Well, back to McCain’s again for last night’s Town Meeting event. This time, the it was at the Wright Museum in Wolfeboro NH. The Wright is dedicated to preserving the memory of the time during WWII and in honoring those of the Greatest Generation. Located in the big amphitheater, the crowd is up front surrounded by a tracked ack-ack, a tracked jeep type of vehicle, and a Sherman tank. The area is ringed b y a balcony and the place is packed! Heck, it was packed a half hour ago and with standing room only. I joked with Jill that she should have a drawing and the winner gets to sit on the muzzle of the tank (only kidding)!
A somewhat older crowd, it still is an impressive turnout, given that this is the dead of summer, it is gorgeous out there (bright sun, dew points in the 50’s, and temps in the low 70s). This is Wolfeboro – its claim to fame is that it is the oldest resort / vacation area in the US – all the way back to the 1700s people have been seeking this quaint New England town (heck, the new President of France, Sarkozy, is spending a couple of weeks here).
Pledge of Allegiance was led by John, a Viet Nam era vet (didn’t catch his last name). Then,
Dave Knox gave giving the opening remarks. Intro’d the “special local notables” – Matt Stanley family. Commissioner Dave Sorenson, Peter Oaker (County Commissioner), Stand Stevens House Representative. Talked about McCain’s book about "Faith of Our Fathers". He stressed that John McCain will not change his views easily – he does not change for mere political expediency.
As Senator McCain strode in, there was a standing "O" to the music of "Johnny Be Good". The audience started to clap in time to the music (which sounded speeded up a tad). Played the entire song and people stayed right up. Of course, typing away means that I cannot really see if he is here…..note to self…wearable / belt style computer, chording keyboard and eyeglass monitor may be needed to be in my future….yup, a geek to the end.
When everyone sat down, he looked good and full of energy.
Note: Considering the long day he had already had, I was surprised. Reflecting back on the Franklin event and watching him during the rest of the evening, it is clear that he is in his element in this type of setting. It seemed that he became more and more energized as the event progressed. I may sound like a broken record, but he does relish getting questions from the audience, looking for that back and forth between him and the questioner. There were a couple of "doozies" that I believe were obvious setups, but even those he answered honestly. He wants to make sure that the attendees that are chosen get as much of a complete answer as is possible in that setting and, admittedly, in that style of event.
THAT is the McCain advantage. I’ve personally seen others, and watched others on TV, and I don’t think anyone can match his intensity in trying to talk with the person asking the question. One may not agree with his answers or his stances, but he, at that moment, makes it seems as the only important person in the room at that moment in time is YOU…and not him.
Anyways, more after the jump (and I will be adding more, including some exclusive audio clips by and for GraniteGrok at the McCain event)!
Back to the event itself. The Senator recognized vets that were there, including some from WWII. And told some jokes.
Irish jokes – the only ethnic joke you can tell nowadays. Bar is empty with one guy at either end. One gets up, goes to the other. Where are you from? Ireland? Me too! And thus they swap drinks. Whereabouts in Ireland? Oh, Dublin you say! The two swap some more drinks. What school didja go to? Oh, St. Mary’s? Me too! Drinks again. A new person comes in and watches the two at the end of the bar and asks the barkeep "Who are those folks?" Ah, they’re just the O’Brien twins getting drunk again."
Another quick quip: chided the museum director that he needed to add more Navy stuff. Another was noticing that Governer Lynch (a Democrat) was not present, so told this quick Prison joke – Two prisoners were waiting in the chow line and they both mumble about the lack of quality in the food. Finally, one turns to the other and flatly declares "the food was better here when you were governor."
Senator mentions the South Carolina news (moving up their date) – NH has to be first, as the people here understand what is at stake. "You will be going to other town meetings that will be more boring than mine." He does not believe that the front loading is good for America. He wants the Iowa caucus, the NH primary, and then the SC. If he is President, he will ensure it stays first. "Pandering is now over."
Chertoff – news – more enforcement of employers. People want existing laws enforced. This will be the SS matching, that an employer has to fire an employee if the SS numbers do not match up (as in the case of illegal immigrants) and the non-compliance letter is sent. If the employer does not take action, big fine or prosecution will result. People were right – we have to enforce our present laws. More efforts will now be done to enforce it.
