WASHINGTON-Following the curious political tradition of saying what you’re going to say before actually saying it, Republican Senator and evident Presidential hopeful in thought if not yet in word John McCain told the media he would formally announce his run for the Presidency in early April.
McCain’s last bid for the White House ended in his primary loss to current President George W. Bush; Bush’s subsequent administration served as an indication in the shift of priorities and values of the Republican party, and McCain, seen as a bit of a maverick by GOP standards, has long set himself up as a candidate more on par with Reagan, promising to bring the party back to its core tenets following the 2006 midterm loss to the Democrats. Yet at the same time he has often taken Bush’s side, most notably in his support for the war in Iraq, including his vocal agreement with the need for more troops. He was also an active campaigner for Bush’s re-election in 2004, even after supposedly being asked to serve as a running mate for, of all people, Democratic challenger John Kerry.
When campaigning against Bush for the 2000 election, McCain presented himself as the more moderate and less theocratic of the two candidates, boasting an impressive record as a war hero to boot. This time, McCain’s presentation of himself as a “common-sense conservative” may be more relevant than ever, given the Democratic challenge of the Republican party’s failure to meet fiscal and moral responsibilities. Still, he will have to make amends with those in the party that he has split from or angered if he expects to win the primary.
McCain’s announcement of his announcement took place during a taping for the popular television program “Late Night with David Letterman”. The media-savvy candidate may have some catching up to do within his own party; he is behind the polls against former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and financially behind former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. He also faces challenges from these two men in that he comes from a background of legislative rather than executive experience, not historically the easier branch of government to feed directly into the Presidency.
McCain’s intentions to run again have never been secret, of course, but the deliberately delayed timing of the formal announcement raises eyebrows, even as the Senator lays groundwork for his run. With his in-party and potential Democratic challengers already heated up and ready to go, it’s clear this race is far from over.
“McCain to formally announce bid in April”, Yahoo! News, February 28, 2007.