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Straight to Michigan for McCain

By Juliet Eilperin
ABOARD THE MCCAIN CAMPAIGN PLANE -- Fresh off his New Hampshire victory, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) shifted gears and emphasized an economic message this morning as he prepared to greet Michigan voters in the run up to next week's primary.

John and Cindy McCain en route to Michigan. (AP)

Noting that Michigan's unemployment rate is 2 percent above the national average, McCain outlined a plan to involve local community colleges more deeply in federal worker retraining efforts. "The displaced worker programs we have are not working," he told reporters on the plane, which was headed to Grand Rapids. "They're designed for the 1950s, with the idea that after a while [workers will] go back to their old jobs. These jobs are not coming back."

The senator continued to tout his foreign policy and military experience in interviews, but made it clear -- like his chief rival in Michigan, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney -- that economic issues would dominate the contest in Michigan. "It's the economy that's the greatest challenge here."

Though McCain voted against President Bush's tax cuts in 2001, he said he would push to make them permanent and lower taxes even further in an effort to boost the nation's financial outlook. He added he would "end the corrupt spending in Washington so we don't get the financial weakness that keeps us from lowering interest rates."

While Romney has a sizeable campaign operation in Michigan--he has had 11 paid staffers working the state for nearly a year, McCain campaign strategist Charlie Black said the senator hired 20 paid staff a month ago and has a significant group of volunteers working on his behalf.

And while former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, with his close ties to evangelical voters in western Michigan, may also play a significant role in next week's primary contest, McCain said he would work to find common ground with evangelicals by talking to them about his determination to curb climate change.

"That's clearly an issue in which I'm in sync with the evangelical community," he said.

Last night's win, McCain added, should also help him make the argument that he's best positioned to beat whichever Democrat ends up running in the fall election: "As soon as you win a primary, the electability quotient goes up."

And displaying the sort of sarcastic wit he's known for, McCain informed reporters he was conducting secret surveillance on them and that the campaign had righted itself financially once it stopped trying to make the comments of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of McCain's most fervent supporters, more understandable to non-Southerners.

"One of the reasons we ran into financial difficulties this summer was we had to pay for a translator for Lindsey, and that was such an incredible burden," he joked, as Graham stood beside him on the plane. "We're not doing that anymore."

By Washington Post editors  |  January 9, 2008; 10:28 AM ET
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These comments are laughable. It is "proven" that decreasing taxes increases taxes? What are you on? Let's see, take $100 out of the taxes paid. Now, add that $10 to ten people each. Now they make $10 more we tax them at 50%, that gives us, uh, let's see, $5 x 10 = $50. So we went from $100 to $50. Great!

Mitt is a part of the same gang that has been pillaging Washington for the last 7 years. He will say anything and keep the millionaires tax cuts while shifting more of the tax burden to the working class. He spends tens of millions of his own money to buy this election, so the fat cats can keep their capital gains which is built on the blood of soldiers and bombed out Iraq. A 25% increase in the size of the federal budget by G.W. has driven the value of the dollar lower than it has been in decades, not to mention record deficits and a recession on the way. Wow, solid conservative republican behavior. Disgusting.

Mitt would do the same thing in Iraq, make the same budgetary disasters, and keep everything business as usual. Sad.

Posted by: jeff | January 11, 2008 12:18 AM | Report abuse

I am from NH and its sad that the circus has left town. I voted for McCain (over Romney) because he has stood his ground for what he thinks is right. Even if I don't think he's right, he's not nearly as poll-driven as the other candidates.

I also supported McCain because he is the only fiscal conservative. Its easy to be for tax cuts, its much harder to say "no" to spending. All the other candidates have a laundry list of what they want to do, all of it costing money. John correctly points out that it all comes with a cost.

Some of you guys are not at all pragmatic about what its going to take to solve illegal immegration. The GOP was in total charge of govt for 6 years and they did nothing about the subject. Now some politicans take the most hardline views that might satisfy the wingnuts, but won't possibly get passed in Congress.

Posted by: netthreat | January 9, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse


did you have a case of selective reading? I didn't just site the fact that he brought the Olympics "under budget", I said that he used the line item veto to veto earmarks and liberal spending sprees. That's the only thing that is going to change the Washington culture. I'm sorry but one out of the many senators in Washington isn't going to start a revolution by withholding a vote that he should have voted yes on. The Executive Branch is the only thing that can change Washington, and Romney has proven he is ready and willing to use the veto pen as he did it more than 840 times, and not only that - he has pledge to be transparent when he receives a spending bill from the legislature. He has also pledge to veto any non-defense bill that puts federal spending over inflation minus 1%. Romney/Hunter 08

Posted by: Joshua.Luke | January 9, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Spending more than you take in doesn't work for me, and it surely doesn't work for a national government. I won't argue the trickle-down aspect of your argument ( I agree)however, and don't want a taxcut today that burdens my children with future debt. You need to set your sites on the longterm, and not just satisfy your knee jerk remedy that tax cuts solve all the ills. Don't get me wrong, I want to pay fewer taxes, just like most, I'm just smart enough to know you cannot burden future generations with billions in debt without cost. If you think short term economic stimulus is more important than long term fiscal responsibility, it is you that are naive. Ken doll, er I mean Romney, is pliable and will say anything to win support. There really is more at stake here than 'bringing in the Olympics under budget.'

