Whiskey, not champagne, at GOP party

November 5, 2008

PHOENIX — It was a night for drinking whiskey rather than champagne at the Arizona Biltmore.
As Republican John McCain prepared his concession speech in a private room at the landmark Phoenix hotel, bottles of bubbly were most certainly not being popped in a nearby ballroom where long-faced Republicans were marking time. 
The race hadn’t yet been called for Barack Obama, but McCain had already lost Ohio, Pennsylvania and other key battleground states. But the giant TV screens weren’t showing election returns, and many still held out hope.
“Tonight as of right now, it’s still too close to call,” Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl told the crowd. “Win or lose, we’re going to have a tough four years ahead of us. We’re going to have to be a firewall against this radical leftist agenda.” 

Software engineer Ken Wharton likewise wasn’t ready to concede defeat.
“I’m going to wait until the end. It’s not over until it’s over,” said Wharton, who said he was worried that Obama would cut the military budget and back reparations for slavery.
Wedding planner Cynthia Ghelf likewise said she wouldn’t assume the worst until the California polls closed in half an hour. But she already had an escape plan: “I feel like we should move to Canada,” she said.
Ghelf’s friend Katie Kiesel, a stay-at-home mom, said she hoped the Republican party would learn to reach out to younger and more moderate voters and cater less to the conservative wing.
Others said the party should steer a course to the right. 
“He could have been a little more conservative,” Baptist preacher Jim Selma said of McCain. “His best move was appointing Sarah Palin. I think that energized the  base, and when he moved back toward the middle it got boring, I think, for the Republican side.”
By that point, officials were urging the partygoers to clear out of the ballroom and head to the hotel’s lawn. Polls on the West Coast were closing soon, and the results would be known quickly. It was time for McCain to speak.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

– Photo credit: Reuters/Rick Scuteri (A McCain supporter looks on at McCain concession speech)


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I respect Senator McCain for his difficult and diplomatic concession speech. I voted for him and am truly sorry the “voice of America” spoke for president-elect Obama. I had congratulated some Democrats but an hour ago and said, “Good race. May God bless president-elect Obama.” Despite this diplomacy, I truly am concerned about what the next four years will bring.

Posted by Rolando | Report as abusive

The Republicans really screwed up running mccain/palin. They should have ran Ron Paul. Ron is a true conservative who is overwhelmingly more well versed on the issues facing our country. It is a shame he was purposely restricted on time in the debates and made out to be un-electable. Hopefully this defeat will force republicans to look hard at their platform and what they represent as a party. Luckily in my state we had a Libertarian on the ballot that was more conservative than anyone else on the ticket I could vote for. Other than that it would have been a write in for Dr. Paul. The Republican party has lost a tremendous amount of credibility with the American people and rightfully so. I’ll be hoping we change things soon. Probably not in my state though because mccain won here.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

For the fifth time running I have had keen interest in the politics of United States. Truly, USA has stood the test of time for not only being a leading example of great democracy but also a great influence to the planet.
And tonight, its a party back home in Kenya as we celebrate the Victory of the president elect – Barack Obama! To all the Americans, may the Lord God bless you!
Today is a whiskey night……gone are the days of Champaign!!!

Posted by Wallace muchiri | Report as abusive

Perhaps McCain/Palin did not fail because they were too conservative. I mean really, what exactly has the Rebublican party conserved? Not money, not natural resources, not civil liberties! Perhaps they failed because they were not liberal enough. I think it’s clear that America is not interested in rolling back women’s rights 50+ years, and that they might just actually believe in the separation of church and state.

Posted by Marla Taylor | Report as abusive

A great victory for Obama, who deserved every bit of it. I know people talk about his inexperience, but what have experienced people in high positions brought, financial crisis, economic doom! I hope Obama will stick with his convictions, and concentrate on things that matter, sort out the domestic situation first, and not worry too much about being the World Policeman
Goodluck to Obama who will bring about Much Needed Change!

Posted by Singh | Report as abusive

Rolando don’t be worried about the next four years, it can’t get any worse then what Bush did. Already the World is looking up to America as the great country that it is.
Republicans had their chance at absolute power by controlling all three branches of the Government and they screwed up big time. With all the power that they had they did not fix our problems even the ones that they claim Bill Clinton created. Instead they went after flag burners, gays, Mexicans and other minorities. Now they have been defeated and maybe one day they will come back wiser.

Posted by Rusty | Report as abusive

John macCain is the only Republican that has taken defeat like a real man.
All I’ve heard all day is Republicans complain about what going to happen next, everything from the story mentioned about reparation for slavery to turning the U.S in a Communist State.
The Republicans have already started the rocky road to Communism by owning all the Banks and about to take control of the Automobile industry!
Also on reparation for Slavery, you’d only be passing on money to people who are still struggling to get a decent job, own a house and feel equal in a country that doesn’t outlawed all racial bigots of any color….

