Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

McCain Foreshadows Latin America Trip

Sen. John McCain poses for a photo with supporters after a campaign town hall-style meeting in Pipersville, Pa., June 30, 2008. (Associated Press)

By Juliet Eilperin
ABOARD THE STRAIGHT TALK EXPRESS, PA. -- Sen. John McCain spoke at length about his upcoming trip to Latin America and approach to international affairs during a ride on his Straight Talk Express bus to Pipersville, Pa., today.

When asked about why he was going to tout the virtues of free trade abroad at a time when many Americans have grown increasingly skeptical of such agreements, the senator said he had no intention of backing away from such a longstanding commitment.

"You gotta stand on principle. I believe in the principle of free trade," he said, adding that Americans have been ill-served by the unemployment and worker displacement programs that the federal government runs. "It's terrible," he said of the two programs.

McCain said he was determined not to follow the example of President Herbert Hoover, who signed protectionist legislation into law. "We went from a recession into one of the great depressions of our history," he said. "I've got to convince people... that I have a plan to give them the kind of education and training they need."

McCain said he hoped to achieve several goals with his upcoming trip, including thanking the leaders of Colombia and Mexico for their work on the drug trade, and to "pledge my continued cooperation with them." But he added that he would also press them to make further progress.

"I would also urge them, in the case of Mexico, to reform their economy, to ensure that it's a more open and competitive economy," he said, adding he would also urge them to curb the flow of illegal immigrants to the U.S. "It would be so much easier if we had the ability to trust our neighbors to the south as much as we trust our neighbors to the north, in terms of border security."

"Also, I'd like to tell them I'd pay a lot of attention to them as president," McCain added. "I think it's important our friends and neighbors understand our commitment to them. What happens in Columbia and Mexico is very important to the future of America."

The senator spoke in detail about the recent assassination of the acting head of Mexico's federal judicial police, who has killed just outside his home despite the fact that he lived in a secret location. The alleged killer had the keys to the police chief's house at the time of the murder.

"This is really a serious situation in Mexico," he said. "I think it's an important time right now. This is scary."

McCain was less critical of the Colombian government, which has come under fire for intimidating and harming political opponents, including labor leaders. The senator said that while there "were human rights abuses by the paramilitaries and these people need to be brought to justice, no matter who they are or where they are," that had to be viewed in the context of the Colombian president's battle against domestic terrorists.

"But I balance that against Uribe and his administration's rescue of Colombia from a failed state status," he said, adding it did not justify the need "to throw out the entire theory of free trade... Failure to ratify the free trade agreement sends a message throughout the hemisphere: If you're a friend of the United States, don't count on them."

When asked how closely his policies meshed with President Bush, McCain did not answer the question directly, instead saying, "I'm also closely aligned with President Clinton. President Clinton is the one who signed the free trade agreement with North America."

McCain said he understood that the trip might carry some political risks for him. "I understand it's very tough. I'm the underdog in this race," he said, adding that to change his position on trade would undermine his relationship with voters who trust him. "The most precious commodity I have in this race is that sense of trust."

And even as he vowed not to attack Obama while overseas, McCain said he would repeatedly question his opponent's position of trade pacts while in the U.S. "He's against them all," he said. "I don't understand how you can be for free trade and be against every free trade agreement."

Going to Latin America in the midst of a presidential campaign, he said, speaks less to his role as a senator than to what he's hoping to achieve if elected this fall. "It's more my ability to govern as president," he said, "my ability to lead as president, to keep up with these major issues."

McCain also outlined a sort of compassionate, realpolitik approach to international affairs, saying that he believed this U.S. worked hard to promote human rights abroad but also ensured that it pursued realistic goals.

"We can't right every wrong and achieve every laudable goal," he said, using Darfur as an example of where many Americans want to act, but have yet to identify a reasonable course of action.

"How can we bring pressure on the government of Somalia?" he asked, which prompted Mark Salter to correct him. "Sudan," Salter said.

"Sudan," McCain repeated. "There's a realpolitik side of my view of the conduct of American foreign policy."

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 30, 2008; 6:58 PM ET
Categories:  John McCain  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Freedom's Watch Hits Obama for Delay on MoveOn Statement
Next: McCain Celebrates a Big Tent Kind of Night


I have seen a picture where McCain shakes hands with Colombian troops. None of those troops and citizens of Colombia and Mexico will vote for him in November. I and people at grocery stores, gas pumps, states affected by flooding, etc. would like to sake hands with him. We are the real people who will decide who will be the next president.
Ed Pulido
Slidell, Louisiana, 70461

Posted by: Edilberto Pulido | July 4, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

John McCain's trade policies with Colombia are already working - as he noted in television interviews this morning, the price of Colombian cocaine is up, a sure sign of a strengthening trade-based economic relationship with this important swing state. Go McCain!

Posted by: Christina West | July 2, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

SHOCKING!!! Mrs. Obama divulges children's recipes for Sashakisha and Maleawan!!!

Posted by: PeaPod | June 30, 2008 11:03 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

It is reminiscent of how Hitler suckered young people. Young people no longer think for themselves. They follow blindly

Posted by: Anaonymous | June 30, 2008 11:13 PM


You're a real thinker!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Just as John McCain has collaborated with the Vietnamese enemy, he has been collaborating with the leaders of the Mexican Reconquista movement for some time. Among other outrages, he was the keynote speaker at the 2004 annual conference of the National Council of La Raza. He told the crowd: "It is in our national interest to bring the 8 to 12 million undocumented immigrants out of the shadows and allow them an opportunity to become citizens of this great nation."