Posted by: xdess | January 9, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse


that sounds good, but look up the facts. McCain and apparently you, do not understand that decreasing taxes creates more government revenue automatically because it puts more money in the pockets of Americans and thus, more people are getting rich, which in turn puts them in a higher tax bracket. It's proven. So while we do need to absolutely reign in earmarks, the irresponsible way to do it is to vote against tax decreases that will help the economy and the American people. You don't punish the American people and the economy, you find a way to change the culture of Washington. The only way you're going to change the culture of Washington is electing a fiscal conservative and give him the line item veto. Romney has used the line item veto over 840 times. Not only that Romney is a tireless fiscal conservative. When he ran the Olympics he found a way to bring them back from corruption but not only that found a way to keep federal government funds under 20% when past games in the US were funded with over 50% of the funds coming from the federal government. He doesn't talk about it, he gets it done, and also understands how to deal with the culture of Washington. I don't blame McCain for being naive, he's been in Washington for decades - I don't expect him to have expertise in the economy! Romney/Hunter 08

Posted by: Joshua.Luke | January 9, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Bet McCain knows better than to try Fishing there!

Wherever he goes, he knows he is on Thin Ice!

Not to mention all that hot air coming out!

Posted by: rat-the | January 9, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

McCain has maintained the position that tax cuts w/o the similar offset in spending is reprehensible. Wouldn't you agree? Harping on 'cutting taxes' and not recognizing that continuing bloated spending is at the very least, dishonest, and at worst irresponsible. Where are the true fiscal conservatives who know you cannot have it both ways. For that, my hat is off to McCain..It is very easy to be in favor of continued tax cuts (Bush???), but very difficult to insist for the offset in spending..

Posted by: xdess | January 9, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

hey forces,

I'll admit that he said he was wrong, but you have to admit now that he consistently mischaracterizes his policy. That, to me says he is trying to justify his position. He still hasn't said he's changed his policy on it, in fact he admitted that he's still trying to work it out in the Senate on Meet the Press. Just because someone is consistent doesn't mean they are right. I'd rather someone change their view than be consistently wrong. McCain is consistently wrong about selling out our sovereignty to global communities,and he is consistenly wrong about his immigration policy that he continues to say was the right course. I'll say this, that now he wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent and innact more tax cuts, but out of the same mouth he says he would still vote no on the Bush tax cuts. I'll reiterate that I'd rather have someone who listens to the voice of the American peole, and/or seeks facts and has a change of heart, than someone who is consistently wrong. I give McCain credit for being right about the surge, and I give him credit for being against abortion, but like I said most of the GOP candidates hold those same views, but are right when it comes to the sovereignty of this country, and are right about the economy and taxes, and are right about immigration. Romney/Hunter 08

Posted by: Joshua.Luke | January 9, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

joshualuke, you aren't particularly accurate as regards McCain. For instance, he admitted he was wrong on immigration and now says 'the borders must be sealed'. In any case, at the end of the day, he's been very consistent in terms of social issues as well as economic and national security, something that can't be said about anyone else in the contest. And he's been tested in a way no one else can even imagine.

Posted by: forces | January 9, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe that you guys are rallying around someone like McCain. Honestly, are we as a party content with sacrificing our beliefs because we think someone has a better chance against democrats based upon rediculous polls (that have shown how reliable they can be)? The fact is that the conservative coalition is the only thing that will save this country! Fiscal conservatism, social conservatism, and foriegn policy conservatism!! I'm sorry, but McCain, no matter how much he likes to tout his foriegn policy credentials, his policy is not something that this country needs - it's weak, quite frankly. He supported the surge, he didn't right the policy for the surge - he latched on to an idea. That's what most of the candidates did minus Huckabee (he wasn't for it at first because he didn't like the idea of sending the national guard troops). He has ideas that would harm this nation in the area of foriegn policy. He believes in global communities like McCain-Lieberman that joins us to a global obligation to fight Global Warming, and he wants to join us to the ICC - these organizations would undermind our soveriegnty and put us on a path to globalization which is not only unsound foriegn policy, but also very unsound national economic policy. That's just half of it - he wants to shut down Guantanamo Bay and end tough, humane interrogation techniques that have been instrumental in helping us thwart terrorist attacks since 9-11. The national economy will also be key this election cycle and he has proven that he would rather punish the American economy and the American people by not voting for tax cuts because he found earmarks in the bill. That's not how to lead. All of that, plus the fact that he co-authored and continues to support his disasterous immigration reform policy. America needs to wake up and understand what kind of times we are in. Our economy is just as important against terrorist threats, as shooting people in the head overseas before they come here. McCain is so far from conservative on many points and they are absolutely points that matter. Romney/Hunter 08

Posted by: Joshua.Luke | January 9, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

He is the only legitiment shot that the GOPs have at winning the general election. The party sure hopes that these little things will be enough for him to continue getting the party base on board. If that happens, he will be hard for Obama or Clinton to defeat

Posted by: Mmouse703 | January 9, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

That's McCain, an American original, the only one in the race.

I'm skeptical that's it will be enough to get him the nomination. The farther away we get from retail campaigning, the less impact McCain's personal qualities make, and he doesn't have the financial resources to go head-to-head with Romney over the airwaves in multiple states. But as long as he's in the race Republicans will at least have the chance to vote for someone they have reason to admire on a personal level.

Posted by: jbritt3 | January 9, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

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