Team McCain Conference Call

posted at 11:05 am on March 28, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

After a one-week hiatus, the John McCain campaign resumed its regular blog conference calls this morning. The team has a new ad out and a new focus on the general election, and the campaign wanted to focus on his upcoming “Service to America tour”. Steve Schmidt and Jill Hazelbaker emphasized the importance of the blogosphere in communicating themes to voters, and this is a major theme for the McCain campaign — especially the emphasis on service. Schmidt insisted that the campaign would focus more on the future than the past. They promised humor and self-deprecation in his accounts of his life, perhaps a slap at the messiah complex at play in the Obama camp and the self-aggrandizing lies of Hillary Clinton.

Apparently, the candidate himself was not available today, which made the first part of the call less valuable. Schmidt wound up reading to us from a schedule and a press release; it would have made more sense just to send it to us. He wanted to give us a scoop by reading some advance quotes of the upcoming speeches, but he spoke too quickly for us to use any of it.

He did better explaining the themes himself. Schmidt talked about this as a “formal introduction” process, and promised an engagement on character and biography as well as experience. The first question seized on that, asking about Barack Obama’s association with Jeremiah Wright and the choice of Tony McPeak as a military advisor. “You have never had a situation where two Presidential candidates refuse to acknowledge the reality of the enemy’s intentions,” Schmidt responded. He called McPeak’s statements “disturbing”, and Obama’s statements on Iraq an example of the difference between his rhetoric and his actions.

  • Hugh Hewitt asked about specifics on promises to expand the military. Schmidt wants to allow McCain to give the specifics, including anything on the Navy.
  • John Hawkins asked my question about the SAVE Act, whether McCain is blocking its passage. Schmidt said Shuler may have “had one too many encounters with a linebacker”, and that his accusations are “false”.
  • Me: Will McCain address the issue of Juan Hernandez on his campaign? Schmidt says that anyone on the campaign supports McCain’s view, not the other way around. When I challenged him on his point regarding McPeak, which assumes the opposite, he said that Obama’s positions will be what the American public evaluate. Schmidt says that the GOP have rallied behind McCain and that his positions on immigration “could not be clearer”.
  • Jennifer Rubin on Obama’s views on taxes — will they be addressing them? Schmidt says that McCain will be talking extensively about the economy. “Barack Obama at his core believes that the rich in this country includes anyone making over $75,000 per year.” These are working families, struggling to pay mortgages and paying for college for their children. Tax increases would have a disastrous effect on the economy.
  • Doug Lambert wonders whether the team will go for a series of Lincoln-Douglas debates instead of the normal quiz-show format. Schmidt says that McCain wants a substantive debate on issues, but that Obama avoids talking about the issues and sticks with distortions and personal attacks.

Schmidt did a good job handling the questions. Even without McCain, the dialogue is good for both the bloggers and the campaign, keeping everyone sharp. I’d like to see McCain add some conservatives to his advisers on immigration for balance and to give everyone a little more confidence in his approach to border security, and I think having Hernandez on the campaign detracts from McCain’s attack on McPeak.

However, Schmidt is correct in saying that everyone understands McCain’s policy positions on immigration, and that his track record is open and obvious, while Obama’s positions on military and foreign policy are anything but. Also, one should note that Hernandez is an unpaid volunteer; McPeak has an official position with the Obama campaign, one Obama desperately needs for credibility on military matters.

Update: The reference to “one too many hits” was made about Shuler by Schmidt, but my construction was poor. I’ve corrected it now.

Update II: Amanda Carpenter gives us a thumb’s up.


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Schmidt

that’s Schuler. Not a football fan, are you, Ed?

peacenprosperity on March 28, 2008 at 11:09 AM

Schmidt says that McCain wants a substantive debate on issues,

if the republicans leave the debates in the hands of the usual msm suspects it doesn’t matter what the format is. barry will get softballs and mccain will get “Do you still beat your wife” questions.

peacenprosperity on March 28, 2008 at 11:11 AM

McPeak has an official position with the Obama campaign, one Obama desperately needs for credibility on military matters.

