At a breakfast with reporters this morning, John McCain shared some advice for the current crop of potential Republican presidential candidates. To people like Newt Gingrich, who has a checkered marital history, or Mitt Romney, who signed a health-care bill as governor of Massachusetts that is strikingly similar to the Obama health-care plan he now says he opposes, McCain says you should just be honest and get it over with early:
“You have to take the issue head on, whatever it is, and try to put it behind you … You have got to confront it directly and then when (reporters) ask the question again the answer is ‘I already addressed that issue’ and not keep the story alive,” said the 2008 GOP standard bearer. “As a candidate you have to have some honest observers and task them and say okay, what are my vulnerabilities? What do I have to address and confront thoroughly?”
For example, say you’re a senator who ran for president under the banner of “maverick,” with a shining reputation for reaching across the aisle and working with the other side. And then you find yourself in a heated reelection battle in a climate where the politics have shifted far to one side. You should definitely acknowledge your past bi-partisan history and not pretend it never existed, according to McCain. To just say “I never considered myself a maverick” would be undignified, and even a little silly. Right?