McCain quips about presidential bids by Arizonans

July 13, 2008 7:23:33 PM PDT
John McCain says he intends to reverse a trend that other politicians from Arizona have faced in running for president.

The four Arizonans who have made presidential bids ? Sen. Barry Goldwater in 1964, Rep. Morris K. Udall in 1976, former Gov. Bruce Babbitt in 1988 and McCain in 2000 ? either lost in the general election or never won their party nominations.

"Arizona may be the only state in America where mothers don't tell their children that some day they can grow up and be president," McCain quipped Sunday.

After attending a service at a Baptist church in north Phoenix, the Arizona senator and his wife Cindy went to the Southwest regional McCain campaign headquarters to thank a crowd of more than 100 supporters and volunteers, some of whom have been involved in his early political races.

The Republican presidential hopeful said he feels confident about his prospects of winning his home state, but that his campaign will have to work hard to try to win battleground states in the Southwest, such as Nevada, New Mexico and California.

Udall and Babbitt ran as Democrats, Goldwater as a Republican.

McCain said he relished his role as the underdog in the race and harkened back to his first and closest political race, a U.S. House campaign in 1982 in which the then-little-known McCain beat a slate of established politicians and civic leaders.

"I do best when I'm the underdog," McCain said. "Some you may remember our first House race."

McCain said he was counting on volunteers as he has in the past to help energize his voting base so they'll support him on election day.

After his remarks, as McCain worked his way through the crowd and shook hands, supporters chanted: "Mac is back."