McCain Defends His Conservative Record

(CBS)
From CBS News' John Bentley:

(SPARKS, NEV.) – John McCain received a warm welcome from this Republican section of the state, but there were still a few members of the audience concerned about McCain's conservative bona fides.

"I'm a conservative and I'm not very excited about this election," began one questioner, who said he disagreed with McCain on a variety of issues, from global warming to campaign finance reform to amnesty.

"I've stood up against my party many times because I've done what I believe is right," McCain said, trying to explain his differences with some parts of the Republican platform.

"We betrayed our base when we started in all this pork barrel spending, and the size of government increased more quickly than any time since the Great Society. I stood up and fought against the leaders of our party on that issue. I wish I had been more successful. So I'm very proud of my record of being a conservative, and I am a conservative, and I'm an unabashed conservative."

But the crowd did not seem to be leaning towards his opponent, either. Another questioner pointed out that McCain recently took the lead in a national poll, which has been a rare event recently.

"Frankly, I'm surprised," McCain said about the poll, then went on to point out that he was till the underdog in the presidential race because of Barack Obama's decision to forgo the public financing system.

"He said he would take public financing if I would, he said it in writing, he pledged it, and in the last debate he had with Sen. Clinton, he looked right into the camera and said before I make a decision, I will sit down and negotiate with Sen. McCain. My friends, I'm still waiting by the phone," McCain said.

"I hate to broadcast my number here, but the fact is, he did no such thing. He did no such thing."

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