HEADLINE: U.S. SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ) DELIVERS REMARKS AT CAMPAIGN EVENT; BROADVIEW HEIGHTS, OHIO
SPEAKERS: U.S. SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ)
MCCAIN: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you for the-your warm and wonderful enthusiastic Ohio welcome. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mike and Fran DeWine. Thank you for your service to the State of Ohio. Thank you for your friendship.
And, by the way, I think he wouldn't make a bad vice president, do you? Huh? Huh? Huh? Huh? Sure would be an interesting contrast to the one we got now.
My son, Doug, and my daughter, Sydney, are with us. So would you welcome them.
An old and dear friend of mine who I served with long ago and far away in Hanoi, Orson Swindle (ph). If you would say hi to Orson Swindle (ph).
And the personand the person who ever increasingly people all over America are saying, "Why isn't she the candidate?" my wife, Cindy McCain.
My friends, I'm so happy and pleased to be here.
I just saw a great sign. You know, one of those things that's kind of turned into an amusing anecdote is the numbers and groups of people who are now supporting our banner. We started out with Republicans, which is our base, and we're proud conservatives. Then we went to independents. We went to Democrats, Libertarians, vegetarians. There was a person who showed up at a rally in Sacramento, had a sign "Hippies for McCain." So I was gladI was glad of that. We've hadthere's one over there that says "Mustang Owners and Computer Geeks for McCain." Now thatthank you. Thank you. I'm very grateful to have both Mustang owners and computer geeks ona part of this campaign.
And, my friends, it really has been wonderful because there have been so many people and so much enthusiasm. One of the greatest experiences of my life was at the Tuesday primary in Michigan when 28 percent of the vote -- 28 percent of the 1,250,000 people who came out to vote had never voted before in their lives and voted for us. That's what this campaign is all about. That's what we're doing. There's one right there. And there's another one right there. This is whatand there's some more right down here and here.
By the way, we probably want to conduct thisthis rally here with a little dignity and a little sobriety because C SPANyou know, C-SPAN isC-SPAN! C-SPAN is doing this and, actually, we're very appreciative of everything that C-SPAN does in informing the American people in this political campaign. That's my last commercial for C-SPAN.
By the way, I want toI want to also thank a lot of great Americans who really appreciate great literature who are here. I mean some of the finest literature ever. Yes, sir! There you go. There you go. And there you go. And there you go. Yes. Yes, indeed. Iyes, indeed. And I want to tell you I am not here to hype the sales of that book. Please don't be under the wrong impression. I'm here strictly for political purposes.
But that book is $24.95, published by Random house, available at your local bookstore and amazon.com, and it is now this week number three on "The New York Times" bestseller list. But I certainly wouldn't want to think anybody wouldunder the impression that I'm trying to sell the book.
In Columbus, Ohio, with Mike just a few days ago, I signed a thousand books. More than a thousand people came. It's been wonderful. It's been exciting. And lots of veterans come. Lots of our veterans. World War II. Vietnam. Korea. Desert Storm. And I'm very touched and I'm very moved. Some bring pictures of me and them. Some bring pictures of themselves on an Iraqi tank in Operation Desert Storm. Some bring pictures of themselves and my grandfather on a carrier in World War II.
I am very touched and moved by that, and I want to tell you I think a wonderful thing is happening in America, and that is that we Americansthanks to books like Tom Brokaw's book, "The Greatest Generation," thanks to movies like "Saving Private Ryan," which I hope every young American can see, we are especially extending our love and affection to the World War II veterans, and that's the good news, my friends.
The bad news isthe bad news is our World War II veteransour brave and wonderful courageous World War II veterans are leaving us at 30,000 every month. Thirty thousand World War II veterans leave us every month. The national disgrace is that this president and this administration has failed to give them the benefits and the health care they have earned. I promise you we will take care of our veterans when I am president of the United States. I promise you I will take care of them.
Since I see a number of old geezers around here, could I ask our veterans to raise their hands, please, so we can recognize and appreciate them for their service to our country? We thank you. We thank you, we honor you, we cherish you, and we love you. Thank you, my friends.
I want to talk to you for a minute about the military. Our military is in disarray. It has not been in this kind of condition since just before Ronald Reagan became president of the United States and restored our military, our prestige, and our power throughout the world and, in the words of Margaret Thatcher, won the Cold War without firing a shot.
We have our men and women in conditions today that are deplorable. We have a president that doesn't care, and we have a Congress that wants to pork-barrel spend on every bill that comes across in the wayin the name of defense. We're spending $235 million, my friends, this year on a helicopter carrier that the Navy and Marine Corps says they don't want and they don't need. The pork- barreling goes on.
Meanwhile, we have 12,000 military familiesproud, brave, young men and womenon food stamps. I promise you there will be no food stamp Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force when I am president of the United States. I promise you that.
