McCain: "It Would Be Much Easier" If Huckabee Dropped Out

From CBS News' Dante Higgins:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- John McCain is back at work on Capitol Hill today, continuing his effort to get Republican leaders to rally behind him as the presumptive GOP nominee.

He received endorsements from House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo. and suggested he'd like Mike Huckabee to get out the race because it would make things easier.

"Of course I'd like for him to withdraw today. It would be much easier," he admitted. "But I respect, and have said repeatedly, that I respect his right to continue in this race just as long as he wants to. I don't think that's inconsistent."

In his victory speech last night McCain criticized Barack Obama and his message of hope, criticizing him for offering empty rhetoric and platitudes.

When asked today if he really felt that way about Obama's message, McCain jabbed Obama further, saying his message lacked specifics and suggested Obama had a "liberal voting record."

"I respect him and the campaign he has run, but there's going to come a time when we're going to have to get into specifics. And I have not observed every speech he has given, obviously, but they are singularly lacking in specifics," he said.

"And that's when, as the campaign moves forward, we will be portraying very stark differences. It's not an accident that he has, I think, according to National Journal the most liberal voting record." (Obama was ranked the most liberal senator in 2007 by National Journal based on how he voted on 99 "key Senate votes.")

McCain also acknowledged the large turnout and enthusiasm the democratic candidates are generating. "I congratulate both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton for the campaigns they've run, and getting the voters engaged," he said. McCain has said that excitement reminds him how much he needs to energize the Republican base.