McCain addresses health care, environment at campaign rally

SOUTH BURLINGTON There was no shortage of excitement last Thursday as presidential hopeful John McCain and his campaign touched down at the Burlington International Airport. Spectators stood shoulder-to-shoulder inside hangar 1130 and listened to the Arizona senator as he praised Vermont for its beauty and stressed how important the voters of the Green State were to his campaign. This state is easily among some of the most beautiful states in our country, said McCain. And Im asking for your vote on Tuesday. I need Vermont I want your vote. After a few opening remarks and some attempts at light comedy, McCain thanked Gov. Jim Douglas and Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie. The senator also acknowledged Dubies military service and thanked him for proudly wearing his uniform. Before moving on to the issues, McCain was careful to give credit to Mike Huckabee, as the former Arkansas Governor is still very much alive in the race for the Republican nomination, despite being behind in the delegate count. However, McCain promised that he would not quit until he was in the Whitehouse. I will take this campaign to every state in this country, he said. I will not concede a single state or a single vote to my opponent. The first issue that McCain tackled was the heavily publicized controversy over health care in America. It is my belief, that families make decisions about health care, not the government. I can provide safety and security to those families as they make those decisions, McCain said. The senator also stated that he believed in the ingenuity of the American people, and he claimed that he trusted people to make smart decisions about health care. The decisions that our country needs to make about health care would not be easy, he said, but that does not mean that anyone should give up. We have challenges on the horizon, said McCain. Lets take them on. Lets face them and lets fix them. McCain used most of the 30-minute rally to speak about out-of-control government spending, noting numerous times that his record as a senator is squeaky-clean when it comes to earmarks and pork barrel spending. In my 24 years in Congress, I have neither asked for, approved or received an earmark, pork barrel project, add McCain. He spoke against what he called the wasteful, distasteful spending that sent $3 million to Montana to study the DNA of bears. He told the audience that upwards of $35 billion was designated to projects like this, including a bridge in Alaska. Do Americans want a $1,000 tax credit or a bridge to nowhere? he asked McCain also attacked Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama for his stance on both earmark projects and government transparency. The senator from Illinois who wants transparency in government wont tell the citizens of the United States how much hes spent on earmark projects, exclaimed McCain. One of this years most pressing issues the environment did not go unaddressed at McCains rally. Rather than take the conventional Republican approach and question the validity of global warming, McCain instead asked, what if? We have to be stewards of our environment, he said. Suppose we are all wrong, and there is no global warming. But before we learn that, we create cars that can run 50 miles on electricity, and we reduce our consumption of greenhouse gases. Suppose we do all of this and learn we were wrong about global warming. That all we have done is given our children a better planet to live on. Shouldnt we care about the world we are going to pass along to our children? McCain also said that finding alternatives to oil wasnt just a matter of protecting the environment, but also one of national security. He told gatherers that America sends $400 billion to oil producing countries, and that some of them are not friendly with the U.S. Some of that money, he said. Falls into the hands of terrorists. We need to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. McCain also told the audience that he understands the divide over the war in Iraq, but he is also encouraged by the countrys unity over supporting the troops. Thank God that nobody in this audience is divided in our support of the troops, he added. He finished the day with a statement that addressed the past and looked to the future. I am honored to have served this country, he said. And I want to do it for a few more years. I want to thank you for coming out today, and I will continue coming back to this great state.

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