Sen. John McCain Thursday told a conservative-rich audience that he has what it takes to unite the Republican party.
"I know I have a responsibility, if I am, as I hope to be, the Republican nominee for president, to unite the party and prepare for the great contest in November," McCain told the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Critics say he's too liberal to carry his party's nomination. Conservatives point to him breaking with the party on immigration, opposing the Bush tax cuts and co-sponsoring legislation on campaign finance reform.
The meeting is the nation's largest annual gathering of conservative activists, students and policymakers, according to CPAC.
The speech came just hours after McCain's chief rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, announced he was suspending his campaign.