After the massive illegal alien protests last year, McCain made the following statement: "If such demonstrations continue, I think we will have a bill for the President to sign soon. The more debate, the more demonstrations, the more likely we will prevail."

Under Sen. McCain's immigration bill, even members of Mexican drug gangs would receive amnesty by simply signing a statement in which they renounce their gang affiliation.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Juan McAmnesty is beyond the pale!

Equal rights and Justice means that fence jumpers don't get legal rights before those who have patiently waited in line.

Out with the old illegals in with the new blood.

Stop pandering to the crazy Cubans you old git! American foreign policy should never be subservient to politics. Shameless!

It's McBush eating wafflecake while people in New Orleans starve. Forget nation-bombing and nation-building in Iraq and Iran. Fix America first! Use the money here!

Clean up DC. Clean up Texas and LA!

No to McCain. No to Amnesty!

Posted by: JR, Boston | July 1, 2008 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Obama has raped the Democratic Party. Obama is a dangerous con man. It is reminiscent of how Hitler suckered young people. Young people no longer think for themselves. They follow blindly

Posted by: Anaonymous | June 30, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

And according to Obama, there are 47 states in the United States of America. What a moron! And he's got a graduate degree from Harvard?

I do not support affirmative action anymore. It's something that belongs in the 1970's. It's in becoming irrelevant in the 21st century. Affirmative action is legalized racism.

Posted by: Scott | June 30, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

SHOCKING!!! Mrs. Obama divulges children's recipes for Sashakisha and Maleawan!!!

Posted by: PeaPod | June 30, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

"How can we bring pressure on the government of Somalia?" he asked, which prompted Mark Salter to correct him. "Sudan," Salter said.

"Sudan," McCain repeated. "There's a realpolitik side of my view of the conduct of American foreign policy."

Sunni. Shiite. Somalia. Sudan.

Tomato. Tomato. Potato. Potato.

It's all the same to him. Wow.

Posted by: Susan | June 30, 2008 10:57 PM | Report abuse

If people started learing to read; they would note that illigal immigrants take the lowest paying un-educated jobs and then have to spend nearly every penny right here in the US to support themselves and their families. Meaning: they pay taxes, buy goods, support US businesses and even pay social security (which they will never collect) when using a false number.

That is a lot of paying into a system that is difficult for them to get any use out of...

Posted by: Roy | June 30, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Please visit this site:

upload your videos, sign up and invite friends.

Your help means a lot to me!


Posted by: newsendorser | June 30, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Both of them are flops. Both are going to do nothing about the continual unabated flow of illegal lawbreakers coming to this country to take your job. Yes your job people and you will have to continue to pay for their education, welfare, housing assistance, employment and healthcare. Wake up people if not for your sakes your children's and grandchildren. Ny question to you is why do you want to saddle your offspring with paying billions upon billions upon billions of dollars to these people. You are assuring your kin of future poverty. Wake up!

Posted by: Dave | June 30, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

So anyone want to bet that the endless damn
pandering to the Hispanic and Mexican vote
by both Republican Amnesty John McCain and
Marxist Socialist Democrat Barack Obama may
yet cost them any chance of being elected
President now then?.. I hope ever voter is
well aware that both Obama and McCain and
Hillary Clinton openly fully support giving
Illegal Alien Criminals Amnesty and even
making them all free instant US Citizens?
Or are you awared Obama,Clinton,and McCain
support open borders and tearing down the
security fence between the USA and Mexico?
So take note we just had another Phoenix
Policer shot by an Illegal Alien Criminal
over the weekend as well. Thank God she was
wearing her body armor and that she got hit
in it and her hand. Do you want 30 Million
Illegal Alien Criminals running amok people
in the USA thanks to Illegal Alien Panderers Amnesty John McCain,Hillary Clinton,and Barack Hussein Obama? We have had 11 Phoenix Area Police Officers Shot
and 4 of them killed by these Illegal Aliens that Obama,McCain and Clinton are
out there pandering too as well. NOBAMA!

Posted by: Ralphinphnx | June 30, 2008 8:55 PM | Report abuse

I support Obama; however, free-trade is vital to the world economy. The main reason so many people are on the down-and-out is because EVERY president in the past 20 years has neglected to realize that it only works if we EDUCATE the people who have had their jobs migrated.

To follow that up, I know of NO people that have lost jobs taking resposibility for their future. They expect their gov't to bring in a clone business and let continue producing inferior products at a greater cost. (That is why communism was so effective in Russia; wink, wink)

Posted by: Nathan | June 30, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Well he can't draw a crowd in this country, so maybe he'll be elected President of Canada or Mexico after the campaign.

Posted by: Will | June 30, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

John "Maverick" McCain.

At least he has original CHANGE to offer. Obomba is avoiding a debate with McCain, WHY? All of you Obombacon victims need to wake up. WHY won't Obomba debate "old man" McSame? For the Great, Wise, and Experienced Obomba, McCain should be a piece of cake to debate, even easier than Clinton.

What are you doing on the night of the 4th of July? I'm watching the fireworks, I wonder if I'll be the only one there? Hmmm.

McCain 2008, because he's the only "Solution for America" left...

Posted by: Never had an Obotomy | June 30, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company