McCain, no doubt, would have preferred a huge margin of victory. Some will contend this is proof positive of something — his weakness in the South or with conservatives or with people who listen to talk radio. But realistically he is on track to win the nomination and should not take the bait, redesign his persona and run hard right. If he did, he would lose his “straight talk” image and do damage to his general election prospects. What he could do is what he began at CPAC: begin to draw contrasts between himself and the Democrats. There is plenty of material (e.g. Iraq, FISA, taxes) which he can talk more forcefully about, explaining both to conservatives and the average, middle of the road voter what a vast difference there is between the two parties. That, rather than running right or getting into any day-to-day battle with Huckabee would, it seems, be useful at this stage in the game.
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