From last night’s Special Report with Brit Hume:
MORT KONDRACKE: Look, McCain is not inevitable by a long shot. He got 30 percent of the conservative vote in South Carolina. He . . . did not carry Republicans in South Carolina. He won because of independents and moderates and liberals, to the extent that there are any.
So he’s got to prove somewhere that he can win the support of Republicans and conservatives. And so far, he has not proved that. . . .
FRED BARNES: [I]t will take a lot of work by John McCain convincing conservatives that he is one of them. He’ll have to repudiate what he has done not in the last year, but the seven years before that, which was sort of to poke ’em in the eye and develop ties to Democrats. . . .
MARA LIASSON: I think winning Florida would be a very important thing for John McCain and that will help some people get over their McCain problem. Not all of them, but he doesn’t need all of them.
KONDRACKE: And if Hillary is the nominee, that will help. If you’re Rush Limbaugh, would you rather have John McCain or Hillary Clinton?
—On Barack and Hillary—
BARNES: Look, Hillary Clinton isn’t John F. Kennedy or Franklin Roosevelt. She’s a very flawed candidate. I chuckled when I heard what she was saying. It’s so typical of the Clintons—attacking their opponent for what is their own very strong weakness.
And certainly truth-telling is one of Hillary Clinton’s weaknesses, so what do they attack Obama on? What he says about Iraq and his Iraq record is “a fairy tale.” Nobody has shifted one’s position more, and more often, depending almost every week on whether there is a Democratic debate or not on television, than Hillary Clinton on Iraq.
I tell you, the Clintons, they are brazen. And they do have poor old Obama in the position where since Bill Clinton gets so much media attention, and he doesn’t have any bigwig who can step out and respond to Bill Clinton. He has to respond to Bill and respond to Hillary. And he is spending all his time responding, and that’s not good.
KONDRACKE: You remember in 1988, Bob Dole was opposing George Bush the First, and he famously said “Quit lying about my record!”
Well, he lost. And anybody who is in the position of constantly saying stop lying about my record, and Obama, in fact, says it much more politely than that, is going to lose, because he can’t go on the offensive against his opponent.
All I can say is I feel sorry for him, but if he can’t deal with the Clintons, how is he going to deal with Ahmadinejad or Putin?