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Oh-eight (R): Rush vs. McCain

MCCAIN: Is McCain's only chance of getting Rush on his side having Clinton as his foe? Maybe, then again maybe not. Here's what Rush in a weekend interview with the Post: "'If I believe the country will suffer with either Hillary, Obama or McCain, I would just as soon the Democrats take the hit . . . rather than a Republican causing the debacle,' he said. 'And I would prefer not to have conservative Republicans in the Congress paralyzed by having to support, out of party loyalty, a Republican president who is not conservative.'"

A growingly confident McCain said, "I will compete and win in New York state in November as the nominee of my party." He said that in New York City while receiving the endorsement of former New York Gov. George Pataki.

The candidate also took a shot at the Democratic candidates for their stances on Iraq. "Republican John McCain Monday ripped into Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton over Iraq, saying both are clueless about how to win a war and too inexperienced to be trusted with one," the New York Daily News writes.

After putting out several Web videos and a few regional commercials throughout the campaign hitting back against Mitt Romney's criticisms, McCain's defense is now hitting the national airwaves, NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy report. Last night -- during the network news broadcasts -- McCain's campaign sent out a release announcing that it would be airing a national TV spot that will essentially act as a closing argument with roughly 24 hours left before polls close on Super Tuesday.

Beginning with a shot of a young McCain talking with Ronald Reagan, the new spot contains various jabs at Romney's conservative credentials, including debate footage from his 1994 Senate race against Ted Kennedy in which he said, "Look, I was an independent during the time of Reagan-Bush. I'm not trying to return to Reagan-Bush." Next is a clip from a 2002 television interview with Romney where he said, "Yeah, I voted in the Democratic primary." The ad ends by raising the questions, "If we can't trust Mitt Romney on Ronald Reagan how can we trust him to lead America?"

ROMNEY: "After flitting from Nashville, Tenn., to Atlanta to Oklahoma City to Long Beach, Calif., on Monday, Romney was turning around and flying a red-eye to Charleston, W.Va., in time to address the GOP state convention Tuesday morning."