John McCain: Mitt Romney ‘has not done as well as we had hoped’
As voters go to the polls in Illinois today, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday morning that he’s “confident” of a win for Mitt Romney.
But he also acknowledged that the former Massachusetts governor has not lived up to expectations in the GOP presidential primary – and he cited the cable network MSNBC in particular as one of the media outlets that he argues have been rooting for a prolonged nominating contest.
“I’m very confident that he will (win),” McCain told Fox Business Network’s Don Imus in a phone interview. “If it’s a comfortable margin, and that’s not clear, then I think lends more of an atmosphere of inevitability that he will be the nominee and maybe we can get off of this and onto the real fight, which will be between Romney and Obama.”
“But some of our friends in the media are enjoying trying to prolong this as much as possible,” he added. “They will remain unnamed here”
“Why?” Imus asked.
“Well, look – MSNBC,” McCain said. “Some of the pundits I was watching this morning – ‘Well, he may not be able to get there if he doesn’t do well in Wisconsin, blah, blah, blah.’ I think he has got a solid lead. I think he has not done as well as we had hoped. None of us ever do
“Well, he’s an awful candidate,” Imus said of Romney.
“Oh, that’s not true, Don,” responded McCain.
McCain, formerly one of Romney’s top rivals in the 2008 campaign, is now one of the former Massachusetts governor’s top supporters; he endorsed him in the run-up to the New Hampshire primary.
Contrary to McCain’s assertion, it’s not just the media that has stated a prolonged GOP primary may be in the works.
Romney’s three rivals – former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) – have all said they plan to stay in the race, and Santorum’s camp this week penned a memo arguing that the former senator is actually closer to Romney in the delegate count than media reports have indicated.