Sen. John McCain mounted a vigorous defense of Mitt Romney Wednesday in the face of what he described as “old Chicago-style sleaze attacks” being waged against him by the Obama campaign.
“You know, this whole thing is, again, the diversion from the economy, anything to divert from the economy — the old Chicago-style sleaze attacks,” McCain told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto Wednesday.
The Arizona Republican said he has “the highest regard” for Romney, who challenged McCain for the 2008 GOP nomination and who McCain considered for his vice presidential running mate before choosing Sarah Palin.
He described Palin as the “best” choice at the time to help “galvanize and energize our campaign.” But he added that he thought Romney at the time was “eminently qualified to be president of the United States, and not vice president.”
“I am proud of our campaign. I am proud of Sarah Palin. I am proud of all the help that Mitt Romney gave me.” McCain told Cavuto. “No one helped me more in my campaign than Mitt Romney. He did everything and went everywhere. And we have become very good friends since then.”
Although he’s used to the hard-knock politics of presidential campaigns, McCain said he’s been “surprised at some of the depths to which the . . . the Obama campaign is plummeting” in this year’s battle for the White House, especially the negative attacks concerning Romney’s tax returns and his years running the Bain Capital investment firm.
“You know, when did he leave Bain Capital? He left Bain Capital to save the Olympics that were in severe collapse and all kinds of scandals. And he worked 16 hours a day to save the Olympics,” McCain said, expressing frustration at the attacks on Romney’s business career.
“I mean, this woman [Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter] saying that he might be guilty of a felony. I have got to tell you, I never saw that before in a political campaign, certainly not a major one,” McCain said later in the program.
“It’s all diversion. It’s all diversion,” he added. “And I believe that Mitt Romney and the campaign will turn this to the jobs and the economy. And that is why I am still confident that we can get a victory.”
McCain also spoke out about suggestions that Palin might not be invited to the Republican national convention. He stopped short of offering his own view on the matter, but suggested that the Romney campaign might ask her to speak.
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