Mr. Giuliani’s. Mr. Bluey, who is also director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Media & Public Policy, said it appeared Mr. McCain “was trying to leave himself some wiggle room.”
Mr. McCain said there is a need for a law of the sea, with some tweaks.
“I have not frankly looked too carefully at the latest situation as it is, but it would be nice if we had some of the provisions in it. But I do worry a lot about American sovereignty aspects of it, so I would probably vote against it in its present form,” he said, according to a transcript posted by Mr. Bluey.
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