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McCain Says Republicans Need ‘Bigger Tent’ After Election

Senator John McCain of Arizona
Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona and ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Republican losses in U.S. elections this month show the party needs “a bigger tent” and “a much more positive agenda,” Senator John McCain said today.

“It can’t be just being against the Democrats” including President Barack Obama, McCain, an Arizona Republican who opposed Obama for the White House in 2008, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Republicans “obviously” need to push for an overhaul of immigration laws, McCain said. Obama won backing from 71 percent of Hispanic voters on Nov. 6 against Republican challenger Mitt Romney, up from 67 percent in 2008, according to national exit polls that underscored the importance of that fast-growing voting bloc. Democrats also augmented their majority in the Senate and gained seats in the House of Representatives.

“There is no doubt whatsoever that the demographics are not on our side, and we’re going to have to give a much more positive agenda,” McCain said.

McCain suggested that Republicans should place less emphasis on opposing abortion and be more tolerant of voters who back abortion rights. Republicans lost Senate races in Indiana and Missouri partly because their nominees made controversial comments about rape and abortion.

“I can state my position on abortion, but other than that, leave the issue alone” amid discussion of economic and national security issues that are more important, McCain said.

“I’m proud of my pro-life position and record,” he said. “But if someone disagrees with me, I respect your views.”

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