MSNBC says McCain to show "loyalty" to Bush by pulling out of straw poll
Edited on Fri Mar-10-06 01:27 PM by flpoljunkie
this weekend at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis. What the man won't do to try and curry favor with Bush's base--huge megadonors--those who wanted the Dubai port deal to go through and are, no doubt, on the big donor list Bush recently gave McCain.
2008 is GOING to be here sooner or later (sorry, Dumbya, but according to our system AS CURRENTLY IN PLACE, you've GOT to leave in '09) and since when is it "disloyal" to at least throw your hat in the ring? This stinks of some sort of deal (as noted above).
The first campaign paraphernalia targeting straw poll voters is a sticker that urges people to write in President Bush and "Focus on 2006" and "Support Our President."
The stickers are ubiquitous. A senior Republican strategist tells the Hotline that McCain supporters are behind the effort. A very on-message organizer of the campaign insists that the stickers are simply a grassroots effort to channel Republicans' proper energies toward 2006.
Update: the "Bush supporters" now have 11 x 14 printed signs. This isn't some "grassroots" idea, it's an organized effort; we're continuing our search for the folks who are paying for it.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will urge SRLC conference registrants tonight to write in the name of Pres. George W. Bush when they vote in the Hotline's '08 presidential straw poll.
McCain, in a copy of his prepared remarks distributed to reporters by a top adviser, says that "straw polls are entertaining, my friends, even extremely early ones." But "I think we have bigger things to worry about. So if any friends here are thinking about voting for me, please don't. Just write in President Bush's name. For the next three years, with the country at war, he's our President, and the only one who must have our support today."
An aide to a rival campaign called McCain's decision to try and opt out "a ploy" and predicted that most straw poll voters would find it too cute by half. Another said he was "not surprised" because McCain was not expected to do well in the straw poll anyway. Still, Bush retains significantly higher job approval ratings among southern Republicans than just about any other democraphic group.
Republican sources said that Gov. Haley Barbour, in his planned remarks, also intends to ask attendees to support Pres. Bush in the straw poll.
Hotline editor-in-chief Chuck Todd said, "We thank Sen. McCain for raising the profile of the straw poll and for acknowledging that the results matter."
So what if Republicans don't follow McCain's advice? Would that be interperted as a bigger repudiation of McCain than a poor straw poll showing? Alternatively -- even if SRLCers aren't moved by McCain's gesture, would it play well with Republicans across the country who aren't subject to the elite's interpretation of straw polls?
22. McCain is clearly playing the "expectations" game. Hmm. I thought his
star was supposed to be rising with the Dixiecrat crowd. Apparently not. I guess they don't respect a candidate who panders to them for 6 years after they kicked him in the balls in 2000. Who would have thunk it?
And then there is this delicious dollop of deep-fried Dixie revenge served up this morning by Trent Lott via CNN's Morning Grind:
"Sen. Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) told the Grind he believes the poll -- that will be conducted by The Hotline at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference -- is 'a rigged deal' and should not serve as a barometer to determine who might be the best candidate for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008. 'Frist is bussing people in,' Lott said, referring to Senate Majority
Bill Frist (R-Tennessee), whose political organization is working to ensure he wins this unscientific early test of election viability. 'These are not real delegates. These are people being bussed in to produce the results. It is a rigged deal. It doesn't matter.'"
More on the Frist/Lott tension from somebody who knows a thing or two about the South and national politics. Mississippi native/longtime Boston Globe political reporter Curtis Wilkie was quoted in this morning's Memphis Commercial Appeal as saying "it's an understatement to say" that Frist won't be able "to count on Senator Lott's support." Wilkie: "And generally, when you have a candidate coming out of a region, it's not helpful when you have a major player from that region being not only not supportive but very much opposed to you."
Remember, Lott will be squiring John McCain around at the reception tonight for all those Mississippians who made the drive up I-55.
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