And I'lland I'll stop conducting foreign policy as social work. This president learned his foreignthis president learned his foreign policy by having breakfast at the International House of Pancakes. This is the first presidentthe first administration in the history of this countrythe first in the history of this countrythat has a president of the United States, a secretary of defense, and a secretary of state, none of whom ever spent one minute wearing the uniform of the armed services of the United States. That's going to change, too, my friends. That's going to change.
Now I wantI want to talk to you about this campaign a little bit and a terrible thing that has happened in this political campaign in the last few days before Super Tuesday. I am proud of the campaign that we have run. I am proud of the positive ads. I am proud of the people who have flocked to our banner. And I'll talk to you about this more in a minute, but I have fought for reform and campaign finance reform because we need to get the big money and the special interests out of American political campaigns, out of Washington, break the iron triangle, and get it back to you.
My friends, two cronies of TexasTexasTexas cronies of Governor Bush who are billionaires, who are pals of his, one of whom makes a million dollars a year off of doing business with the Texas educational system, have just pumped $2-1/2 million in negative ads attacking me and my record on the environment. My friends, tell Governor Bush to stop his cronies in Texas from destroying the American political system and send their money back to Texas where it belongs!
The voters of Ohio can send a clear message to Governor Bush and his cronies: "This is not what American politics should be all about. This is not the kind of thing we're proud of. You should be ashamed. You should be embarrassed. Stop these negative ads, and let's conduct a campaign the American people will be proud of and want to be involved in. Stop it and stop it now."
I want to talk to you for a minute about why I'm running for president of the United States. Cindy says that it's because I suffered several sharp blows to the head while I was in prison. I reject that notion. Remember it doesn't take a lot of talent to get shot down. I was able to intercept a surface-to-air missile with my own airplane. Quite a feat, as you might know.
And Iand I want to tell you that really why I'mbecause I want to reform the government. That's what this message is all about. When we began this campaign and I said
And, by the way, I've got to tell you a quick story. When Mike and Fran decided toto support my campaign, we were at 3 percent here in the polls in Ohio. Governor Bush was at 61. Now that is not only an act of political courage. It is also an act of clairvoyance, a way of seeing into the future that is pretty remarkable, particularly since that poll hadthat was at 3 percent had a 5- percent margin of error. So when Mike and Fran came on board, I could have been at minus 2. And he still came on board.
You know, after Mike is reelected to the Senate overwhelmingly, I think we're going to see Mike moonlighting on Psychic Friends Network because he's so good at seeing the future, don't you think? I really do. I think he's going to be great at it.
I said I was going toour theme was going to be reform. They said, "There's no room in a political campaign for reform. Americans don't care about reform. They're perfectly happy." My friends, I knew better. You know why we knew better? In 1998 -- in 1998, the last election, we had the lowest voter turnout in history of the 18- to 26-year-olds in this country. That's a shame.
They did focus groups, the secretaries of state. The ones that run these electionsthey did focus groups. And you know what these young people said? They said, "I would never run for public office." They said, "I won't vote because none of you reflect my hopes and dreams and aspirations." They said that we were corrupt. My friends, that shames me. That shames me because I believe that public service is the most honorable of all professions. I believed it when I was 17 when I entered the Naval Academy. My friends, the greatness of this campaign is all these young people who have once again said, "I want to be involved. I believe in this process. I believe in the greatness of America." We can do it again.
I want to reform education in America. We know wewe know how badly education is lacking. I won't give you all the details. But you know what the principle is? One that we all share. That every parent in America have the same ability that everythat wealthy parents in America have, and that is to send your child to the school of your choice in your neighborhood. That's what education reform is all about.
I want toI want to reform the military as I told you.
I want to reform this 44,000-page tax code. The tax code is 44,000 pages long. Everywe've got a great drummer over here, I'll tell you. Anyway, theyevery time we pass a bill in Congress, we put in a special loophole for a special interest in Washington, D.C. It's obscene, and it's disgraceful. My friends, I'm going to do away with this corporate welfare. I'm going to clean it up. I'm going to tear up that 44,000-page tax code, give you one about that thick and one that you can know and understand. That's what reform is all about.
But I can't do it, my friendsI can't do it unless one thing happensunless one thing happensand that is you and people all over Ohio and all over America say, "We will break this iron triangle of big money, special interests, and legislation. We'll take on the establishment. We'll send a message that the American people will not tolerate further corruption in Washington, D.C." We will give the government back to the people of this country, and once againand then, once again, as in days of old, I will be able to do what every great president in the history of this country has been able to do, and that is to inspire a generation of young Americans to commit themselves to causes greater than their self-interest. That's what being president is all about.
Now let me just talk to you for a minute about pride, about pride in your president, about pride in the institutions of government, about pride in the political system so that you areyou are represented and not shut out. Let me tell you something. The scandal in Washington was the debasement of the institutions of government in 1996 by the Clinton-Gore campaign, which the Bush campaign is beginning to imitate right now as we speak.
