SIMI VALLEY -- In a few moments, Rudy Giuliani will endorse John McCain in.. well, the spin room, but don't read too much into that.
Talk to a Romney adviser this morning and they're likely to acknowledge the unprecedented luck that their candidate will need to block McCain's path to the nomination.
Here in Los Angeles, a radio listener flipping back and forth between the city’s two top AM radio stations yesterday morning found two of the country’s largest conservative megaphones, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Reagan, all but urging their listeners to revolt against McCain. The litany of their complaints begins with his long-time advocacy of campaign finance reform, seen by some conservatives as both an affront to free speech and the source of their party’s current financial deficits, to immigration, to judges, to his unwillingness to court conservatives like Limbaugh.
This morning, Rush tried to maintain his resolve, giving what he called a "non-concession speech:
Here is the bottom line, ladies and gentlemen. I think this is it. There was a lot of anxiety among a lot of conservatives about Senator McCain. It's simply indisputable. But there was no figure in our roster of candidates who rose up to challenge him or galvanize conservative support. All the candidates on our side, for various reasons, are uninspiring or worse -- and so, just as I predicted, the base has fractured. Some going here, some going there. Senator McCain's been able to cobble together enough votes to win in a few states. Fine. He deserves credit for that. But to pretend that Senator McCain is the choice of conservatives when exit poll data from every primary state show just the opposite... He is not the choice of conservatives, as opposed to the choice of the Republican establishment -- and that distinction is key.
A McCain adviser said that "Once Rush recognizes that the race will be between John and Hillary Clinton, he'll come around."
There hasn't been any outreach...yet.. the first goal McCain has to unify the party, and he recognizes that Feb. 5 is only the first step.
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