McCain: Bush Pursuit of Iraq a 'Train Wreck'

McCain's efforts to gain support from the right could face serious backlash at the polls from the moderates who once cast him as a "maverick" who upset then-Gov. George W. Bush in the 2000 New Hampshire primary and led the only serious challenge to Bush's otherwise smooth path toward the Republican nomination.

McCain's 2008 campaign has thus far been a tricky balance between shoring up the conservative voters who may have cost him the nomination in 2000 and trying to maintain his reputation as a straight talker who has the ability to woo independent and perhaps some Democratic voters in a general election.

During his previous run for the White House in 2000, McCain put off many Christian conservatives by saying he "reject[s] individuals such as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, who take our party in the wrong direction."

Since then McCain has tried to mend fences, including speaking at Falwell's Liberty University in May.

"He could, in fact, I believe, become the champion, the hero of religious conservatives," Falwell said of McCain.

Right now, though, conservatives continue to say they really don't have any major ally among the three Republican front-runners: McCain, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who supports abortion rights, gun control and some gay rights.

Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family Action recently told ABC News' Jake Tapper, "So far, social conservatives have not found a Mr. Right."

If recent events are any indication, McCain's campaign desperately wants to present Mr. Right but the candidate hasn't yet parked the straight-talk express.

ABC News' Jake Tapper contributed to this report.

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