Portsmouth Herald: 'Mac Is Back' Bus Tour Stops In Exeter
By Jennifer Feals, The Portsmouth Herald
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., thanked his New Hampshire supporters - who cheered outside Town Hall Monday evening with signs reading "Mac is Back" and chanting "McCain wins" - by assuring he will prove today an election cannot be bought and that negative attack ads do not work either.
The crowd, estimated at more than 300 people, stood on the steps of Town Hall, overflowing onto Front Street, while others gathered nearby at the bandstand, to see the senator who stopped by as part of his "The Mac is Back" bus tour and rally launched earlier in the day. Throughout the day, McCain and his wife, Cindy, made stops in Nashua, Keene, Hanover, Concord and Manchester. After Exeter, McCain headed to a stop in Portsmouth.
"This is a historic night," McCain told the crowd. "Because tomorrow, the people of New Hampshire will select the next president of the United States of America. This is the important moment. I believe it's the culmination of a long trip we've made back."
Gail DeRoche of Greenland said McCain's character and integrity are the reasons she is supporting him in the New Hampshire primary.
"I think he has given a lot of himself to our country and I think he would be a good leader," DeRoche said.
McCain told his supporters he is confident he has run an honorable campaign.
"We've done what the people of New Hampshire expect you to do: Talk to them, see them face to face and listen to their dreams," he said, adding how honored and humbled he was getting to know the people of New Hampshire during the campaign.
McCain related the state's motto to a cruel and inhuman enemy the United States is facing in Al-Qaeda, whose motto could instead be "Live my way or die," he said.
"I will get Osama bin Laden if I have to follow him to the depths of hell. I will do it and I will bring him to justice. And I know how to do it, my friends," McCain said. "Our men and women in Iraq will come home and they will come home with honor and not with defeat."
Douglas Alderman of Exeter, who has supported McCain from the beginning, said, if elected, the candidate would solve issues, such as the Iraq war, with diplomacy.
"I'm impressed by his military background and his willingness to look at both sides of the situation, not just the straight and narrow," he said.
McCain, who assured the audience he knows how to "reach across the aisle," said the country also faces challenges in eliminating pork spending and improving Social Security and Medicaid.
"We're not going to hand a broken system off to our young Americans," he said.
Rockingham County Commissioner Maureen Barrows welcomed McCain and warmed up the audience.
"What's a more exciting time to be in New Hampshire? Today, tomorrow or Saturday when the Patriots play," she said. "What a wonderful time to be in this part of the country. We have winners everywhere you go."
Alison Kolozsvary of Exeter, a Sen. Barack Obama supporter, attended the event to take advantage of politics in New Hampshire.
"My husband is on the other side and I feel very fortunate to be a New Hampshire resident and to have the opportunity to get out and meet all the candidates," she said. "Although I've made my decision, I like to take advantage of the opportunity we have here and in the event that he does become the next president I will have seen him in person."
The latest WMUR/CNN tracking poll, taken Jan. 5-6, shows McCain is maintaining a 6-point lead over Mitt Romney, 32 to 26 percent. The poll shows Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabee has climbed to 14 percent from 11 percent, followed by Rudy Giuliani at 11 percent, Ron Paul at 10 percent and Duncan Hunter and Fred Thompson at 1 percent.