Republican National Convention
Monday, July 31, 2000

'McCainiacs' vow to resist Bush

By Matt Kelley
The Associated Press

        PHILADELPHIA — John McCain is asking his delegates to support George W. Bush, saying the nation doesn't like “sore losers.” Yet some are expected to resist.

        “I was sent here as a McCain delegate, not a Bush delegate. I think you have to vote for McCain,” said New York Assemblyman Tom Kirwan, who added that he felt “honor bound” to do so unless Mr. McCain ordered him to switch.

        Meanwhile, Mr. McCain was almost drowned out by boos and hisses Sunday when he asked activists at a nearby “shadow convention” to support Mr. Bush.

        The Arizona senator won seven Republican primaries and 231 convention delegates before ending his campaign under the weight of Mr. Bush's bigger victories in March. Much of Mr. McCain's support had come from moderate Republicans, independents and ticket-switching Democrats.

        Some of Mr. McCain's delegates have been replaced by Bush loyalists, and others have said they'll fall in line behind the victor.

        “John McCain is a great candidate,” said Connecticut delegate Benjamin Davol. “But George Bush is our standard bearer, and it is time to rally behind our nominee and get going.”

        But other “McCainiacs” seem ready to fight on.

        “I will still vote for John McCain even if Bush gets the nomination,” said Chris Stanley, a delegate from Rhode Island.

        Although he at times bitterly criticized Mr. Bush during the primaries, Mr. McCain now says he whole heartedly supports the Texas governor and plans to campaign with him in the West after this week's convention. Mr. McCain has backed Mr. Bush to every audience lately.

        “Americans don't like sore losers. Americans want me and my supporters to respect the verdict,” Mr. McCain said Sunday on CBS's Face the Nation.

        He spoke Sunday to the “shadow convention,” a gathering put together not far from the Republican site to highlight issues that organizers say the major parties are ignoring. The audience gave Mr. McCain a standing ovation when commentator Arianna Huffington introduced him as “the most prominent advocate for reform in this country.”

        But when Mr. McCain mentioned Mr. Bush, he was inundated by booing.

        “I am obliged not by party loyalty but by sincere conviction to urge all Americans to support my party's nominee, Governor George Bush of Texas,” Mr. McCain said.

        Some in the audience continued the catcalls — even after Mr. McCain threatened to quit talking.

        “If you would like, I do not need to continue,” Mr. McCain said, throwing up his hands. Ms. Huffington stepped up to the lectern and urged the protesters to be quiet, and Mr. McCain finished his remarks, ignoring the heckling.

        Some Republicans had grumbled before Mr. McCain's appearance that the shadow convention was not the place for a GOP loyalist to speak, because it was organized by people often aligned against the party establishment.


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