He still wants a temp worker policy. Proposing a work 10 months, go back 2 months cycle. Have to address 12 million illegal and 2-3 that have done crimes. This is a very emotional issue for most people.
The previous bill failed because people did not have the confidence that we would secure our borders – Katrina, out of control spending, bad Iraq for 4 years, congress folk in jai – what’s to have confidence in? Mentioned low ratings. He promises that the border will secured and that the border state governers should certify that the border is secure and not the Feds.
Note: I have to admit, I’m changing my mind about the Senator on this. To be honest, I have used the word seething and chuckleheads when thinking and posting about the governing elite in DC who attempted to pass the previous bill – I was NOT a happy camper! Yet, remember what has been said before – McCain does not blow in the wind when it comes to issues. He believes in what he believes in even at the expense of alienating others. And I was one that was deeply angered at his stance on illegal immigration and the way to go about solving it (for the Nth time).
Has he changed because of political expediency? Watching him closely last night, I would say no. For that to have been true, he would have had to change much earlier in the process so as to minimize the political damage to his Presidential campaign. Tonight, I saw a man, a very powerful man, humbled by acknowledging that what he had been pitching was not what the people wanted. He even fought against at that time! But now, with the battle over that bill is over, he has reflected over what the people wanted and has come to grips that he was wrong. An "all in one" package may be what he wants, but is not what the American people want.
It may have been a bitter pill, but he swallowed it and his pride and is now acknowledging that the right thing to do is to secure the border. Why? While securing the border is of utmost importance to many (very much including myself), it is a way to try to EARN back the respect and confidence of the American people towards Congress (something that he admits is quite bruised at the moment).
I give him kudoes to doing this – given the political capital spent, to admit one is wrong takes a big man. To turn it around and do and support what he didn’t want to do at first takes a bigger one.
He goes on to talk about the the Republicans lost – the deserted Republican principles by overspending and making big government instead of smaller government. More examples….but boy, is he is intense mode. Peppered the intro with small jokes, keeping the audience engaged. The message is that we have to stop the spending. We can use ridicule help that process – of the
$50 billion highway bill – $2 billion went to porkbarrel projects like the $233 million Bridge to Nowhere. Take the 2 Bill and apply that right in the first place, then let the pols say they need more taxes.
Iraq – we have sacrifice so much. War was mismanaged (Rumsfeld will go down as one of the worst Sec Def of all time). The strategy we have now should have started way back. The surge has only been in place a short time and it is succeeding. The strategy was "kill and leave". Now, it is "kill and stay". This allows the political process to start. Attacks are way down and the Sunnis are joining.
He is not happy with Maliki – brought up the soccer win to show that the people can be Iraqis and not Sunni, Shia, or Kurd. Even those that were against the invasion, they are against a date for withdrawal. The process should be front line to backup forces to forward bases to rearward bases to leaving.
While we need oil, we have strategic needs in that area. Syria is trying to destabilize Lebanon, Hamas is arming in Gaza. Hezbullah is antsy in Lebanon. Iranians are sending the most lethal IEDs into Iraq and want to eliminate Israel. We have to think regionally and not just about Iraq.
Middle of Dec (?) Patraeus will be back. The great debate in Congress will start between those that want to win and those that want to declare defeat. McCain said that he will sacrifice his campaign on behalf of the war. The threat of radical Islamism is the biggest that we and our children will have faced since the Nazis. Repeated the Navy Seal purple heart ceremony in Bethesda Naval Mark Roberts (Robins?). “We can win this fight”
Audo clips will be here in a couple of minutes!
On to the Q and A. The above prose noticed, the real amount of time was spent by McCain in the back and forth with the audience.
Note: I listen to the Dem debates and events and the Repub events and debates. You know what one of the big differences is in the style of questions. The Dems tend to ask more of "what are you going to do for me or my family….the Rs tend to ask more broadly based questions (Dems – what about me! Rs – ask th
One of the things that disturbs a disabled vet that is still in the Reserves (She served during OIF) is the big difference between the VA and the military when someone is discharged. Why is there a 6 – 12 month lag before help gets to them?
