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On the Stump, McCain Parries Questions on War

By Juliet Eilperin
MILWAUKEE -- Before a packed and largely supportive audience, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) parried with a few tough questioners about his commitment to the war in Iraq and reforming Washington.

Even as McCain conducted his town hall meeting, however, his aides sought to tamp down rumors that the senator was suffering from a cold. This afternoon, on the flight to Milwaukee from Los Angeles, McCain spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan told reporters the senator would cancel a town hall event in Pennsylvania Friday and would instead hold a press conference tomorrow in Milwaukee before flying to Long Island for a fundraiser.

Late this afternoon, press reports began circulating that the 71-year old senator was ill. Buchanan approached reporters as McCain was delivering his opening statement and said McCain did not have a cold. "He's not sick, otherwise we would have canceled this," she said. "It really is a scheduling issue."

His aides estimated that the crowd in Martin Luther High School's gym and its overflow room reached 1,400, and the audience enthusiastically cheered the presumptive GOP nominee on several occasions. But at the same time a few attendees questioned some of the central tenets of his campaign.

One woman questioned why he was committed to continuing the war in Iraq in light of the nation's current economic woes. "No surrender and not being willing to negotiate, how is that going to help our economy going further?" she asked.

"Let me put it this way, there would be catastrophic consequences. I would like to assure you, ma'am, no one hates war more than a veteran. I know war. I hate war," he said. "I believe that our economic difficulties can be addressed. I also believe that by winning in Iraq, that will reduce those costs."

Another woman indicated she was skeptical McCain could shake up the nation's political establishment in light of his long tenure in the Senate, and affiliation with the GOP. "As a Washington insider, how you can say it's going to be so different, when for the last four years we've been so bitterly disappointed?" she asked.

"I have a record of reform, and fighting against the special interests and the corruption of this country," he said, though he added that he realized some voters might not be convinced until he could convey a concrete plan of action for the nation. "I have a lot of work to do."

Earlier in the event, McCain made a point of touting his bipartisan credentials as a reason why he could break the gridlock that has dominated Washington politics for years. He said had a long history of reaching across the aisle to make legislative compromises, unlike Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.): "I've got a record of doing that, not a rhetoric of doing that."

By Web Politics Editor  |  May 29, 2008; 7:15 PM ET
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John McCain knows nothing about fighting a war. He spent the entire Viet war laying on a bunk in a prison cell in Haoni. The first time out he crashed his plane and was captured. He was taking pictures and not on a combat mission. He is almost as stupid as George Bush. Please note . . . ALMOST. Nobody is as stupid as Baby Boy Bush.
Sincerely The Democrat

Posted by: Ward Johnston | May 30, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Politics as usual - america losses again.

Posted by: Jen | May 30, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Whether some people like or not, the "surge" in Iraq is working. May has had one of the lowest death counts and it's absurd to expect NO more bombs or casualties in a country that although making progress is still at war.

Posted by: Pete | May 30, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

How can you all complain that Obama doesn't have enough experience, and at the same time complain that the candidates all have experience in congress and are therefore unqualified? What do you REALLY want?
As for Hillary, it's not about a woman and it's not about Hillary, it's about Billary, and that's already had its turn in the White House.

Posted by: rps | May 30, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

If McCain-Bush hates war he has a very odd way of showing it.

I actually thought his entire persona and personality were war driven. And I thought he was nothing but a lying warmongering politician, like my junior senator (ny).

Go figure.

Posted by: jeffp | May 30, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday in a rally McCain announced that the troops in Iraq are NOW below surge level, they are not! McCain claimed Basra is now quite and calm: three bombings occurred in Mosul yesterday.
America cannot survive four more years of lies and a president that refuses to accept reality.

See this on The Huffigtonpost for yourself:

Obama 08

Posted by: C W Los Angeles | May 30, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I could support whichever Democrat won the primaries. Neither Obama nor Clinton was my first choice, but either would make a fine president if elected.

But I cannot support a candidate who loses the primaries and then steals the nomination. Giving the prize to the candidate who got the second-most votes is a Republican trick, not the Democratic outcome.

If the candidate who gets the most delegates in the primaries and caucuses (almost certainly Obama, at this point) is denied the nomination, then that only proves that the entire primary process is a sham. Why bother with it if you will only impose some other preselected result instead? I would have to find some third Party (Green? Libertarian?) to support henceforth instead.

Posted by: Aelfric (Falls Church, Va.) | May 30, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse


Its a primary. Someone wins and another ends up losing. For those of you who selfishly say that if Hillary doesn't win, inspite of being behind in pledged delegates, even super-delegates and the popular vote (her calculations on the popular vote don't include votes for "undecided" in MI and several other large states like WA that Obama handily won through causcauses but which don't release individual voting data), then you are showing yourselves to be bitter and sore losers. This campaign isn't about one person, its about getting rid of 8 years of lies and deceit. If you want to continue that by voting for McCain, then you're just proving what a bunch of selfish idiots you all really are. You are going to diminish any possibility of another woman running for President. NO party would nominate another woman. Why? Because which Party would want to replay this drama again???

Posted by: Chris, Atlanta, GA | May 30, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Whatever colors he is, Obama surrounds himself with divisive, angry people and pretends to be shocked, shocked that they're saying what they always said.

This man is dangerous, and the people he'll bring with him are more dangerous.

He's unqualified, unprepared, has too much baggage in his radical friends and will lose the unlosable election.

Hillary wasn't my first choice, but she sure is now. She's got grit, determination and a helluva lot of courage to keep going in the face of an Obama-adoring media who lost their critical faculties in the face of the rock star of Hope! and Change!

She's all that stands between us and the disaster of such a neophyte's presidency.

I -- and just about everyone I know -- plan to skip the Presidential column and just vote for local Democrats in November if Obama is the nominee.

Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi can't force this one down our throats. I'd rather suffer McCain than Obama's empty rhetoric and divisive associates.

Posted by: Franklin D. | May 29, 2008 11:50 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | May 30, 2008 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Hillary supporters,please join us in November and vote Hillary or McCain.There are 17+ million of us that voted for Hillary,we can stop this empty suit from bringing his UCC brand of unity and patriotism to the white house.Vote Hillary or McCain.

Posted by: obamamama | May 30, 2008 1:31 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: BRAD | May 30, 2008 1:07 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: BRAD | May 30, 2008 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Will somebody please ask Sen. McCain how he will pay for staying in Iraq? Why does he feel the need to let the unborn pay for his expenses? Shouldn't the unborn be born into this world without having the debt left from Bush and McCain thrust upon them? Equal rights for the unborn. They should not have to pay for the Iraq war.

Posted by: Scott | May 30, 2008 12:54 AM | Report abuse

LOL! Soooo, someone asked:

"As a Washington insider, how you can say it's going to be so different, when for the last our years we've been so bitterly disappointed?" she asked.

McCain is an Insider(Beltway), NO Doubt.


ALL THREE current Lousy Choices ARE! :-(

"Barry" is the WORST! HE, is not even his own man! Teddy, John Kerry, Tom Daschle, and Worse, pull Barack's strings! Soros can't run, so he hired O'Bomba-Nation!

The Clintons-Pahlease! ANYTHING But!

If it is IMPOSSIBLE to get McCain out, at least get Mitt Romney on Board, with ALL Beltway Outsiders in the Cabinet!

I shake my head in DISGUST, at the FACT this Moronic Nation has picked Congressmen, from a Congress with RECORD Low Levels of Approval, for the Executive Seat!

Dummies: CONGRESS WAS, and IS, the PROBLEM!

Posted by: SAINT---The | May 29, 2008 9:10 PM | Report abuse

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