McCain Heads Onto the Factory Floor
By Juliet Eilperin
PIPERSVILLE, Pa. -- Today was safety goggles day for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Even as he prepared to leave tomorrow afternoon for Latin America, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was devoting himself to domestic issues, talking about the price of gas and the need to revive the nation's economy. Apparently, these involved walking through factory floors repeatedly in a Rust Belt state.
McCain started off in Harrisburg, Pa., at Turbine Airfoil Designs, a producer of components for aircraft engines. Accompanied by several top company officials -- John Walton, Turbine Airfoil Designs' owner and CEO; president Ben Frazier; and production manager Tom Garner -- McCain examined several aspects of the engine-making process
At one point Cindy McCain -- whose tangerine-colored, waffle-weave sweater and jacket set was coordinated to match her husband's tie -- pointed to a grinding machine and asked, "Does this work?" Sure enough, the operator turned it on and it made a loud noise, which resembled a mix of an old-fashioned knife sharpener and an espresso machine milk steamer.
At the end of the tour, McCain watched company employees unveil a red-hot bell used for coating parts that had been heated to 1,975 degrees Fahrenheit. "There's a lot of heat. You might want to step back," Garner warned McCain.
The senator dutifully stepped back, exhaling with relief as he walked away from the heated bell.
After his tour, McCain said he had chosen to visit the company because it exemplified "both the opportunities and the challenges that face our manufacturing base here in the United States today." Some of the parts the company was making today, according to manufacturing engineer Kevin Hile, are destined to be shipped overseas to Fiat.
After a short plane flight and longer bus ride, McCain made it to Pipersville, a town in the Philadelphia suburbs, to visit Worth & Company, Inc., which produces heating and cooling units.
Accompanied by the company's president and CEO, Stephen Worth, and a phalanx of other company officers, McCain inspected several work stations that help produce units for schools, universities and other institutions. The most lighthearted moment of the tour came when McCain stopped by a station that normally cuts metal to help create duct systems, and instead watched a Worth employee cut the words "McCain" out on a metal sheet, surrounded by a handful of stars.
The senator began giggling as soon as he recognized his name. "Thank you, it's great," he told the employee before moving onto another station. Then it was onto a town hall meeting with Worth employees -- a more familiar setting for the senator.
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