On Late Edition, Wolf Blitzer aired a clip of Roberta McCain saying that she did not think her son, Sen. John McCain, "has any" support among the Republican base. Gloria Borger said, "[N]ow we know where McCain gets all the straight talk from. We think it's his mother." Both Borger and Blitzer went on to refer to McCain as a "maverick."
On the January 27 edition of CNN's Late Edition, after host Wolf Blitzer aired a C-SPAN clip of Roberta McCain saying she did not think her son, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), "has any" support among the Republican base, CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger said, "[N]ow we know where McCain gets all the straight talk from. We think it's his mother." Both Borger and Blitzer went on to refer to McCain as a "maverick." Borger commented that McCain's mother is "telling the truth. The base of the Republican Party has never been enamored of John McCain." Blitzer asked, "Because he's a maverick, he's independent?" Borger agreed, "He's a maverick," but then went on to say that "what he has done in this election is he's gotten a lot of establishment support." Media Matters for America has documented frequent and consistent references in the media to McCain as a "maverick," despite his rightward shifts on issues such as immigration and taxes.
Later in the segment, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin stated that "no American politician has gotten more adoring press coverage than John McCain." Referring to McCain's recent attacks on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney regarding Iraq, Toobin added, "But let's be clear about what John McCain is doing about Mitt Romney. He's lying. He's lying about Mitt Romney's position, no question about it."
When asked about his mother's comments on C-SPAN during the January 24 Republican presidential debate, McCain took issue with his mother's assertion, claiming that he had "won the majority of Republican vote in both New Hampshire and South Carolina." In fact, exit polls showed that Romney received slightly more Republican support than McCain in New Hampshire and that Mike Huckabee edged him out among Republican voters in South Carolina.
From the January 24 Republican presidential debate, hosted by MSNBC's Brian Williams:
WILLIAMS: Senator McCain, next question to you. In an interview with our friend, Steve Scully over at C-SPAN, your mother, who has come up in the campaign once or twice, at the age of 95, your mother, Roberta, said that the Republican Party is going to have to, quote, "hold its nose and pick you," her son, "as the nominee." In all seriousness -- and moms get a special exemption -- it's a notable --
McCAIN: Thank you very much.
WILLIAMS: -- it's a notable quote, because she expresses a view you hear around the GOP, because you haven't voted with your part on some core stances, like taxes and judges and immigration and campaign reform.
How do you expect to unite a party behind you?
McCAIN: In all due respect, I love the way you throw all those together. I'm so proud of my record on judges, that those of us who got together and got Justice [Samuel] Alito and [John] Roberts and so many judges together, and I won't go list by list there, but -- point by point.
But, look, I won the majority of Republican vote in both New Hampshire and South Carolina. Most conservative Republicans' major concern is the threat of radical Islamic extremism.
I'm making my case that I can make America safe and safer, I can restore trust and confidence and that I can make the needed changes to have the fundamentals of our economy which are still strong bring us through these difficult times.
Conservative Republicans are also concerned about climate change that we just mentioned, because of their belief in their stewardship of this planet and our stewardship.
There's many people who are concerned and have a priority, the independence of the state of Israel. They know that I know how to keep Israel independent, as well.
So I'm proud of the broad base of support. I will continue to work in every way to show people that I have a very, very conservative record. I'm proud to be a conservative.
But there are times, like when [former Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld's strategy was going wrong, I was criticized by Republicans. When I opposed the "bridge to nowhere," that was a Republican policy. When I went after [disgraced lobbyist] Jack Abramoff, there were people who -- Republicans who suffered from that.
When I saved the taxpayers $6 billion in a bogus tanker deal, that was a Republican policy deal there. So there are times and the reason why I've had such strong support amongst independents is because they know that I'll put my country above my party every single time, and I'm proud to be a conservative.
From the January 27 edition of CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer:
BLITZER: One of the best sound bites, Gloria, of the week, was the mother of John McCain, Roberta McCain, who's 95 years old, asked by Steve Scully on C-SPAN -- this exchange. Listen to this.
[begin video clip]
STEVE SCULLY (C-SPAN anchor): How much support do you think he has among the base of the Republican Party?
ROBERTA McCAIN: I don't think he has any. I don't know what the base -- those are probably -- maybe I don't know enough about it, but I've not seen any help whatsoever.
[end video clip]
BLITZER: All right. That's his mom speaking out bluntly. You've got to love her.
BORGER: Yeah. She also went on to say they're going to hold their noses and have to vote for him. Well, now we know where McCain gets all the straight talk from. We think it's his mother.
He made light of it, but honestly, she's telling the truth. The base of the Republican Party has never been enamored of John McCain.
BLITZER: Because he's a maverick, he's independent?
BORGER: He's a maverick. But what he has done in this election is he's gotten a lot of establishment support. You talk about Florida. Last night, he got the endorsement of the very popular governor, Governor [Charlie] Crist [R], there, lining up establishment to help him out in states like South Carolina and Florida. That could make all the difference for McCain.
TOOBIN: But speaking of straight talk, no American politician has gotten more adoring press coverage than John McCain. But let's be clear about what John McCain is doing about Mitt Romney. He's lying. He's lying about Mitt Romney's position, no question about it. And, you know, I think that this idea that Mitt Romney supports timetables -- now, in fact, most Americans support timetables to get out of Iraq. Mitt Romney doesn't happen to be one of them. But that's really outrageous what McCain is doing, bringing up this ancient interview and distorting it at the last minute, so he doesn't have to talk about the economy.