Greenville News - McCain Makes Stop At Clemson
By Anna Simon
John McCain addressed the legacy -- or burden -- that today's college students will inherit during a town hall-style meeting Wednesday at Clemson University.
They will bear the burden of overloaded Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs and other big government mandates, said McCain, who wants to pare down federal government and promised to veto pork-barrel spending.
"We're going to stop mortgaging your future," McCain said, holding up his "veto pen" he said former President Ronald Reagan gave him.
An overflow crowd of about 400 people filled the 250-seat Self auditorium at Clemson's Strom Thurmond Institute. Stacks of extra chairs were wheeled in and quickly filled and some people stood in the foyer and listened through the open doors, as McCain discussed Iraq, education, health care, immigration and other concerns.
"The war is not lost, and in fact, we're succeeding,"' McCain said of Iraq, pulling his coat sleeve back to show a KIA bracelet he wears for a soldier killed last year, but he expressed concern that wounded veterans "have not received the treatment they deserve from their government."
He said treatment facilities for those wounded in combat should be expanded and older veterans should have cards that let them choose their own doctors rather than stand in lines at VA facilities.
No Child Left Behind is "a good beginning" that should be improved, not scrapped, said McCain, a proponent of "choice and competition" in schools.
After McCain spoke, scores of students, faculty, staff and area residents lined up at microphones with questions.
Clemson student Felipe Fernandes asked about health care, saying he received medical attention for a few pesos while studying abroad in Argentina, yet his mother, a child-care provider in South Carolina, can't afford a mammogram.
Every American should have affordable, accessible health care, said McCain, who envisions community health centers and a $5,000 tax credit to make insurance affordable but opposes government intrusion on competition and choice.
Inflation in health care is "a crisis in America," McCain said, but the answer "is not going to be a government-run system."
On immigration, McCain said borders must be secure first -- "you have to stop the flow" -- before moving on to a temporary worker program. That prompted disagreement from a student who said his family stood in line for a green card to immigrate legally, and those who came illegally shouldn't be rewarded.