Sunday, July 15, 2007

McCain: This Is A Day At The Beach

Photo is: ©Chris Fitzgerald/

The following is a summary of John McCain's Town Hall meeting in Claremont. It was submitted by a faithful reader. Here is his report:

Despite the press reports about the "implosion" of his candidacy (and a McCain mask wearing figure out front with sign reading "I Spend Money Like a Drunken Sailor" holding out a tin cup), McCain seemed ready to go the distance. "After some of the things I've been through, this is a day at the beach," he said in response to a question about whether he was down.

There were probably 150 people there at the Claremont Legion Hall, starting at 8:45 on a beautiful Saturday morning. The most visible constituency was made up of the dozen or so people wearing bright red "" T-shirts. (It's a project of AARP, the Business Roundtable and SEIU trying to get more attention paid to the broken health care system.)

McCain, looking a bit tired and rumpled when he arrived, was clearly energized the more he spoke. He began by ticking off a few key issues, the first of which was climate change, which he called the challenge of the next generation. (Other issues: government spending, displaced workers and the war.) On the war, McCain rejects the term "war on terror," though that appears in a slick campaign card available at the event. (I had the feeling that this appearance was McCain on his own, without any consultants or focus groups telling him what to say.)

After about 15 minutes speaking, he started answering questions. First was health care (from a red-T-shirted questioner), and McCain noted that health care is always high on the list of questions he's asked at Town Meetings, though not high on the list asked at formal debates. He wants to fix it, but not by means of single-payer. He favors letting people buy drugs from Canada.

On his first day in office, McCain says he would close Guantanamo, let the world know the US will never torture again, start taking action on climate change and "be humble." He said he was disappointed the Bush Administration on climate change and that Donald Rumsfeld would go down in history as one of the worst Secretaries of Defense ever.

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