He takes responsibility for part of the problem, so he is responsible for fixing it. George Washington – the willingness of our young people is directly proportional to what they see how the former vets are treated. Bob Dole has just released his committee’s recommendations on this specific issue (whom, McCain noted, is a big supporter and fund raiser for the Wright Museum). We did not plan for the much better battle field care that now exists that has saved many more lives than in previous conflicts and the length of this war. The Wounded Warrior bill is held up by Reid as he wants another debate to get out of Iraq instead of helping our military in need.
Many politicians say they what they want to do, but HOW would you and your Admin plan to stop ALL illegal immigration which has affected our jobs, schools, health care and national security?
We need fences, UAVs, sensors, border guards. Need a tamperproof biometric ID and a database. The employer has to verify that person’s status to be able to work. He believes that there are some jobs that Americans won’t do, especially in the Ag sector. But we have to prove that we can secure the border first. Asked if she had a follow up.
If an employer, say Yuma, advertises and no American shows up, then and only then can he advertise in Mexico. They would have to go to the embassy, get the biometric visa, then the Employer checks the DB and hires or sends home if >10 month. If illegally hired (say a counterfeit SS card) and it doesn’t check, prosecute the employer.
What rights come with the temp visa?
None. If sick, then go to ER. But that’s it.
Follow up – Family?
No. Nothing for bringing a family. Not allowed.
Calderone (new President of Mexico) is a good guy and is trying to fight the drug cartels. Will be a hard fight and a long one. Mentioned the demand…and we should be trying to eliminate the demand (clapping). We should take some responsibility for the problem.
What about the illegals here now?
They will have to come out of the shadows, as there will be no jobs (SS match). If long term 40-50 years, pay a fine, go back to the home country, learn English, take the test, and then come back (take about 13 years as it will take that long to just clean up the green card backlog)
If the illegal has been here a short term here? They just go back
What is your energy policy going forward and address oil dependence?
He quips "Gee I sure hate to change the subject!"
It is both a national security issue and climate change issue. If you don’t believe the latter, what if we are wrong? What if we are right and do nothing? That is not right for future Americans.
Chavez hates us, Nigeria is unstable, and look at the attempt to try to blow up that Saudi refinery. We put a guy on the moon, we are the innovators. We can do this. He was at Google (liberal but…) quite a group – some of the smartest people in the world!
He and Lieberman – want to propose a "trap and trade"…marketplace orientation. Wants nukes to reduce greenhouse (France generates 80% of its electricity from nukes). Sarkozy is Pro-American (shows that if you live long enough anything can happen!).(pandering – notes that Sarkozy’s here in NH )
He is for wind, solar, hybrid, tide.
40 years already on War on Drugs Why is this not different from Prohibition?
Some alcohol can be good you. Drugs are just damaging. Nancy Reagan – "just say no" and there was some success with that, even though liberals were against it. First time offenders should not be jailed but rehab. Constant testing. Have to have constant education.
First questioner again – Vets – OIF – Progress is being made in Congress. She is still in reserve although disabled. Drat missed the question.
As a reservist on active, you have access to all medical facilities. If in reserves, you should still have that access. We should improve the whole system.
Follow up – I’m not following it – cannot hear.
He admits he he doesn’t know, but will have his staff follow up.
As a mom and grandmom, global warming. We’ve already done lots, but what are we supposed to do about India and China?
We have to make international agreements, but it will do nothing if China and India do nothing.
Follow up – she does not want to see us throw billions away and screw up our economy and China & India do nothing.
GE is doing well with green. Nukes have to be part of the mix. Cap and trade.
And now for the emotional part of the evening. A lady stood up, Lynn Savage, in the front and said that she lost her son in Baghdad – Cpl Matthew Stanley, 22, killed on his second tour. She had worn a silver bracelet during Viet Nam to show her support for the troops then and was now wearing a black one in memory of her son. She asked if he would be willing to wear it in his memory.
