McCain says GOP wasting its time on platform

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Sen. John McCain By Jennifer Thomas Sen. John McCain By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Arizona Sen. John McCain says his party is wasting its time at this year's national convention by calling for constitutional bans on gay marriage and abortion.

Republicans adopted the measures as part of a conservative platform for the convention next week in Tampa, Fla.

McCain, who was the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, said he's opposed to abortion and same-sex marriage, but changing the Constitution to ban the practices is a pipe dream.

"I certainly wouldn't oppose it," McCain told 3TV. "But I don't think obviously there's any chance of that happening, it's something that couldn't possibly happen."

McCain also questions part of the Republicans' tough stance on illegal immigration, specifically a section that would deny federal funding to universities that admit illegal immigrants.

"I think that's a state issue that the states should decide whether they want to do that or not," McCain said. “My position is that, as a federalist, that's a state issue."

Rank-and-file Republicans have been working this week to craft a platform outlining the party’s priorities. Numerous media reports have described it as one of the most conservative platforms in recent history.

But McCain said a platform is largely meaningless because most voters don't pay attention. The only issues that matter, he said, are those proposed by the presidential and vice-presidential nominees.

McCain is slated to speak at the convention Wednesday, the same night former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is expected to formerly accept the party's nomination for president.

Republicans adopted the hard-line stance on abortion this week despite the incendiary comments of Congressman Todd Akin. The Missouri politician said last weekend that women would rarely get pregnant in cases of "legitimate rape."

On Thursday, McCain called Akin an "idiot." He then added that the Republicans need to do a better job of recruiting women into the party.

When asked if the party's platform would get in the way of that, McCain said, "I could walk down Central Avenue and I don't think I'd find a single woman who knows what the plank is of the Republican Party. What they care about is the position of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan [the presumptive vice presidential nominee]."