Feb 08,2008 00:00
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the apparent Republican presidential nominee, turned his attention Friday to a general election campaign.
A major early part of that strategy will be mending fences with conservatives who have questioned whether McCain was "conservative" enough on some areas such as illegal immigration.
McCain seemed to have sewn up the Republican nomination when former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney left the race Thursday. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, remain in the race but McCain is close to locking up enough convention delegates to assure himself the nomination.
McCain indicated he expects a hard-fought fall campaign against either of his Democratic challengers, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York or Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. He was specifically critical over their views of national security, including possible U.S. troop pullouts in Iraq and a threat by Iran, The Washington Post reported Friday.
He cited his strong support for U.S. President George Bush's troop increase in Iraq and charged his opponents would recklessly adopt a timetable for troop withdrawal without regard for the "profound human calamity" and heightened danger to U.S. security that he said would follow.
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