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McCain alarms base with abortion comment
Politico ^ | 8/14/2008 | Jonathan Martin

Posted on 08/14/2008 8:54:39 PM PDT by Alter Kaker

Top social conservative leaders in key battleground states are urging John McCain not to pick a running mate who supports abortion rights, warning of dire consequences from a Republican base already unenthused about their nominee.

McCain’s comments Wednesday to the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes that former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge’s pro-abortion rights views wouldn’t necessarily rule him out quickly found their way into the in-boxes of Christian conservatives. For those who have been anxiously awaiting McCain’s pick as a signal of his ideological intentions, there was deep concern that their worst fears about the Arizona senator may be realized.

“It absolutely floored me,” said Phil Burress, head of the Ohio-based Citizens for Community Values. “It would doom him in Ohio.”

Burress emailed about a dozen “pro-family leaders” he knows outside Ohio and forwarded it to three McCain aides tasked with Christian conservative outreach.

“That choice will end his bid for the presidency and spell defeat for other Republican candidates,” Burress wrote in the message.

He and other Ohio conservatives met privately with McCain in June, and while the nominee didn’t promise them an anti-abortion rights running mate, his staff said they could “almost guarantee” that would be the case, Burress recalled.


Now, Burress said, “he’s not even sure [Christian conservatives] would vote for him let alone work for him if he picked a pro-abortion running mate.”

James Muffett, head of Michigan’s Citizens for Traditional Values, met with McCain along with a handful of other Michigan-based social conservatives Wednesday night.

“A good portion of us were urging him to pick a pro-life running mate,” Muffett said, noting that they were doing so before even getting wind of the Standard story. “That choice would go a long way to solidify his credentials.”

Muffett said McCain didn’t offer any promises on the issue, but rather reiterated his anti-abortion record and assured them that he was aware of how critical the base was to the electoral success of Republican presidents dating back to Ronald Reagan.

To select a running mate who supports abortion rights would be “wrong-headed, short-sighted, fracture the Republican Party and not allow us to capitalize on the Democratic Party’s fracture right now,” Muffett argued.

“If he does that, it makes our job 100 times harder. It would dampen enthusiasm at a time when evangelicals are looking for ways to gin up enthusiasm.”


McCain, Muffett said, got that message in their meeting.

“Some people in the movement say it would be the kiss of death. He heard that in the room last night.”

With polls showing McCain and Obama still neck-and-neck in many competitive states, conservatives argue that their candidate must turn out Christian conservatives in large numbers to win.

In Iowa, for example, many in the GOP say Bush won in 2004 after losing there in 2000 because he bolstered turnout among the religious right in the conservative western part of the state and in exurban areas.

“Bush only won by 10,000 votes,” recalled Steve Scheffler, president of the Iowa Christian Alliance and a Republican committeeman from the state. “You’re going to have to have a huge turnout of that base again for McCain to win.”

And, Scheffler noted, it’s not just a matter of ensuring that social conservatives vote – picking a supporter of abortion rights could erode McCain’s volunteer base.

“Ninety percent of the workforce for Bush in ’04 came out of that constituency,” he said, alluding to the Christian right. “Picking a Ridge or a [Joseph] Lieberman would not be helpful at all.”

Rep. Peter Hoekstra, who represents a conservative, heavily Dutch district in western Michigan where Republicans traditionally pile up huge margins, said a pro-abortion rights running mate “would be problematic.”

“That’s not where they’d want him going,” Hoekstra said of the party base.

McCain’s campaign sought to tamp down the uproar, suggesting the candidate had merely been overly expansive about a sensitive topic and hadn’t intended to float a trial balloon.

“The point that McCain was making is that people can differ on one issue and still be a vital member of our party,” said an aide. “The fact that Governor Ridge is not perfectly in line with the party platform does not make him any less of a Republican.”

In the interview, McCain said “the pro-life position is one of the important aspects or fundamentals of the Republican Party.”


“And I also feel that — and I'm not trying to equivocate here — that Americans want us to work together. You know, Tom Ridge is one of the great leaders and he happens to be pro-choice. And I don't think that that would necessarily rule Tom Ridge out [for vice-president].”

He added: “I think it's a fundamental tenet of our party to be pro-life, but that does not mean we exclude people from our party that are pro-choice. We just have a — albeit strong — but just it's a disagreement. And I think Ridge is a great example of that.”

