Sen. John McCain is speaking in Hudson to a group of women business owners. I’m interested in your reaction. Post in the comments section, please.
10:16 a.m. — It’s different already. “I know you want to know where I bought my dress,” said LouAnne Reger, the woman whose company is hosting the event. “And I know you want to know how to lose 5 pounds. Just host an event for John McCain.”
10:18 a.m. – “Do you want to know how to lose 30 pounds?” Cindy McCain asked. “Help your husband run for president.” She then described her difficult task of taking over her father’s business. Points to ponder: Is her wealth and asset or a liability?
10:22 a.m. – McCain begins, and focuses attention on his wife, who just returned from Vietnam.
10:25 a.m. – Just ran into this article in the Guardian this morning: US elections: McCain married to first wife when he applied for licence to marry second, report says.
The report contradicts McCain’s account from his 2002 memoir Worth Fighting For, in which he said he divorced Carol McCain in February 1980.
Here’s the link to the Los Angeles Times story.
10:28 a.m. “Women have made enormous progress,” McCain says. Highlights a woman being Speaker of the House (boos). Points to ponder: McCain, Obama take varied paths on women’s issues.
10:31 a.m. – Says “Small business is the only bright spot in the economy…. When women in America not only take care of their children and manage the family budgets… they also manage many of the enterprises people run.”
10:32 a.m. – Acknowledges more than 400,000 lost their jobs last month. 135,000 in Wisconsin are out of work. Segues into stump speech about his plan to change things, but does not describe the plan. “The role of government is to unleash the ingenuity of people…”
10:35 a.m. – Big applause when he talks about independence of foreign oil. “Caused by the failure of politicians in Washington to think long-term.” I’m having a Flashback to New York Times reporter Matt Wald on Midmorning on Monday.
Wald says he ‘runs for the exit’ when he hears the term energy independence. It’s not possible, he says.
McCain tackles Obama for saying “no” on energy solutions. “For a guy whose official seal carried the motto ‘yes we can,’ Sen. Obama’s motto sure has a lot of ‘no we can’t.’ He follows that with that nervous laugh that he does when he drops his laugh lines. (BTW, Factcheck.org took on this issue of energy)
10:39 a.m. McCain says he won’t raise taxes and gets big applause. It’s the read my lips comment.
10:41 a.m. “Sen. Obama’s policies will make harder for women to start new businesses, raise families, and meet the tax burden…” Says health care system should address fact women move in and out of the work force. Wants to give women a “substantial tax credit” to purchase their own coverage. (Big applause). “We must prepare our daughters for good jobs.”
10:44 a.m. Outlines differences with Obama. “I have never asked for a single pork-barrel project for my state in my entire career…. Sen. Obama has requested $930 million for earmark projects.”
10:48 a.m. – We go to the questions. This is McCain’s forte.
Q: Will you agree to drill in ANWR?
A: I will agree to drill off our coast. I agree that ANWR is a pristine area. I want to drill off the coasts first.
(A “whoops” moment. “I will see to it that those oil resources off the coast are exploited….explored.”)
Q: You said you’ll build 45 more nuclear power plants. How will you move this country to accepting that need for more nukes?
A: You saw the reaction of this group of Americans when I mentioned nuclear power. Americans are smart and they know what we have to do and we know that nuclear power is safe. (Repeats Navy on nukes story from his visit to St. Paul last month).
Q: You seem too willing to turn over our sovereignty to the U.N. (Someone shouts “yeah”!)
A: The Iranians tested a missile yesterday. What should be happening is the U.N. Security Council passing tough resolutions but the Russians will block it. We’ll have to join with French, Germans, and British to impose sanctions ourselves. But, we are entering a world where there are two emerging nations that are very strong. America will remain the strongest, most innovator, strongest militarily, and the most free and democratic but you’ve got other countries — India and China — growing on the world stage. We ought to work more closely with our allies.
Q: My father was shot down in WWII. He promised to raise kids Catholic. Given your strong stand on the environment, what is your opinion of revelation that VP Cheney coerced or forced scientists to doctor evidence on global warming and put entire world, all of mankind at risk? (Groans)
A: thank-you for your father’s service. I’ve had strong disagreements with administration on climate change. I’ve seen the effects of greenhouse gasses on our climate. Let’s suppose I’m wrong but we go to nuclear power and we reduce greenhouse gas emissions and unleash the talents of America for hybrid cars etc. All we’ve done is given kids a cleaner planet. Suppose I’m right.
We can adopt green technologies. I’m not familiar with the allegation that you said, but I’ll give you straight talk: I had no evidence the witnesses at a hearing were doing anything intellectually inappropriate but I didn’t think they were forthcoming on the issue.
Q: What does release of one in 5 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay say about the fight against terrorism?
A: I do not believe in torture. I disagree with the Supreme Court decision because we can establish a system where these people are given a trial, but they don’t deserve the full rights of an American citizen (biggest applause of the morning).
Q: Is there a way that widows can keep husband’s pension benefits?
A: I will do everything I can to fix that problem.
Q: We talk about family values, how is it I can get benefits if I just go an live with someone?
A: I understand (they didn’t give her the microphone on the follow-up)
Q: The Democratic Party has moved so far to the left, they’re almost falling off the planet. Will you hammer away at their Socialist, Marxist philosophy? (Huge applause)
A: Yes. I give the American people great credit. Those of us who seek public office underestimate the intelligence of the American people to discern changes in positions, legitimacy, all of those things that make a successful political campaign. They aren’t always right, but they usually are. Criticizes Obama for not having joint town meetings.
Q: Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement plan is terrible. We haven’t had an increase in payments to hospitals and doctors in 12 years. That’s passed on to small businesses. What plan do you have to help us out there a bit?
A: It’s not the quality of health care, it’s the cost. The quality is the best in the world. Wants outcome-based treatment. If someone has diabetes, for example, have health care provider pay them for a year and reward them if the patient is well. We need to have government health care plans for those who can’t get private insurance.
Wellness and fitness (repeats it several times). “One of the most disturbing statistics is the rise among young people of obesity. Go to your school and find out what the school lunch program is.” Points to ponder: Students eat better with recess before lunch.
Q: Fourth grade teacher in California, speaking on behalf of retired Naval aviator. Complaining that ROTC cadets don’t get PE credits. (Really? This is the one question you want to ask the person who could be the next president of the United States?)
A: McCain says good things about the ROTC program.
Q: Is Brett Favre coming out of retirement?
A: Starts recognizing some mayor of some town somewhere. Tells story about succeeding Barry Goldwater and meeting a Republican woman in Chandler, Arizona. The phone rang won night. It was the woman saying “I’ve got a big problem, they’re changing the garbage pick-up days.” McCain said “why don’t you call the mayor?” The woman said, “I wouldn’t want to bother an important person with such a trivial issue.”
I don’t think the senator knows much about Brett Favre.
Q: What would you do to address illegal immigrants?
A: It’s a big issue and we’ve shirked our responsibility. Talks about the technology and about the need to treat people compassionately who are here illegally. This is the same answer he gave last month in St. Paul and gives at practically every stop. Points to ponder: (NPR) McCain, Obama battle for Latino voters.
Q: I hope you will take Tim Pawlenty on.
A: Thanks. Gov. Pawlenty is a wonderful person.
Q: What will you do with the waste from 45 nuclear plants.
A: We have to store and reprocess. Find the rest of the answer on my live-blog from his appearance last month in St. Paul. It’s the same one.
11:34 God bless you and God Bless America!