The credibility mcpeak brings to the campaign with his comments about jews is that the suspicians of barry’s racism are credible.

peacenprosperity on March 28, 2008 at 11:13 AM

McPeak has an official position with the Obama campaign, one Obama desperately needs for credibility on military matters.

Obama talking about the military is like a Farmer speaking in terms of Oil and Gas and Exploration.

Scares the absolute hell out of me!

upinak on March 28, 2008 at 11:20 AM

Schmidt said Schuler may have “had one too many encounters with a linebacker”, and that his accusations are “false”.

Better?

Chakra Hammer on March 28, 2008 at 11:21 AM

Me: Will McCain address the issue of Juan Hernandez on his campaign? Schmidt says that anyone on the campaign supports McCain’s view, not the other way around.

Yup, they both want to reward illegal invasion.

Who-hoo! I’m pumped for McCain!!!

Darksean on March 28, 2008 at 11:23 AM

Also, one should note that Hernandez is an unpaid volunteer;

Doesn’t Hernandez still draw his paycheck through that Soros funded group that McCain started, then left when it received some public exposure?

a capella on March 28, 2008 at 11:25 AM

Wow Ed’s good.

Chakra Hammer on March 28, 2008 at 11:27 AM

Schmidt says that the GOP have rallied behind McCain and that his positions on immigration “could not be clearer”.

Gotta throw the BS flag on this one. McCain clearly is for amnesty but the GOP has not rallied behind Triceratops- that’s why McCain is skulking around Congress pandering to Democrats by killing off meaningful legislation to protect our borders.

highhopes on March 28, 2008 at 11:27 AM

Me: Will McCain address the issue of Juan Hernandez on his campaign? Schmidt says that anyone on the campaign supports McCain’s view, not the other way around. When I challenged him on his point regarding McPeak, which assumes the opposite, he said that Obama’s positions will be what the American public evaluate. Schmidt says that the GOP have rallied behind McCain and that his positions on immigration “could not be clearer”.

Good question, bad answer….

funky chicken on March 28, 2008 at 11:33 AM

Anyone who served in the Air Force during the Tony McPeak era needs no reminders of why someone like Obama would trot him out as an “advisor.” McPeak did all he could to destroy the effectiveness and morale of the service as Air Force Chief of Staff. It took a general officer with titanium cohones to fall on his sword and ensure that McPeak did not become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Each time a Democrat uses him to try to prop up their credibility, I have to wonder if they have any idea what the real military thinks of McPeak…trotting out this idiot only confirms how unfit Obama really is to be Commander in Chief.

on the Mark... on March 28, 2008 at 11:34 AM

McPeak did all he could to destroy the effectiveness and morale of the service as Air Force Chief of Staff.

The McPeak uniform tinkering wasn’t THAT bad! ;-0

Seriously, all my AF friends get rabid at the very mention of McPeak’s name to the point I was very surprised that he was trotted out as a “military expert” by Obama.

highhopes on March 28, 2008 at 11:37 AM

Great question Ed. It can only benefit us to be asking the hard questions internally. I just wish McCain would take the hint.

blankminde on March 28, 2008 at 11:46 AM

A dog is truly a man’s best friend. If you don’t believe it, just try this experiment. Put your dog and your wife in the trunk of the car for an hour.

When you open the trunk, see which one is really happy to see you!

Same holds true of McCain. The GOP has been forced to accept Triceratops because he was the last candidate standing. That doesn’t mean we are happy to see him.

highhopes on March 28, 2008 at 11:49 AM

How about the moonbat blog that falsely charged McCain with plagiarism?

corona on March 28, 2008 at 11:52 AM

How about the moonbat blog that falsely charged McCain with plagiarism?

corona on March 28, 2008 at 11:52 AM

It’s the 21st century, the internet is filled with bogus blogs and false information. Campaigns simply have to combat the lies as part of their strategy. From what I’ve seen McCain is still campaigning like it is 1969.

highhopes on March 28, 2008 at 11:59 AM

I’d like to see McCain add some conservatives to his advisers on immigration for balance and to give everyone a little more confidence in his approach to border security

Because his stance on immigration is clear, this isn’t going to happen.

