WICHITA – Just one day after Republican presidential hopeful and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney suspended his bid the 2008 presidential race, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., brought a new message to Kansans.
McCain, slated as the likely winner of the Republican nomination for president, was in Wichita on Friday afternoon at the Hawker-Beechcraft Service Center in an effort to bring Kansas conservatives the message that he holds a socially and fiscally conservative voting record in Congress.
Former presidential candidate Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., introduced McCain. Brownback detailed McCain’s time as a prisoner of war and said the U.S. needs a president who has “suffered for our country.” He also discussed recent thoughts on McCain’s growing liberalism by bringing up his consistent pro-life and pro-Second Amendment stances as a legislator.
After establishing a common ground with the audience by sharing that his hero has been and always will be former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., McCain first addressed his feelings on Romney’s departure from the race. He said together, he and Romney are “committed to uniting the [Republican] Party and winning this election,” hinting to the former Massachusetts governor as a possible running mate.
Speaking as a Congressman, McCain said he has “never asked for nor received an earmark for Arizona, and as president will veto any bill that comes across his desk asking for any earmark.”
He assured conservative voters that he supports the privatization of the health-care system and favors lower taxes and less government control.
McCain also remarked on the competitive market Wichita and all of Kansas supports.
As president, McCain vowed to “open every market in the world for Kansas products because [Kansas] is home to some of the “world’s most productive and effective workers.”
McCain also touched on his plan to eliminate wasteful spending and in turn he hopes to give every child in America a $1,000 tax credit.
With a metal bracelet engraved with the name of a fallen soldier on his wrist, McCain turned his focus to the war in Iraq. Once a picture of the evil found in Iraq had been painted, McCain countered the Democratic plan for Iraq.
“If we had set a date to get out like [Sen. Barack] Obama [D-Ill.] and [Sen. Hillary] Clinton [D-N.Y.] wanted, al-Qaeda would be celebrating our defeat and surrender,” McCain said.
McCain also said through his experiences, the judgment and voice of Iraq Multi-National Force Commanding General David Petraeus is more important than someone seeking a higher political office and the U.S. will have success in Iraq over time.
He also said he will do everything in his power to make sure the troops’ deaths are not in vain.
McCain closed by saying most importantly, as president, he hopes to inspire Americans to serve a cause greater than their own self-interests.
Kansas voters had the chance to take McCain’s words to heart as they voted in the Republican caucuses on Saturday, where he came in second to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.