My friends, were you proud when the president of the United States took the Lincoln bedroomthe Lincoln bedroom, the bedroom of one our most wonderful presidents, andand rented it out and treated itthe president of the United States treated the Lincoln bedroom like Motel 6, and he was the bellhop. Are you proud of that?
The presidentthe vice president of the United Statesthe vice president of the United States went out to a Buddhist monasterya Buddhist monasteryand asked monks and nuns to renounce their vows of poverty, pay thousands of dollars in campaign contributions so that they could spiritually commune with him. Are you proud of that?
By the way, thejust in the last couple of days, one of those that arranged that fund raiser just was convicted on five counts. But you know what the disgrace there is? That was the worker bee. That was the worker bee.
One of the most disgraceful performances in the history of this country was by our attorney general who refused, even though the director of the FBI made the recommendation and her own task force that she appointed said an independent counsel should be appointed to investigate all this big money, and it's a disgrace. We will have a different attorney general in the United States of America.
My friends, we will never knowwe will never know how much Chinese money came into that last campaign. We will never know how much Indonesian money came in. We will never know terrible things that took place. And Governor Bush refuses to support a campaign finance reform that will clean it up.
And I'm telling you when I'm in the debate with Al Gore, I'm going to look him in the face and talk about the Buddhist monastery. I'm going to talk about this big money. We're going to talk about all that. And George Bushand George Bush will have nothing to say.
My friends, I am telling you right now the worst thing was when the vice president of the United States stood before the American people and gripped the podium and said there's no controlling legal authority for what they didno controlling legal authority for what they did. My friends, I'm going to give him a controlling legal authority, a controlling ethical authority, and then I'm going to beat Al Gore like a drum, and I'm going to send him back to Tennessee.
Of all the events we've had, that's the best Al Gore drum this time. Thank you very much, you drummers.
And, my friends, there's something else we all know. There's something else we all know. There is only one candidate that can beat Al Gore, and you're looking at him right here this afternoon. And may I say this has been not a campaign because the campaign ended that night in New Hampshire after thousands and thousands of young citizens of New Hampshirebecause they have a law in New Hampshire called same day voter registration, they were able to go down, register to vote. They registered as Republicans and voted for me and gave us a 19-point victory.
That nightthat night, a campaign ended and a crusade began, and that crusade was given another boost and a great surprise when the previousin 1996, 500,000 people turned out to vote in the Michigan primary. In the year 2000, 1,250,000 people turned out. You're going to see that same thing in Ohio on Tuesday. You're going to see that same thing here in Ohio.
My friends, what this crusade is all aboutand it's a little hard for me even to totally define it to you, but really what it's all about is a recognition that this is the greatest and most noble experiment in the history of mankind. It's called the United States of America, and this is a call to duty, to sacrifice, to nobility, to being a part of this incredible experiment, this incredible ability of this nation to be the greatest force for good in history, whether it be within the United States or in the world.
My friends, there are great causes left. There are great causes. Where there's hungry children, there's great causes. Where there's seniors without shelter, there's great causes. Where there's people who kill each other for ethnic or tribal or age-old hatred reasons, there are great causes.
And thisand this crusade, my friend, is all about Americans and their sense of duty of country, of love of country, and of our fellow man, and a call to serve it. That's what this campaign is all about, and that's whythat's why I'm proudI'm proud to have not only been in a lead position, but I'm also been proud to be part of it. We have been sort of swept up by it. No political pundit, no one believed that we would be where we are, particularly with this message to America and the world. So I thank you.
So I ask you again to remember the words of the immortal philosopher Mayorthe late Mayor Daley of Chicago who said vote early and vote often, and I ask youI ask you to get out your vote. I ask you to get out your friends, say not only are we sending a message to the State of Ohio, but we're sending a message to America and the world, and that message is a new day and change is coming. Change is coming. Change is coming.
So may I close by telling you one brief story that I think is really what thisto a large degree what this campaign is all about. It concerned an incident that took place at the 100th town hall meeting that I had at
MCCAIN: What is that? It's probablyit's probably one of those liberal Trotskyite communist media guys that are traveling with me. It's probably thatyeah.
But thea woman stood up at this Plymouth town hallArmory town hall meeting. She looked me right in the eye, and she had a statement. She didn't have a question. She had a statement, and her statement, I think, goes to the heart of this campaign. She said, "Senator McCain, it is vitally important that the next president of the United States always tell me the truth no matter what."
My friends, there will times when we agree, there will be times when we disagree, but I want to promise you, based on my life, my principles, the caution of my dear old friends that I had the privilege of serving with long ago and far away, as president of the United States, I promise you I will always tell you the truth, no matter what.
Thank you, and God bless you. Thank you all for being here. Thank you very much. Vote.
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