PappaMac on March 28, 2008 at 12:00 PM

McCain and his advisors want to change the party by reaching out to moderates and liberals. Obviously, there are some of us who don’t care for him and never will. McCain has done nothing to consolidate his support with the base.

With this it is increasingly obvious that the McCain doesn’t so much seek to win in November as his advisors seek to change the make-up of the Republican party.

Angry Dumbo on March 28, 2008 at 12:05 PM

How is McCain going to counter the “love” for Obama from his accolytes?
Read this:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/3/28/01135/2219/303/485841
Some excerpts:

It is fascinating to me how Obama seems to be inspiring eloquent works of art. It makes my heart cry for joy and sing in the stars.

Man…anybody else as inspired as I am — not only by Obama, but also by the art and stories inspired by him?

Damn you Barack
You piss me off
because you have me daring to believe in you

Don’t lead us on, man, deliver your promise. You can do it. Don’t give up on the morons in Penn. Tell them about you. You can do it, dude. Don’t let us down.

Post of the Fucking Century
Seriously, it does not get better than this. If I wasn’t married, I’d propose to what’s her name.

I seriously believe these people are insane.
There will be riots if Obama isn’t the nominee or if he loses the GE.

ArmyAunt on March 28, 2008 at 12:05 PM

I seriously believe these people are insane.
There will be riots if Obama isn’t the nominee or if he loses the GE.

Make some popcorn and watch the dogs and hoses do their work.

peacenprosperity on March 28, 2008 at 12:14 PM

How am I not getting invited to these? They don’t want me to turn against them!

frankj on March 28, 2008 at 12:15 PM

Make some popcorn and watch the dogs and hoses do their work.

peacenprosperity on March 28, 2008 at 12:14 PM

HAHAHAH!!
Good One~

ArmyAunt on March 28, 2008 at 12:21 PM

There is nothing clear about McCain’s immigration stance. His position has already changed substantially since his CPAC speech. During the campaign, he said that he would not move forward with an amnesty until the border state governors certified that the borders were secure. At CPAC, he said he would not move forward until there was a “widespead consensus” that the border was secure. Within the past couple of weeks he swithched back to the border state governors line in an interview with Hannity. Is this Schmidt’s idea of clarity?

Mark1971 on March 28, 2008 at 12:45 PM

his positions on immigration “could not be clearer”.

I agree. He showed his a$$ with Teddy Kennedy and Lindsy Graham. I have not forgotten his true leanings.

Judgement to lead ….help lead the invasion of the US.

saiga on March 28, 2008 at 12:49 PM

Steve Schmidt and Jill Hazelbaker emphasized the importance of the blogosphere in communicating themes to voters, and this is a major theme for the McCain campaign — especially the emphasis on service.

I, on the other hand, think its more important for the bloggers to keep asking McCain the tough questions about border security and amnesty for illegals.

Hopefully, the right-side bloggers will politely invite the McCain campaign to file their ‘blogging points.’ Otherwise, the next 30 weeks or so will be like the last, where every right of center pundit filed a ‘”100 days in Iraq” is Unfair to McCain’ story, on cue. Over the long haul, that kind of stuff will kill blogging.

james23 on March 28, 2008 at 12:49 PM

I seriously believe these people are insane.
There will be riots if Obama isn’t the nominee or if he loses the GE.

ArmyAunt on March 28, 2008 at 12:05 PM

Insane is polite; they are down right stupid. Obama is a Chicago 7 wolf in sheeps clothes. Louis Ferrikhan would make a good running mate for him because they tink alike.

saiga on March 28, 2008 at 12:52 PM

Thanks Ed, its nice having a ringside seat!

dmann on March 28, 2008 at 12:54 PM

If McCain wins with the votes of a large percentage of Republicans he will claim a mandate on illegal immigration and begin the process of given citizenship to those who are here, even if the border is not secure. I just can’t be a part of giving him that mandate.

