From NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy
McCain and Romney talked to reporters on the plane en route Denver, where McCain will be attending a fundraiser tonight. They took questions on their relationship, the Democrats' protracted fight and, of course, the veepstakes.
On the GOP nomination process
McCain: In all due respect and I think Governor Romney would agree with me is that our problem is we've accelerated the process to compressed it so much so that I'm not sure voters have as much opportunity to scrutinize the candidates. I've often said that it's interesting that Dwight David Eisenhower announced that he was running for president in 1952 in June of 1952. Look how we have accelerated -- I don't know, Mitt just went through the process.
Romney: The process was very good to you. I don't think I'd be terribly critical of it. And actually I feel that it was pretty good to me to too. I made a lot of progress and was pretty pleased I made the progress I did, but I'm sure that -- you're absolutely right senator, we all question a process that begins so early and I think in some respects detracts from the work of the president as he's carrying out his elected duties when you have a campaign going two full years before the election.
Romney: I think you'll find that the Republican Party -- like any great family -- comes together, will be strongly united behind our nominee, and I think that kind of unity is going to be one of the reasons he'll be successful in November.
Q: Does the Dems protracted primary benefit McCain?
Romney: I personally feel that in the final analysis, all of the to and fro of a campaign is brushed aside in the mind of the voters as they think about what is going to be best for their future, how will their families be raised, will there be peace on the planet, will we have a clean environment. These are the issues that will be the deciding factors in people's minds, and in the interim there's all the give and take of the politics of the day, but that really, I think, increasingly vanishes as people look at the differences in perspectives and policies of those running for president.
On contentious past between Romney and McCain
Q: Have you two apologized to each other?
McCain: Look, we had spirited discussions, but I believe it was always very respectful, and I think that's the campaign that we ran. I think it's the campaign that Governor Romney ran, and frankly I think it's the commitment that both of us made in the way we would conduct the general election campaign. Americans want respectful campaigns. I believe we were respectful. Of course we had differences, that's why – that's normal. But I continue to respect and appreciate Governor Romney's commitment to run. There's a lot of other things he could have done with his life after the success that he's enjoyed.
On VP stakes
Romney: Senator McCain has defined his process. There are probably 20 and maybe even more, you've probably got a full list, I can think of probably 20 names of people who I think could be excellent vice presidential nominees from our party and that's a process the senator will carry out. I'm not going to engage in sort of speculation on that.
Q: Do you feel the need to address the history between you too when you try to get your supporters to rally around McCain?
Romney: I think it's pretty straight forward, and I've spoken. I've had personal calls with over a hundred of my financial supporters and talked to them about my support of Senator McCain and my hope that they'll support his campaign financially, and the reason for that support is quite obvious. We agree on the overwhelming majority of issues that America faces, and we come together as a party to unite behind the person who will lead America at a critical time, and I don't get any argument with that. People understand that.