McCain: "It's not social issues I care about"; Update: McCain leads Mitt by 20, by nine among ... conservatives

Well, me neither for the most part, but many of our readers disagree so here’s a little more chum in the water.

McCain seems distinctly uninterested when asked questions concerning abortion and gay rights. While campaigning in South Carolina, he told reporters riding with him on his bus that he was comfortable pledging to appoint judges who would strictly interpret the Constitution in part because it would reassure conservatives who might otherwise distrust him.

“It’s not social issues I care about,” he explained.

That’s not breaking news, but some of our more diehard McCain-hating commenters accused me of being biased in his favor this week simply for objecting to Drudge digging up old stories about him and presenting them as if they’re new. So here you go — even more and tastier chum, from Vanity Fair’s profile of him last January. Same article, in fact, in which he made his infamous sneering remark about the “goddamned fence”:

“Yes, he’s a social conservative, but his heart isn’t in this stuff,” one former aide told me, referring to McCain’s instinctual unwillingness to impose on others his personal views about issues such as religion, sexuality, and abortion. “But he has to pretend [that it is], and he’s not a good enough actor to pull it off. He just can’t fake it well enough.”

I guess he decided it’s now safe again for “straight talk.” Any of this stuff penetrating at all into voters’ heads? Nope:


Take heart. Mitt’s going to California with an aching in his heart.

Update: Again, whatever the effect or lack thereof of this stuff on the electorate, CPAC will be fun.

Update: Drink a lot today during the game. You’ll need it.