Will MCain bolt the GOP?

Plus: who won what, still more on exit polls and it's time to start thinking about November.

Published March 8, 2000 7:28PM (EST)

Flying to Phoenix from Los Angeles Wednesday, "Sunny" John Weaver political director for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign played out how the conversation would go among the McCain staff over the next couple of days. McCain, his family, and staff are spending at least one night at his 15-acre compound called Hidden Valley, in Page Springs, a small town near Sedona, Arizona.

"The options are obvious," said Weaver. "The options are staying in, getting out, and 'other' options."

The "other" is an oblique reference to whether McCain will follow the lead of his hero, Theodore Roosevelt, and leave the Republican party to run as an independent. Fueled by anger about what they see as a dirty and intolerant campaign waged by Texas Gov. George W. Bush, many of McCain's top advisors relish the idea of his continuing his campaign as a third-party candidate. Polls indicate that McCain would do well running as an independent.

McCain himself has always pooh-poohed such speculation. "We have not discussed the Reform Party," Weaver said. "I can't conceive of John jumping into the Reform party, but I can certainly seem him being pushed into it." Weaver, who clearly was nursing a morning-after headache, said, "We're going to take our time and make a sober decision. I mean that in the second definition." No matter what, Weaver promised, "[McCain] is not going to walk away from the issues he cares about, particularly reform. . . . but from our party's perspective it's not just that, it's opening up our party to be more inclusive more tolerant."

Then Weaver added, " Today, however, you're not going to get a real answer."

(by Jake Tapper)

Tuesday's results


Admits defeat in Tuesday's races "He won. I lost." He is scheduled to formally concede Thursday morning.


American Samoa, California, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Ohio and Washington.


American Samoa, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Dakota,
Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.


Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont

Exit polls, again

Notwithstanding the Voter News Service withholding the release of exit poll data for an extra 2 hours
Tuesday someone still managed to make it public early. According to Reuters the exit polls went public early again on Tuesday: this time courtesy of Drudge.

Fat Tuesday gives candidates new priorities

Now that the nominations are clear Bush and Gore have some clear priorities and a little breathing room
to accomplish them. As the New York Times puts it "spend and mend".
They've got to bring their parties
back together and energize them behind their candidacies.

Now who's intemperate?

Republican National Committee chairman Jim Nicholson was so angry that Thursday's conviction of
Gore's former fund raiser didn't get more press that he released
major anchor's phone numbers.

Talking heads

C-Span's Washington Journal:

  • 7:00 -- Super Tuesday Results with Chuck Todd, Hotline,
    Mary Anne Ostrom, San Jose Mercury News, Fred Brown, Denver Post

  • 9:00 -- Super Tuesday Results

    CNN's Inside Politics:

  • 5:00 p.m. Election 2000 discussion with Tucker Carlson, Weekly Standard, Margaret Carlson, Time Magazine, Robert Novak, Chicago Sun Times.

    CNN's Crossfire:

  • 7:30 p.m. Presidential politics discussion with California Governor Grey Davis and New York Governor George Pataki.

    MSNBC's Equal Time:

  • 6:30 p.m. DNC chief Roy Romer and RNC chief Jim Nicholson go head to head.

  • By Max Garrone

    Max Garrone is Salon's Vice President for Operations.

    MORE FROM Max Garrone

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