Posted by Andrew Brooker | Report as abusive

Thank you Jason. For those who think McCain wasn’t conservative enough, you are probably right. The problem is that the nation as a whole is moving to the left. Obama’s populist message has resonated with a majority of the people. While conservative values are invaluable to any society, conservatism as a set of principles has been disparaged by the Bush administration who talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk. This is unfortunate. We can only wait and see if Senator Obama has come to the same conclusion. I for one will support our new President any way I can. The stakes are to high for us to remain divided. The fact remains that we, the United States, Lead the world. It is our example other nations emulate, and at this very moment await our leadership in these perilous times.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

The republicans lost for one primary reason and that is they chose McAmnesty for their party.
McAmnesty lost his base as did the republican party in general. The republicans have truly lost their way and acted more like dumb-o-crats. Now this country will pay a price that will be immeassureable. We have entered what I call the new era of the CCC(communist controlled country).

On November 4, 2008 the United States of America and its Constitution died. The new leadership will, in my opinion, treat the Constitution like it is used toilet paper.

Unlike some who have written here, I cannot and will not support this newly elected president. He is a disgrace to this country and will do far more harm to our country than Carter. His kool-aid drinking supporters are akin to the Jim Jones cult. Led like sheep to the slaughter of this country.

Luckily for me, I have far far fewer days ahead of me than behind me. I had hoped I would never live to see my once great country pass away before my very eyes. It is a sad day.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

I’m concerned about the intense feelings that this election has caused, especially since the election of Barack Obama last night. It seems silly to me when people say that Obama is going to turn America Communist, or that he’ll use the Constitution as toilet paper. I’ve heard Democrats and Republicans both say (before Nov 4) that they’re moving to Canada if their supported candidate doesn’t win the election. This is an entirely ridiculous and disrespectful way to treat two very talented candidates and, I think, this kind of divisive stubbornness is really going to harm our nation.

People (Both Republicans and Democrats) shouldn’t view this election like it was God vs the Devil. The election was between two intelligent politicians who felt that the way they could run the country is the better one.

Rather than moving to Canada, we should let our legislators know our values and beliefs, because, believe it or not, our representatives in Congress and our president, Barack Obama, WANT to make America a better place.

Posted by Greg | Report as abusive


You are a prime example of the ignorant morons that elected Bush twice. We celebrate today because we have taken back control of our country.

You state “The new leadership will, in my opinion, treat the Constitution like it is used toilet paper.”

What an utter joke…..you are kidding right?

No one can even come close to what Bush has done to the constitution over the past eight years.

Take your ignorant, moronic, “joe six pack” views, and get in your pick up truck and go home. You are not the majority anymore!

We have taken back our country!!!

God Bless America!!!!

Posted by steve how dumb you are | Report as abusive

Yes, Steve is the prime example of exactly why the Republicans lost this election.

For all of the neo-con nuts who say we’re headed towards communism, the ignorant people at McCains concession that actually booed, and to all the religious zealots embracing Republicans, you are the folks that lost the Election for McCain.

Not Palin, not his stances, just his fringe fanatic supporters. Your bigoted views and comments were heard by all of us, and it turned us away from the Republican party.

It was a shame to watch you all behave the way you did. I would never want to brand myself a Republican after watching what I watched.

For those still holding on to your ideas that Obama will ruin our country I plead to you, leave before it’s too late. Please!

We can do this without you. We can and we will!

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

John McCain lost this election for this reason: BUSH, BUSH, BUSH. And no recount or hanging chad will save the GOP this time (yes, in case you are wondering, Obama did win Florida…AND Ohio).

This election was an indictment of the Republican Party, a mission to “throw Bush out.” The GOP deserved what happened to them, and I enjoyed watching the entire world celebrate this victory for Barack Obama — now known as Barack The President. It feels great to be a true American.

But for those of you right wing Christian Evangelical holier-than-thou fundamentalists who claim to be “true Americans”…move to Canada. After all, the Conservative Party and Stephen Harper won election there. And don’t forget to bring Joe The Plumber with you (considering that he couldn’t help McCain win Ohio).

Posted by MH | Report as abusive

Ah, the irony of Conservatives claiming they want to move to Canada. What do they think they’re going to find up there that’s not twice as “socialist” as anything that Obama and a Democratic Congress could hope to accomplish in four years?

Posted by Bobbie S. | Report as abusive

How about a Welsh Terrier for the Obamas? Caroline Kennedy had one and was featured on womans day with it. I have one and it is the seetest dog in the world!

Posted by Linda navarro | Report as abusive