The GOP base aside, some observers believe that picking an outside-the-box running mate such as Lieberman could help McCain with the broad middle of the country who are fed up with the political status quo and enable him to pick off even more Clinton backers.

“This move to a pro-choice running mate such as Lieberman could help reshape his message to appeal to swing voters,” said Doug Schoen, a Democratic pollster who worked for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg when he was a Republican and has written a book about moving away from the two-party system. “The right-wing is not going anywhere and choice is a key issue for over-40 women who voted for Hillary in the primaries.”

But to some in the GOP who supported other candidates in the primary and are having trouble mustering much enthusiasm for McCain, the mere mention of a pro-choice running mate is disheartening.

“A lot of the troops here are on the fence or disappointed,” said Elizabeth Sipfle, a Michigan Republican and former leader of Mike Huckabee’s grassroots “Huck’s Army” organization who contacted Politico to register her concern. “Let’s not get our blood boiling.”


“Be smart,” she urged McCain. “There’s a big group here that’s already feeling marginalized.”


TOPICS: Front Page News; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2008veep; abortion; gopcoup; mccain; mccainlist; rino; rinorevolution; tomridge
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1 posted on 08/14/2008 8:54:39 PM PDT by Alter Kaker
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To: Alter Kaker

Read Between the Lines.

No Abortion Litmus Test for Vice President means No Abortion Litmus Test For a Supreme Court Justice.


2 posted on 08/14/2008 8:57:36 PM PDT by trumandogz
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To: Alter Kaker; Das Outsider

I believe that Government is not to blame for this wholesale slaughter of the innocent. Moral decisions come from Bible-Torah literacy, (Psalm 139), not from legislation. Roe v. Wade aside, we have not been forced to kill our babies. Abortion statistics are staggering because we (yes, I mean Judeo-Christians) have chosen to murder our unborn.

I believe that liberals have used the abortion debate to divide and conquer. We need to stop this naive militancy. In Deuteronomy 11, God tells us clearly how to raise moral people.

“And you shall teach them (God’s statutes and ordinances… V1) to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.” V19.

Though separation of church and state cannot be found in the Constitution, the following might be a better way to view the concept… Morality is personal and none of the Government’s business. Anything otherwise is kin to dictating religion.

I believe that the Government is a business and should be run as a business. We should elect a fiscally conservative leader. We should elect a military leader. We should elect a Godly leader. Moreover, we should be informed and not easily swayed by an anti-American agenda disguised as “concern”. It is nothing but pathetic, alarmist rhetoric. Abortion and terrorism are both wars against humanity. But the battleground for the unborn should be waged from the home (church), not the Supreme Court!


3 posted on 08/14/2008 8:58:01 PM PDT by Jo Nuvark (Those who bless Israel will be blessed, those who curse Israel will be cursed. Gen 12:3)
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To: Alter Kaker
Wow, I'm glad we have the MSM to honestly, with no bias, tell us what a candidate means when they say something.. I mean jeeze.. if it weren't for the MSM, the letters VP wouldn't be found anywhere in McCain's statement... boy, I'm sure glad I don't have to think for myself.. just trust the MSM...
4 posted on 08/14/2008 8:59:35 PM PDT by mnehring (http://www.heyobamababy.com/obama_baby_cool_cat.htm)
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To: Alter Kaker

McDole is a douche bag, no doubt about it.


5 posted on 08/14/2008 8:59:41 PM PDT by Nonstatist
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To: Alter Kaker

“That’s not where they’d want him going,” Hoekstra said of the party base.”

Ha! As if McCain cares what we think.

He had better not dare choose Tom Ridge or Loserman.


6 posted on 08/14/2008 8:59:44 PM PDT by GOPGuide
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To: Alter Kaker

If McCain picks a pro-abortion vp he is toast. There is nothing that will get evangelicals to support him after that.


7 posted on 08/14/2008 8:59:55 PM PDT by Maelstorm (John McCain is ready to be commander in chief)
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To: Alter Kaker

Comrade Juan McNuts is not Conservative.


8 posted on 08/14/2008 9:00:37 PM PDT by Uncle Miltie (Bernanke is a Monetary Slut!)
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To: Jo Nuvark

Sorry, but McCain is a tool and an enabler of the Left.

I’ll vote for the jerk, but I’ll need a dose of Ipecac and a bath afterwards.


9 posted on 08/14/2008 9:00:58 PM PDT by Westbrook (Having more children does not divide your love, it multiplies it.)
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To: Jo Nuvark
we have not been forced to kill our babies

Not generally in this country, but most definitely the case in China.

