John McCain scored a potentially major win in his battle for the Republican base by gaining at least the tacit support of the U.S. anti-abortion movement.
The Washington Times said Monday that anti-abortion rights leaders were beginning to side with the McCain or at least turn down the heat of their criticism of the U.S. senator from Arizona.
U.S. Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.J., a leader of the anti-abortion rights contingent in the GOP, told the Times that McCain's voting record in the Senate showed him to be anti-abortion "in his heart of hearts."
Other leaders said they consider McCain to be more inclined to appoint U.S. Supreme Court justices who are in line with their thinking than any of the Democratic presidential hopefuls.
The Times said the seeming thaw could indicate that the rock-ribbed conservatives who have been highly critical of McCain may be coming around and throwing their support behind his candidacy.