August 28th, 2008
10:05 AM ET

What Bush Taught McCain

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/28/art.vert.bushmccain.jpg width=292 height=320]

Joe Klein
AC360° Contributor
TIME columnist

The woman, a venture capitalist from the Denver area, looked a bit like Cindy McCain, and so it was disconcerting when she announced, in a focus group of undecided voters conducted by the Republican pollster Frank Luntz, that she had decided she just couldn't vote for John McCain this year. "I supported him enthusiastically in 2000, but he's hired the same people who ran him into the ground last time to run his campaign," she said. McCain's tone was more negative now. "It breaks my heart."

Most people don't care about the consultants a candidate hires — very few handlers achieve the celebrity status of a Karl Rove or a James Carville. Most voters who supported McCain in 2000 but not this year have more obvious gripes: they don't like the way he's shaved his policy positions to approach Republican dogma. They may remember that he opposed the Bush tax cuts before he favored them...


soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    During the primaries when McCain was running against Huckabee, his friend, the tone of the campaign was civil and positive – at least what I saw was. Where did that man go? McCain's negative ads are a true disappointment; I thought we would finally have a election cycle where negativity was not the tool of choice to use against your opponent. I'm sorry that its come to this but mostly I am very disappointed in McCain.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 28, 2008 at 6:17 pm |
  2. MIKE

    In the 2000 election I would have voted for McCain, not because I'm a registered republican, but I really thought that he stood for something other than the special interest groups he railed against in that campaign. Now it seems all is forgotten and forgiven regarding the smear tactics that Bush/Rove used to defeat him and he will say and vote for those same issues that seemed to seperate him from the rest of the main stream politicians, whether it was democrats or republicans. Now I have no choice but to vote for Obama, if for no other reason that the country can not tolerate another four more years of the republican agenda.

    August 28, 2008 at 5:55 pm |
  3. Melinda

    Everyone is speculating whether or not McCain is going to suspend good manners and try to upstage the Dem convention by announcing his vice president pick on Friday. You don't have to delve very deeply into history to find an answer. Take, for example, the revolotionary war and the complaint from the redcoats that American soldiers fought like Indians, and would not stand out in the open to be shot at like well mannered soldiers. Sooner or later anything regarded as good manners gets violated in a fight. Call it bad manners, or evolution – the idea that the parties are giong to allow each other to make their case uninterrupted is ,unfortunately, obsolete.

    August 28, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  4. Mark Cowan

    Its Very sad to see a man sell his soul like McCain has done with his use of the attack ads these past few weeks. I have lost all respect for him. I would like to think that maybe he's getting senile and just lets others talk him into it, but I am afraid his real lack of charatcter is getting the best of him. This is the real John McCain who cheated on his wife, lied about his affair with Cindy to his wife and children while he was still living at home for nine months ( even lied about his age to Cindy ), and then lied to us all. He is trying to appeal to the fears, prejudice, and worst in all of us in this election at a time when the country can't afford this kind of dishonest politics. Rebublican in PA.

    August 28, 2008 at 12:22 pm |
  5. Nicole

    Since the primaries ended the only thing I've heard from McCain is that if we elect Obama we will be killed by terrorist because he doesn't have the experience to handle national security issues.

    I agree that national security is a real issue but I want someone in office that have good judgement to make the right decision not only for himself but the right decision for the American people. I want someone that will result to war as a last option. It's unfair to our men & women in uniform otherwise!

    August 28, 2008 at 11:40 am |
  6. Cindy

    Nice try at another hack job of McCain. How about telling about Obama's ties to Biden's lobbyist son. How he has gotten earmarks for Hunter Biden! Won't go there will ya!?

    McCain's ads are working because they are the truth underneath it all. Dems don't like it because their dirty little secrets are being exposed. You know what they say....if you can't handle the heat get out of the kitchen!


    August 28, 2008 at 10:39 am |
  7. Ros Johnson

    I heard McCain talk about getting someone who has his values, he must be talking about John Edwards. I dont hear any of you guys talking about his first marriage which was ended because he was having an affair with Cindy wife number 2. What kind of values is that.
    I hear you guys on TV inspecting everything Obama says or does, why layoff of McCain. Republicans are ready to down Obama but they never bring this up. LETS BE FAIR WITH THE REPORTING.

    August 28, 2008 at 10:26 am |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The only logical reason John McCain hired the same people who ran him into the ground in 2000 is because they too agreed to Bush's policy 95% of the time. Therefore, McCain's VP pick would also be one who agrees with Bush 95% of the time just like McCain otherwise they would not be compatible and of course McCain's temperment is not going to allow anyone to disagree with him.

    August 28, 2008 at 10:14 am |