Thompson Says McCain Candidacy 'Broadens' GOP

By Bruce Sullivan | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

Washington ( - Although his policies on campaign finance reform and tobacco legislation have alienated many of his Republican colleagues in the US Senate, John McCain has the backing of Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee, who told that, win or lose, McCain's presidential run has helped the GOP.

"Obviously if McCain wins it will broaden the party," said Thompson. "It will not disrupt, it will add to the party."

Thompson's remarks stand in contrast to a statement made by Christian Coalition Director Pat Robertson last week when Robertson, a former Republican presidential nomination candidate, said that if McCain wins the GOP nomination, it would "devastate" the Republican Party.

Thompson added that McCain's message of reform resonates well with many Americans who, Thompson said, see the GOP as a reform-oriented party.

"Even if John doesn't win, I think surely the people in Washington have got to look at this phenomenon and ask themselves 'What's going on out here?'"

Thompson said that McCain's message of reform has touched a nerve with Republicans as well as independent voters and Democrats, who cast their ballots for McCain in large numbers in primaries in Michigan, New Hampshire and Arizona, giving the former Vietnam POW victories in those states.

However, Republican voters in not only Michigan, but South Carolina and Deleware as well, cast most of their votes for Texas Governor George W Bush in their primaries. The contests in South Carolina and Michigan were open to independents and Democrats, but the Deleware primary was only for registered Republicans.

Bush was the victor in South Carolina and Deleware, and he also won the GOP caucus in Iowa.

Most of the Republican senators have endorsed the candidacy of Bush.