Republican presidential candidate John McCain says racism will play virtually no role when voters head to the polls next Tuesday because it will be trumped by the nation’s economic problems.
In a transcript of an interview taped for broadcast Wednesday night on CNN’s “Larry King Live,” McCain said people will vote “for the best of reasons, not the worst of reasons.” He said most people will vote based on who they want to lead the country.
Referring to people who might vote against Democrat Barack Obama because he is black, McCain added: “It would be a tiny, tiny, minority. Because people are hurting too much now. I mean, they’re worried about staying in their homes, keeping their jobs.”
The sharp economic downturn and calamity in the financial industry has become the campaign’s dominant issue.
McCain also repudiated a suggestion by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh that Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama was because both men are black. Powell is a Republican and served President Bush as secretary of state.
“I reject it,” he said of Limbaugh’s statement. “Look, there is racism in America. We all know that because we can’t stop working against it. But I am totally convinced that 99 and 44 one-hundredths percent of the American people are going to make a decision on who is best to lead this country.”
McCain’s comments came six days before Election Day. Polls show only small percentages of people saying the race of the candidates will be a factor in their vote, but analysts and political professionals will be watching the results for evidence of any role racial attitudes may play.