Reporting Ted Scouten
FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Arizona Senator John McCain is back in South Florida for the 2012 presidential election, hoping to help turn the state that voted against him in 2008 in favor of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“We need Mitt Romney as the next president of the United States,” McCain told a Fort Lauderdale crowd Thursday. “We need him very badly.”
McCain battled Romney for the Republican nomination in 2008 and won. But, McCain lost the presidential race to President Barack Obama, a feat he’s hoping Romney can avoid repeating in 2012.
Republicans took a bit of a shot Thursday morning when Colin Powell announced that he would once again be supporting President Obama in the general election. That prompted McCain to say Powell is not a true Republican.
“He’s obviously endorsed Barack Obama last time; so it’s not surprising that he would do that this time,” McCain said of Powell’s endorsement of Obama. “I just wish he wouldn’t call himself a Republican anymore.”
Florida added Electoral College votes this year thanks to redistricting, which has made the swing state even more valuable in the presidential election. Both candidates have criss-crossed the state hoping to put Florida into their respective column.
McCain knows just how valuable Florida is after he lost the state to Obama in 2008.
“I think the straight talk is that Mitt Romney cannot win the presidency without winning Florida,” McCain said. “It’s just too big a state, too many electoral votes, too representative, frankly of America and so he’s got to win here.”
Romney has been leading in Florida in recent polling, and according to the 538 blog from Nate Silver, Romney currently has a 68 percent chance of carrying the Sunshine State.
While Florida is one of the prizes still left on the Electoral Map, Ohio has been the primary focus of both campaigns in the past month. The Buckeye State doesn’t have as many electoral votes as Florida, but no Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio.
The most recent polling out of Ohio shows Obama maintaining a lead of between 3-5 points over Romney. According to the New York Times’ Silver, Obama currently has a 73 percent chance of carrying Ohio on November 6.