Published Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012 9:01AM EST
Last Updated Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012 12:06PM EST
United States Sen. John McCain says Tea Party candidates "can play a role" within the Republican party in future elections, but the GOP must rethink its strategy for reaching out to women, African-American and Hispanic voters.
McCain, the Republican senator from Arizona and one-time GOP presidential candidate, told CTV?s Question Period that the lesson following two straight failures to gain the White House is that the party has to broaden its base from "an older, white group" of voters.
"I think we have to one, understand demographics and growth of the Hispanic population, the Asian-American population, as well as the reality of the African-American vote, which is overwhelmingly Democrat, whether it?s President Obama or another Democrat candidate," McCain told Question Period from Halifax, where he is attending the Halifax International Security Forum.
"We?re going to have to do a lot better with especially the Hispanic vote and also the Asian-American vote. And we?re going to have to do immigration reform and we?re going to have to act in a way that will hopefully be more conducive to young women."
- Watch Question Period on CTV Sunday at 11 a.m. in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba; 12 p.m. in Atlantic Canada; 2 p.m. in British Columbia; 3 p.m. in Alberta, Saskatchewan
Exit polls conducted by The Associated Press found that U.S. President Barack Obama was the choice of more than nine out of 10 African-American voters and three of five Hispanic voters in Florida. Obama was also the choice of two-thirds of voters under the age of 30.
Republican challenger Mitt Romney?s support came largely from older and white male voters.
When asked specifically about the more socially conservative Tea Party faction of the GOP, McCain said "the Tea Party can play a role, but I can also tell you that now we?ve lost five Senate races because we had the wrong candidates."
The Republicans retained control of the House of Representatives while the Democrats remained in control of the Senate after this month?s election, which saw voters soundly reject GOP candidates that had Tea Party ties.
While Romney carried Missouri and Indiana, Republican Senate candidates in those states lost after making controversial and offensive comments during the campaign.
In Indiana, Democrat Joe Donnelly beat Republican candidate Richard Mourdock, who was widely criticized for saying during a debate that pregnancy from rape is "something God intended."
In Missouri, Democrat Claire McCaskill defeated Congressman Todd Akin, who lost favour with Republican leadership after giving an interview in which he said women?s bodies can ward off pregnancy in instances of "legitimate rape."
McCain said that lawmakers have little time to dwell on a bruising and divisive campaign season, as they seek to work out a deal to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff," the steep tax increases and deep spending cuts set to take effect in January unless Congress hammers out a new deal.
If lawmakers fail to reach a new deal, experts worry an already struggling U.S. economy will plunge into recession.
"The markets are already reacting to this looming crisis," McCain said. "There?s not a lot of good will out of this election, it was too rough an election. But I know that there?s a realization and an appreciation by leaders in my party and leaders in the party of the President of the United States that we?ve got to get something done. Exactly how we get there, I don?t know."
With files from The Associated Press