Shays concedes McCain defeat

NEW CANAAN, Conn. — The first ballot has yet to be tallied, but some Republicans are already hammering nails into the McCain-Palin campaign’s coffin.

Locked in a tight congressional race, Rep. Chris Shays of Connecticut’s 4th district is the latest in a slew of Republican incumbents, including Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, to concede a near-certain victory to the Obama camp.

“I just don’t see how [McCain] can win,” Shays said in an interview here on Sunday.

Shays, the Connecticut co-chair of McCain’s campaign, said he was disappointed by the standards of McCain’s race, which has increasingly relied on mudslinging.

“He has lost his brand as a maverick; he did not live up to his pledge to fight a clean campaign,” Shays said.

But Shays — who is famous for never running a negative campaign ad, even when behind — said the negativity in the presidential race has nevertheless been flowing both ways. He said that though they have been diluted by positive ads, Sen. Obama’s campaign has empirically run a greater number of negative ones.

“Obama has four times the amount of money McCain has, so for every negative ad he runs he can balance it with an upbeat one,” Shays said. “McCain, on the other hand, has been nearly 100 percent negative.”

Shays laid much of the blame on the far right, which, he said, has “hijacked” the Republican Party, threatening to walk out if its demand are not met — despite being in the minority.

He said this situation is a cautionary tale for the Democratic Party, whose Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and have imposed their often-radical ideas on the rest of the party.

But Shays also said he was skeptical of Sen. Obama’s promise to rule from the political center.

“It’s what all presidents should do, but [Obama] has never been there,” he said, referring to Obama’s left-of-center congressional record.

McCain’s other Connecticut co-chair, Sen. Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67, has not publicly commented on McCain’s chances on Election Day, but he has continued to campaign for him, most recently in Florida on Monday.

Jeff Grappone, New England communications director for the McCain campaign, did not return several requests for comment Monday.


  • Chris C NYC

    so i guess he is going to be banished from the republican party too.

  • Chris

    Shays also said Palin was a terrific pick. Politics aside Mr. Shays, I'd like a VP who can answer simple questions, and doesn't stammer in a softball interview.

  • LK

    Perhaps Mr. Shays has not personally signed the checks for any negative ads but he certainly gave his tacit approval to the RNC to run despicable mailers against Westport First Selectwoman Diane Farrell. Almost daily we here in Fairfield County were deluged with lurid mailers with headlines like "Tea with the Taliban" suggesting in a typical Republican smear that Ms. Farrell was "soft" on terror. John McCain's robo-calls have nothing on Mr. Shays' mailers and were the reason I stopped supporting him.

  • Rainking

    Will someone please make a clear distinction between Obama's negative ad's that target positions held, or demonstrative quotes, which is normal during an election cycle, and the outrageous character attacks by McCain, calling Obama a terriorist, a Socialist, and even a Communist.

  • suzyku

    mudslinging is putting it mildly! mcblame and failin have tried everything, they smear, they lie, they misconstrue, they hold klan like hateful rallies and stir up violence and spew hate! They are unethical, diry, sleazy people with no integrity!

  • Anonymous

    I've been watching Mcbush sorry McCain sin January and I've seen nothing about him that makes him a "maverick," unless being and @$$hole and looking like the Pillsbury Doughboy makes you a maverick…

  • Jim

    Not only has McCain lost his way as a Mavrick, he has lost his way as a hero, honest, honorable and decent man. These two candidates are pathetic! It is clear that they are never going to specifically tell us what they are going to do to fix things in America. That is because they don't have any idea! All that they are capable of doing is tearing down, misquoting, rearranging the facts in order to change their meaning, and abusing the rights that the constitution gives us. We don't need them now or ever again.

  • janvanwerth

    I want to support #4: Neg. ads are not all made equal, and the media have not pointed this out in any clear way--one more instance of the effects of trying to treat each side "equally", i.e. by reporting what they say w/o reporting if what's being said is true.

  • rich

    Finally, an honest republican. He is a good man who will probably be a casualty of the reign of the emperor bush.

  • Mik

    We can only hope this is part of the change that is washing over politics. Maybe Shay is finally making peace with himself and coming to the conclusion how far the Republican party has sunk into the tar pits. Maybe, just maybe we will see a return of unbiased opinions; well thought out and researched, more truth, less lies and a complete re-working of the Republican party. But I hope this doesn't happen until Obama serves 2 terms as president!

  • CaptD

    Big change is a comin'…

    I bet you and other Rep.'s are going to be VERY surprised when Obama and his team do what they promised; then you "guys" will really have to scramble to try and take the credit for it…

  • jimt

    It's time for moderate & liberal Republicans to take their party back from the conservative wing of the party
    if not face being wiped out totally.

  • SpeciousRiches

    It's no surprise that the folks who brought you unregulated credit default swaps and synthetic CDOs are now finding themselves on the wrong side of the voting public. Let's hope the parties can find middle ground on sensible regulation and oversight of financial markets, especially markets as interconnected and interdependent as the credit markets. The fundamentals of our economy are not strong; it's one big ponzi scheme that is crashing to Earth.

    <a href="">SpeciousRiches</a&gt;
    <a href=></a>

  • Cathy

    I, too, would like to agree with negative ad issue. Obama's "negative" ads deal with McCain's position on issues. Oh, he called McCain erratic in an ad -- which McCain made a big deal out of in Debate #3. Hey, if the shoe fits … which it did in spades by that point. McCain's negatives are pure slander and defamation of character, to put it "kindly."