Talk about a shocker! It was like he just ran into a brick wall (face it, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes too!). You could tell it rocked him emotionally – he stumbled a bit but choked out that he would be honored to wear it. He took it and gave her a big hug.
He IS one of the troops big supporters, and to have this happen…wow. His emotions came to the fore and the intensity of the moment grabbed everyone. Something like this brings it home, that life is unfair and that hard sacrifices have been made. Yet, they can be celebrated in rememberance as well. And this was one of those moments.
Name 5 Changes that you would do different from current administration?
National security – Islamic radicalism
we will never torture another prisoner
try to be humble.
That high moment, that solemn moment, was broken by two selfish "setup" questions.
Republicans have lost respect for states rights. What will you do for states for federal raided medical marijuana clinics that have been approved by states?
Nothing – he does not believe it relieves pain, it is damaging, and it is a federal issue and not state rights one even though he is a Federalist. He does not support it. He believes it is a gateway drug….thanks for her advocacy.
SHE GOT UP AND LEFT. She showed that she was there just to ask the question in public and get it taped.
What about those that suffer from PSTD and not a vet? What will you do for me.
I don’t think McCain heard the question? He thinks that vets have a special status and deserve the care. Mercs get high high pay and are not entitled to it.
Follow up – I now you were tortured – I was tortured as a child – what about me?
Mc – will help you if we can and will talk to staff.
It turned out that I watch him and her, and another couple of people (camera guy and someone looking like a reporter) all get into a car together. Before that, I saw him and the "reporter" joking quite a bit together . This, I believe, was a setup – either just for their issue group or to make McCain look bad.
Across 13 million children live in poverty. 28K in NH. What will you do to get their parents a livable wage?
It can be cured with a healthy economy. Minimum wage just went up. Serious concern about healthcare (he will work on that for peace of mind and stability). He will provide job training and education that will allow families to take part in our economy. We don’t have the trained people to fill what is needed.
As an educator, I am concerned about NCLB by this Admin?
It is a good beginning – I can finally compare my daughter against those in NH. First time for a lot of things and that it injects competition and standards. Is it perfect? No. We need to improve it and don’t discard it. His State superindentdant complains about Spanish speaking there and that it hurts his competitiveness to have to be judged against all English speakers and that his students leave before graduation and again hurts his state’s scores.
We need choice and competition. The charter schools work well and provide competition. 2 years in CA and teachers get tenure and cannot be fired for bad jobs…and that is not right. He will spend money where ever it is needed.
Highest spending in DC and not one congressman sends their kids there. It is not always about money as DC is also the worst system in the country. We should try vouchers. In Washington state, have a 3K voucher for low income parent to go anywhere (being challenged). His wife is an ex special teacher. Teachers have to join us instead of fighting it.
What do you believe the success conclusion in Iraq and how do we get there?
Present strategy is working and some Iraqis are leading. It is starting to happen for the better. Political govt can and needs to get going . Then we can withdraw. We have to convince Saudi and Eygpt to get involved as it is their own self interest. Don’t know what to do about Iran and Syria. Maliki has to become effective.
Follow – how do we get Saudis and Eygpt involved – hasn’t happened so far?
We have to convince them that we are going to be there for the long haul until we are no longer needed.
Stem cell research – husband was a 2003 bone transfer that failed and 2005 stem cell that worked.
Hard for us that are pro life and fights for the rights of the unborn. After hard thought and prayer, he is now for funding stem cell research for the relive of human pain and suffering. Hoping that with new research, it won’t come to that.
Battery is almost out!!!
We have the best healthcare, but have to make it more affordable. He is against single payer like that proposed by Dems like that in Canada and England
- reward with lower prem for wellness
- medical practice tort reform – defensive
- Low income tax dividends for premium
- allow small biz to join to get better rates
- people have to take more responsibility (Reagan – no one washes a rental car) rather than employer
- if lose job, can’t afford COBRA. Maybe just catastrophic is needed.
There is no bigger supporter than you on our troops. He will never see American troops see in a place where the gov does support them. What if the Maliki govt doesn’t get better?
He is not sure what the easy solution is.