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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Conservatives Warn McCain Against Pro-Choice Veep

At Politico today, Jonathan Martin has a good roundup of the very unhappy reactions of cultural conservatives in key battleground states to John McCain’s suggestion earlier this week that he might choose a pro-choice running-mate (see J.P. Green’s analysis from yesterday).
McCain was specifically speaking of former PA Gov. Tom Ridge as a man who was still on his short-list, but the comment was interpreted as possibly referring as well to Sen. Joe Lieberman, who has a consistent pro-choice voting record that includes opposition to the so-called partial-birth-abortion ban.
Here’s a sample of the reaction:

“It absolutely floored me,” said Phil Burress, head of the Ohio-based Citizens for Community Values. “It would doom him in Ohio.”
Burress emailed about a dozen “pro-family leaders” he knows outside Ohio and forwarded it to three McCain aides tasked with Christian conservative outreach.
“That choice will end his bid for the presidency and spell defeat for other Republican candidates,” Burress wrote in the message.
He and other Ohio conservatives met privately with McCain in June, and while the nominee didn’t promise them an anti-abortion rights running mate, his staff said they could “almost guarantee” that would be the case, Burress recalled.
Now, Burress said, “he’s not even sure [Christian conservatives] would vote for him let alone work for him if he picked a pro-abortion running mate.”

Meanwhile, over at National Review, Kathryn Jean Lopez refers to a potential Ridge pick as “bad news,” but to the choice of Lieberman as “a disaster” that might even spark a floor revolt at the Republican National Convention. And also at NR, Rich Lowry has a column referring to the choice of Lieberman as a “desperate move” that could touch off a “Republican civil war.” His suggestion to McCain? If he’s going to choose Lieberman, both candidates should take a one-term pledge, taking Lieberman off the table for the 2012 presidential nomination.
Now that would be an inspiring message: a ticket offered to the public with an early expiration date.

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