Rose on March 28, 2008 at 1:00 PM

given = giving, sorry.

Rose on March 28, 2008 at 1:01 PM

Thank you Ed for asking the Juan Hernandez question. Unfortunately his answer sucked. But we already knew his position on illegal immigrants. It couldn’t be clearer!

brtex on March 28, 2008 at 1:06 PM

With this it is increasingly obvious that the McCain doesn’t so much seek to win in November as his advisors seek to change the make-up of the Republican party.

Angry Dumbo on March 28, 2008 at 12:05 PM

That’s why it is utter BS when his people claim that the GOP has united behind McCain. McCain and his supporters have essentially told the social conservatives and evangelicals that they are unwelcome. That’s why he is out there courting Democrats disenchanted with the far-left wing of that party.

They may be well-intentioned but I predict McCain’s people are going to rue the day they decided that retribution against the real republicans for McCain’s loss in the 2000 South Carolina primary. I may vote for Triceratops in November because he is the least offensive candidate but I will not be out there supporting him the way I did GWB nor will I be adding my $$$$ to his Soros-enriched campaign fund.

highhopes on March 28, 2008 at 1:09 PM

I’m tired of the tap dancing on Hernandez. It’s okay and somehow different that he’s involved with the campaign, but as an “unpaid advisor”? Smacks too much of “it depends on what the meaning of the word is, is”.

tomk59 on March 28, 2008 at 1:19 PM

If McCain wins with the votes of a large percentage of Republicans he will claim a mandate on illegal immigration and begin the process of given citizenship to those who are here, even if the border is not secure. I just can’t be a part of giving him that mandate.

Rose on March 28, 2008 at 1:00 PM

Ditto. Amnesty will ruin America as the voting pool gets even more contaminted with victims incapable of taking responsibility for their own performance.

saiga on March 28, 2008 at 1:42 PM

Newt gave a good speech yesterday. His point was we have to change the victim culture and replace it with a can do culture. Amnesty for millionms of lying cheaters will set that transformation back for many years.

saiga on March 28, 2008 at 1:45 PM

McCain’s position on immigration is equal to the two Democratic contendors according to this MSM OpEd. Yep, his position is clear!

brtex on March 28, 2008 at 2:42 PM

Also, one should note that Hernandez is an unpaid volunteer

Duh, then even easier to dump him a la Gerry Ferrarro Point is that McSham has the exact same views as Hernandez. A twiced-lost the presidency McVain in the Senate may be more useful then him as C-I-C. It’s only March but I am strongly doubting holding me nose for him regardless of anything he says or does between now and Nov. What about McKinnion and Co. too? Blech. We are so screwed regardless for the next four years. Put your wallet where the big 3 left can’t get to it….

Branch Rickey on March 28, 2008 at 3:30 PM

Captain Ed,
I thank God (literally) that you joined Hot Air. God has brought you here for such a time as this. Many of us are counting on you to do what God has called you to do. You have been chosen to have the rare opportunity for a Bible-believing Christian to ask questions of the McCain campaign directly.

Please understand that part of the published agenda of the Communist Party USA is amnesty for illegal aliens. You said above that:

However, Schmidt is correct in saying that everyone understands McCain’s policy positions on immigration, and that his track record is open and obvious

McCain’s track record is pro-amnesty! He co-authored McCain-Kennedy! We can’t accept Clinton-esque word parsing that McCain now “gets it”. “Gets” what? “Gets” that we are not happy about his intention to sign an amnesty bill? So what? He would ram it down our throats as President, and by then it would be too late.

Please ask John McCain to make his policy position clear by signing the list of immigration measures sponsored by Senator Jeff Sessions. If McCain finally agrees to sign that, we can believe that he “gets it”.

Thanks in advance.

Red Pill on March 28, 2008 at 4:08 PM