Sen. John McCain said on Wednesday that the 2012 presidential campaign has him worried -- both about the increasingly negative tone in his party’s primary and about the proliferation of outside influence groups pouring money into the race.
"Yes, I worry about the candidates in the primary raising the disapproval ratings of each other with these kinds of attacks going on," the Arizona Republican told reporters on a conference call organized by Mitt Romney's campaign. "It may make it more difficult [for Republicans] in the general election."
At the same time, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee and architect of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law said that the money being spent by super PACs is a "disgrace." He specifically cited a super PAC backing Newt Gingrich, although Romney -- whom McCain has endorsed -- also has super PAC support.
Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate, and his wife have contributed $10 million to the outside group backing Gingrich. In turn, the PAC has purchased $6 million in ads in Florida alone for the next week.
"So you have one family throwing in $10 million into a primary race," McCain said in the conference call. "I don’t think that's what our Founding Fathers had in mind."
McCain leveled another criticism against Gingrich: He said that the number of congressional earmarks "exploded" on the former House speaker's watch and that Gingrich's leadership style forced him to step down from his post.