McCain Tries To Shore Up Conservative Credentials

(CBS)

From CBS News' Andante Higgins:

John McCain will try to woo conservatives next week with former GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson joining him on the trail in North Carolina.

Thompson is the last of the former Republican presidential candidates to join McCain on the campaign trail. He did well with conservative voters during the primary, and his support may help McCain who has been criticized for not being conservative enough. McCain says the Republican Party is united and his challenge now is to energize them.

Last week, former GOP candidate Mike Huckabee rode the Straight Talk Express and told reporters social conservatives will rally behind the McCain. "There is a very good movement taking place within the party not just to coalesce but to strengthen and to really bond and realize that this is a very critical election that we can't afford to take lightly," Huckabee said. "There's going to be a lot of energy for whoever the Democrat is. They've been out of the white house for eight years. They're hungry they want it back and it's not about which party will get to taste the spoils of the war. It's about where they're going to lead the country and that's why I think Senator McCain is the critical choice for America to make."

Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani were the first to show public support for the Republican nominee and will return this week at fundraisers. Romney is expected to appear in Michigan and Giuliani will appear in New York.

Today McCain concludes his "Call for Action" health care tour in Denver where he will hold a town hall meeting, but next week his campaign says he will address issues that are important to traditional conservative voters.

CBS News has also learned that McCain is expected to address gun control, appointments to the Supreme Court, gay marriage and abortion next week. He is also expected to deliver a speech on human trafficking and child pornography.