ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. -- John McCain showed up this morning at a sparsely attended polling precinct at the Mahaffey Theater with Gov. Charlie Crist and gave reporters a positive vibe.
"I'm feeling good," McCain said.
He said endorsements matter, and explained how he was grateful for Crist's endorsement.
"It helps and after Gov. Crist endorsed us we did see an uptick in support."
McCain admitted that a win in Florida today is critical to his bid for the presidency. "It's not only important in the primary, but if a republican is going to win a national election we have to carry the state of Florida. So it's a very, very important state," he said.
McCain also downplayed the recent back and forth between him and Romney insisting Romney is the root cause of all attacks in the Republican race.
"In all due respect what we've had in the last few days looks like a Sunday school picnic compared to what the Democrats have been doing. I think it's going to be fine," he said.
"But I will point out that Governor Romney has attacked literally all of us. Mayor Giuliani and I haven't attacked each other, Governor Huckabee and I haven't attacked each other, Fred Thompson and I didn't attack each other, Ron Paul and I haven't attacked each other. It's only been Governor Romney who decides to attack opponents when he thinks they are moving up and succeeding. That's just the way he campaigns. It's just a matter of record."
Bringing attention back to the race in Florida and national security, McCain explained that it's ultimately up to the voters.
"The real key here in Florida is who can keep America safe. Who is it that's got the experience and background and knowledge to take on the challenge of radical Islamic extremism? Governor Romney has no experience there, in fact he wanted to have a timetable for withdrawal," repeating his criticism of Romney's Iraq position that took their spat to a new level.
"I think that's what the people of Florida will make the judgment on."