FRC DC Briefing: Excerpts From John McCain's Speech

I missed the beginning, but note that he did exit to respectful and appreciative applause.

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. I'm a conservative Republican, and proud of it. I'll match my record of defending conservative principles against any other candidate in this race. I know you might not always agree with me on every issue, but I hope you know I'm not going to con you. One of the most important things we have in this life is our self-respect. I don't expect you trade yours for empty promises. And I'm not going to trade mine for anyone's vote. I'm going to tell you what I believe and let the chips fall where they will.

Wisdom is a virtue. Sometimes all wisdom asks of us is that we recognize common sense. Don't federalize issues not addressed in the constitution. Don't constitutionalize issues where federalism has a chance to work. But sometimes, wisdom, as do all other virtues, requires courage. Wisdom suggests we should be reluctant to change a definition of marriage that has existed for thousands of years, but it takes courage in this day and age to insist that a mother and a father have unique and complementary roles in the raising of children, and that marriage reinforces public support for those roles. Wisdom suggests that we should be willing to give an unborn child the same chance that our parents gave us, but it takes courage in this political climate to insist on the protection of unborn children who can't vote, have no voice, and can't reward you with support and donations. Wisdom suggests that when activist federal judges impose their social views on the citizens of every state, the result is going to distort our politics in terrible ways, but it takes courage to insist that the courts have to return to their proper role. I will appoint strict constructionist judges that won't legislate from the bench.