The Corner

McCain vs. Romney

ARLINGTON, VA — U.S. Senator John McCain delivered the following remarks to the New Hampshire Republican Party in Manchester today, Saturday, October 13th:

Thank you for that kind introduction.  It is an honor to speak to you. 

I don’t usually do this but I’m going to depart for a moment from the issues I want to talk to you about today.  One of the other Republican candidates made an extraordinary statement yesterday.  Former Governor Romney yesterday proclaimed himself the only real Republican in this race.  As we all know, when he ran for office in Massachusetts being a Republican wasn’t much of a priority for him.  In fact, when he ran against Ted Kennedy, he said he didn’t want to return to the days of Reagan-Bush.  I always thought Ronald Reagan was a real Republican.

When Governor Romney donated money to a Democratic candidate in New Hampshire, I don’t think he was speaking for Republicans.  When he voted for a Democratic candidate for President, Paul Tsongas, I don’t think he was speaking for Republicans.  When he refused to endorse the Contract with America, I don’t think he was speaking for Republicans.  And when he was embracing the Democratic position on many major issues of the day, I don’t think he was speaking for Republicans.

So you’ll understand why I’m a little perplexed when Mitt Romney now suggests that he’s a better Republican than me, or that he speaks for the Republican wing of the Republican Party.

I think I’ve gotten to know the people of New Hampshire pretty well.  I know that before I can win your vote, I have to win your respect.  And to do that, you expect me to be honest with you about what I believe.  You might not always agree with me on every issue, but I hope you know I’m not going to con you.  The most important thing we have in this life is our self-respect.  And I’m not going to trade mine for anyone’s vote or for any office.  I’m going to tell you what I believe and let the chips fall where they will.  I’m confident New Hampshire Republicans feel the same way about your self-respect as I feel about mine. 

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