  • Kev123

    We should pray that we never see another republican in our lifetimes. The same fear that they put on us should be thrown right back in their faces. A little punk white boy with a troubled father! Do not take this any further, analytically or historically: than Pure criminal white trash!

  • Buck Stevens

    Shays does not feign sincerity here, his comments warrant respect, as does his policy to abstain from mudslinging. remember when the "high road" was a conservative ideal? talk about getting hijacked! This year it's the Democrat who owns that ideal. Obama will be getting my vote because of this

  • MCleary

    I'm a registered Democrat, voting for Obama, and would click the button for Shays (who although he voted for a war I'm against, is a seasoned, well tempered, experienced politician, but this kind of statement changes my mind:
    "He said this situation is a cautionary tale for the Democratic Party, whose Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and have imposed their often-radical ideas on the rest of the party. But Shays also said he was skeptical of Sen. Obama’s promise to rule from the political center."
    When the dust settles Republican politicians like Shays will begin to see that Obama and Reid's ideas aren't "radical", and organizations like represent the NEW generation who know how to run a formidable ground campaign!

  • YMS

    Yes we can!!!!

  • heikkala

    maybe now the republican party will cease to support spoiled rich kids like Bush, who was handed everything to him by his father, including the presidency. Had his father been honest, he would have never supported him to run for office, he knew his temperment and his ability to run every business he had into the ground, his undiciplined nature in school, the military and now the presidency. He was never the commander in chief, that was dick cheney and george tenant and a lesser degree rice. I used to respect George Bush the first, but now his son has put a stain once again on his family's legacy and he has been a big part in funding his son to the white house with the help of the supreme court, governer Jeb bush and katherine harris. Oh, and the infamous diebold company in ohio.

  • exredsater

    With the mounting bad news for their campaign, McCain/Palin will have no choice but to go increasingly negative in their attacks. Anybody else see this leaked 527 spot?

  • fos

    #4 So, so true. Negative as in pointing out policy you disagree with vs. negative as in "he's a bad man" are two VERY different things.

  • Joe

    "We should pray that we never see another republican in our lifetimes."

    … and get another Carter?

    Do you know who Obama is?

  • David S

    Like many people, even though I disagreed with at least half of McCain’s political views, I used to appreciate service to our Country and his apparent “straight talk” and “maverick” ways. However, shortly after his failed Presidential bid in 2000 it was readily apparent that McCain abandoned his “straight talk” and “maverick” nature, at least in practice, for his pursuit of the Presidency.

    He made a concerted effort to ingratiate himself with the Republican base by aligning himself with President Bush and buddying-up to prominent rightwing Evangelical extremists like John Hagee, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson, who he had previously denounced. He appeared to seek out every photo-opportunity and press promotional piece to (literally and figuratively) confirm his conservative Republican “born again” persona.

    Subsequently, those on both sides of and distances from the political fence questioned the sincerity of his abrupt turnabout on a number of issues. Was he a maverick in disguise or had he suddenly become afflicted with some sort of world view memory loss? Many former friends and foes alike had to wonder if McCain was ever a real maverick or if he just suddenly incurred a fatal, overriding affliction of eyes-wide-open ambition.

    Seemingly, the execution of his current campaign confirms that his Presidential ambitions are indeed paramount. As he incorporated Bush team players (some of which had unfairly fought against him in 2000), “former” Republican corporate lobbyists, a questionable VP choice, and shady personal attacks against Barack Obama into his campaign his “Country First” slogan became a “Mission Accomplished” level irony.

    Looking back now, I doubt that John McCain was ever really much of a maverick in the positive sense of the word. One could further base this assessment on statements made in his own autobiography.

    He recounts having to be treated for throwing temper tantrums as a child because he couldn’t get his way and his rule-breaking, hard-partying days in college, Annapolis, and flight school. It seems now, like then, that he is more likely to simply be self-indulgent or acting for reasons of self-advancement rather than being a country first maverick.

    Interestingly enough, the Maverick family whose history of progressive politics and civil libertarianism catapulted the word “maverick” into our common usage lexicon riles at the idea of McCain being called a maverick.

    John Schwartz, in his article “Who You Callin’ A Maverick” for The Nation, quotes Terrellita Maverick, a present day descendant of the famous San Antonio, Texas Mavericks, as saying that John McCain “is in no way a maverick, in uppercase or lowercase…. It’s just incredible — the nerve! — to suggest that he’s not part of that Republican herd. Every time we hear it, all my children and I and all my family shrink a little and say, ‘Oh, my God, he said it again.’”

  • billp

    I think it's unfortunate that Shays and Sen. Sununu of New Hampshire both might get taken done in this backlash against the right-wing hardliners. However, this could make the Republican Party even more extremely far-right, which would cement its minority status.

  • Kris R.

    Well. I does seem like the race is over. People that supported Mr McCain switched over to Mr Obama, you know why? McCain could've chosen a decent VP candidate and it would've been a tight race in my opinion. But out of all the people, it had to be Palin. When she was chosen and started campaigning with McCain, that's when McCain began to lose the battle. Main point is: people were just too scared too see Palin next in line to presidency if McCain would've won. Palin scared away McCain supporters, that's all.

  • JH

    Shays is a great guy. I'm as much of a Democrat as the next Yalie, but Shays is one of the last true centrist Republicans. Congress needs MORE centrists of either party, as the Republicans and Democrats move ever farther to bickering extremes. Obama/Shays '08.