In this country, it is kind of borderline when an organization such as Planned Parenthood, which receives government i.e. taxpayer money, encourages and facilitates a teenage mother's abortion without her parent's knowledge.

10 posted on 08/14/2008 9:01:52 PM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by nature, not nurtureĀ™)
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To: Jo Nuvark

That is a strange position. What is law, except legislated morality.

Given your argument, murder in all forms would be legal.


11 posted on 08/14/2008 9:02:20 PM PDT by Marie2 (Everything the left does has the effect and intent of destroying the traditional family.)
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To: Alter Kaker
"it would be the kiss of death."

Both literally and figuratively. If McCain picks a pro-abort VP, it would be the first time in my adult life I do not vote for the Republican--after nine times of doing so.

12 posted on 08/14/2008 9:03:34 PM PDT by Charles Henrickson (GO CUBS GO! RECREATE '08! 1908!)
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To: Maelstorm
If McCain picks a pro-abortion vp he is toast. There is nothing that will get evangelicals to support him after that.

Like I said in an earlier thread, even if he doesn't end up picking a pro-abortion VP (which would ensure his loss), the fact that he says he'd even consider it is a real problem for me.

13 posted on 08/14/2008 9:03:47 PM PDT by mngran2
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To: Jo Nuvark

I totally agree... on principle that is.

In America we have a Christian standard that was the original intent of the founders. They saw we would fall without that moral code.

Now if the legislature and judicial branch of government rule that killing babies is alright, we need to kick them out and start over with people who believe more in our original focus... a God-centered nation.

On the other hand, I don’t expect the government to teach my children not to have abortions any more than I believe it is the governments responsibility to raise and educate my children. We are responsible for ourselves and anyone else we bring into this world.

If our children are deceived it’s because they either took advantage of free will, or that we failed in training them up in the way they should go.

You have spoken mighty well.


14 posted on 08/14/2008 9:06:00 PM PDT by Gordon Greene (www.fracturedrepublic.com)
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To: mngran2; trumandogz
Like I said in an earlier thread, even if he doesn't end up picking a pro-abortion VP (which would ensure his loss), the fact that he says he'd even consider it is a real problem for me.

Exactly. It says that if he's President he'd probably consider a pro-abort attorney general, pro-abort district court judges, pro-abort appellate court judges, and pro-abort supreme court justices. Abortion is clearly not an issue McCain that cares about, and he's not even interested in listening to his base.

15 posted on 08/14/2008 9:07:19 PM PDT by Alter Kaker (Gravitation is a theory, not a fact. It should be approached with an open mind...)
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To: trumandogz

Ok We did not send him money.


16 posted on 08/14/2008 9:07:54 PM PDT by fatima
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To: Jo Nuvark
I believe that Government is not to blame for this wholesale slaughter of the innocent.

Unplanned Nonparenthood supports and encourages such, surprisingly, in government-run schools. But why do they have so much power?

Abortion and terrorism are both wars against humanity.

And devil-may-care mass migration is a war against what nation we have left. We need to fight all of these battles on their respective fronts.

No man-made institution can possibly save us. Go back to the basics.
17 posted on 08/14/2008 9:07:55 PM PDT by Das Outsider (They're here. Deport now. Pay less to Mexico.)
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To: Alter Kaker

If he chooses as his VP candidate someone who supports abortion, that’s it, I won’t vote for him. No ifs, ands, or buts. Murder of babies is where I draw the line. I’ve forced myself to just get over it on his immigration stance, his globull warming policies, and his back-stabbing of conservatives. I’m already ashamed of myself, but I despise Obama. If he caves on the abortion issue, that’s it, that’s my line in the sand.


18 posted on 08/14/2008 9:09:11 PM PDT by mrsmel
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To: Marie2; Das Outsider; steve86; Westbrook

I’m just saying this post Christian nation has no
authority to decide if there is life in the womb.

We’ve lost our way. Now that we are secular, let’s
stick to nation management and leave moral instruction
for parents.


19 posted on 08/14/2008 9:09:14 PM PDT by Jo Nuvark (Those who bless Israel will be blessed, those who curse Israel will be cursed. Gen 12:3)
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To: Alter Kaker

If McCain picks a pro-choice VP candidate, I’ll probably sit this one out.

It would be both a slap in the face and a knife in the back to grass roots supporters.


20 posted on 08/14/2008 9:10:33 PM PDT by newberger (Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death!)
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