McCain: Obama playing politics with security; GOP can take Senate

Sen. John McCain on Tuesday became one of the highest-profile Senate Republicans to say that his party could take control of the upper chamber in the midterm elections.

In an interview on the "Imus in the Morning" show, McCain (Ariz.) criticized President Obama on national security issues and said that if Republicans win the Senate, he would become chairman of the Armed Services Committee and could further influence the debate.

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"I thought the important thing is, particularly on national security issues, but other issues — I think I have a lot to contribute. If we, and I think we can, take over the Senate, I'll be chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee," McCain said. "This is a totally inexperienced president who is making decisions on national security for political reasons — and I don't take that charge lightly." 

Several election handicappers have recently projected that the Senate is in play for the Republicans, but the party would need to perform extraordinarily well on Nov. 2 to win a majority.

Democrats currently have 59 seats in the Senate, meaning that Republicans would need to win virtually every competitive race this year in order to take the 10 seats necessary to take control.

McCain, the GOP's 2008 presidential nominee, is one of the most prominent Republican politicians to publicly say that scenario is possible.

His comments also came on the last major primary day before the November election. Observers are closely watching several results, especially the Delaware Senate Republican primary, as a bellwether of how the GOP will perform in about two months.

The contest in the First State pits Rep. Mike Castle, a centrist Republican favored by the party establishment, against conservative pundit Christine O'Donnell, who has the backing of the Tea Party Express, the group that helped Joe Miller knock off incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) late last month.

Observers predict an O'Donnell victory could open up a path for likely Democratic nominee Chris Coons to win the general election, potentially taking a crucial seat away from Republicans.

Regardless, McCain expressed optimism. He said that the future, possibly under Republican rule in Congress, could bring better times.

"I think our best days are ahead of us, I think this is a very difficult time," McCain said.