In a press conference today in Washington, D.C., John McCain spoke as if his opponent in the general election had already been decided. McCain took a few pointed jabs at Barack Obama and the Democratic presidential candidate's messaging regarding "hope" and "change."
Questioned by a reporter about whether he believes Obama is spouting platitudes when he mentions hope and change in his campaign speeches, McCain responded as follows:
"I respect him and the campaign that he has run. But there's going to come a time when we're going to have to get into specifics. I have not observed every speech he has given obviously, but they are singularly lacking in specifics, and that's when as the campaign moves forward, we will be portraying very stark differences. It's not an accident that he has, I think, according to the National Journal, the most liberal voting record in the United States Senate. I have one of the most conservative."
This comment followed up a similar statement directed at Obama that McCain made Tuesday night in his victory speech following the D.C., Maryland and Virginia primaries. In that speech, McCain said, "To encourage a country with only rhetoric rather than sound and proven ideas that trust in the strength and courage of free people is not a promise of hope. It is a platitude."
"Of course I would like for him to withdraw today," McCain said of Huckabee. "It would be much easier. But I respect and have repeatedly said I respect his right to continue in this race just as long as he wants to."
A moment later, McCain gave a hint of his notorious brusqueness when asked about what he took from Huckabee's strong showing in the Virginia primary. McCain responded, "I take the message that we beat him by nearly 10 percent to start with. In any election I've ever been involved in, a 9 percent cushion is very good. And I also understand why many evangelical Christians would vote for Governor Huckabee. He is a Baptist minister. And I respect that."