With less than two months before America goes to the polls, the man who lost the last election for the GOP has warned his successor that his "unfavorables" with voters remain too high.
Speaking in an interview with CNBC's Ross Westgate in Italy over the weekend, John McCain said he thought the Democrats delivered a successful convention last week but wasn't quite as sold on the GOP convention's boost for Mitt Romney.
"The First Lady gave a very excellent speech, there were a lot of good - the President's speech wasn't really that great. But they did a good job orchestrating their convention." McCain said in an exclusive interview.
The former Republican Presidential candidate said Friday's disappointing jobs data could take a little shine off for Obama but thinks Romney has work to do with some voters. (Read more: Romney Bashes Obama Over Jobs Report)
"You look at his unfavorables (they) were very high. So they're still high. And although the Republican convention brought them down some, we've got some work to do in that area," McCain said, without elaborating on what the "unfavorables" were.
McCain's comments came as a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed President Obama had a four-point lead over Mitt Romney. (Read more: Obama Widens Lead Over Romney Despite Jobs Report)
Another problem for Romney's campaign, according to McCain, is that President Obama has made inroads with veterans and military on active duty following the elimination of Osama Bin Laden and the withdrawal of soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan.
"They have made a strong appeal to the military and veterans. And they've done a pretty good job at that. And we're going to have to do a better job. Traditionally, we Republicans win the veterans and active duty military - We're going to have some work to do there," said the man who played heavily on his military service record during the 2008 campaign. (Read More: No Post-Convention Bounce for Romney)
Cross-party cooperation has not been a key characteristic of the last four years, McCain said, but he believes whoever wins the White House will have to work with Congress to avoid the "fiscal cliff." The fiscal cliff refers to the double whammy of tax increases and spending cuts slated to go into effect at the end of the year.
"First of all, politicians like to be liked. Our approval rating at Congress is down at 11 percent. And I haven't met anybody in that 11 percent that approve of us," McCain said.
"I think that it's very possible that unless we do something to avoid this fiscal cliff, that the markets are going to start reacting to it. I mean there are just too many bad things that are going to happen unless we address this issue," he said.
"I have some guarded optimism that whoever is elected is going to call people together and we're going to have to say 'we're going to do this.' And if we come out and say we can't do anything, I think that the markets and - you know, consumer confidence is bad now, wait and see what it is when we're facing this fiscal cliff." said McCain, who dismissed the idea that Congress could get a fiscal deal done during the "lame duck" session, which refers to the period before old members of Congress leave and the new ones arrive.
"I have never seen a lame duck session that did anything productive. So, for us to somehow rely on a lame duck session, in my view, may be a fool's errand," McCain said.
- Reporting by Ross Westgate, written by Patrick Allen
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