WICHITA, KAN. -- With a lead in delegates and Mitt Romney out of the race, John McCain says he will press on with his campaign in primary states until he gets enough delegates to secure the nomination.
"It is mathematically impossible for anyone else to get the nomination," said Rick Davis, McCain campaign manager. "Well, look you don't want to take anything for granted. At the end of the day, until we get to that magic number ... he is not the presumptive nominee of the party. The last thing that this campaign and John McCain is ever going to is take things for granted. We are the ones who came back from a near-death episode."
According to a CBS News estimate, McCain has 709 of the 1,191 delegates needed for the Republican nomination. Mike Huckabee trails with 163.
McCain says he can compete for delegates and make inroads toward unifying his party as nominee. "But at the at the same time and not in any way trying to be dismissive of Governor Huckabee's candidacy, we also have to start making plans for the general election as well. Sit down with policy. Crank up the fund-raising, do the things that just the normal textbook kind of things you do when you move from one kind of campaign into another," he said.
McCain is also reaching out to conservatives and independents to unify the party as part of his plan. "That's why I want to meet with Governor [Mitt] Romney as soon as I can and work together on that. He got 4 million votes in the primaries so we're going to want everybody to be on board."
McCain also said that he spoke with former Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson who told him he's willing to do whatever it takes to help McCain win the nomination.