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July 22nd, 2008
01:56 PM ET

McCain to New Hampshire – success and honor first

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain listens to an audience member's question during a campaign stop in Rochester, N.H., Tuesday.

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain listens to an audience member's question during a campaign stop in Rochester, N.H., Tuesday.

Dana Bash
CNN Political Correspondent

If you’re John McCain looking for some love while Barack Obama is overseas, you come to New Hampshire.

The line of Granite State voters waiting to get into McCain’s town hall at the Rochester Opera House snaked around the corner.

Most of them I spoke with were coming to see and hear the Arizona senator who has come to be a New Hampshire favorite son…and they greeted him with a rousing, lengthy standing ovation.

“It’s nice to see so many old friends,” he said as he tried to signal he was ready to talk.

“Coming back to New Hampshire is like coming home,” he said.

Voters here know full well the impact they have had on this election year. When McCain was politically dead during the GOP primaries, he came up to New Hampshire and slogged thru town hall after town hall – 101 in all - winning back support literally one voter at a time.

Now, New Hampshire, the only state in 2004 to flip from red to blue, is a statistical dead heat between McCain and Barack Obama.

McCain came right out and tried to use his history with New Hampshire voters to hit Obama on Iraq. He reminded them that when he was in his darkest political days, when everyone thought he was crazy to support the military surge in Iraq, he said that he would rather lose a campaign than a war.

Then he went in for the kill against Obama on the issue…saying that his rival still doesn’t admit the surge was a success.

In fact he spoke for about 5 minutes about how Obama doesn’t get it…and he wound it up by saying Obama would rather “lose a war than a political campaign.”

But through it all McCain does seem to be tempering his tone a bit, if not his policies. He said again today that of course he wants troops to come home and they will…but they must come home with success and honor.

That got him a standing ovation.

The good news for McCain is that the anti-war protesters outside didn’t hear him.


Filed under: Dana Bash • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Nick California

    Why do the medias show things out of contex when they show a video on McCane? They only show what they interpret what will show a bad lite on Sen. McCain. I watched the video on his meeting in New Hamphsire and when he said "I would rather loose an election instead of a war", 360 did not show his complete speech. I am really disgusted and ashame of the American Media. Nothing but a big properganda machine for the Demacrats. I was a Demacrat all my voting years,this is one year I will not vote for Obama.

    July 23, 2008 at 1:49 am |
  2. Mariel

    It seems to me that one way McCain is attempting to firm up the idea he's portraying himself as an experienced politician is by heavily relying on political buzzwords and slogans like 'My friends', 'He just doesn't get it', 'flip-flop', 'I know how to win wars', 'He would rather win an election than win a war', etc. If you put all of these together – Doesn't it sound like Nixon?

    July 22, 2008 at 11:33 pm |
  3. willisa

    Currently living in Arizona i'm fully informed of John McCain's lack of reality with the common man. Arizona has the 3rd largest foreclosure rate in all the states of the union. We border Mexico and have uncontrollable traffic of drugs and illegals. He hasn't managed to handle what goes on in his backyard. We have family and friends in the military serving 3rd and 4th tours in the middle east. They're being forced to fight a war we weren't suppose to get involved with. It was started on a bunch of lies. Today's comments were "the surge worked", "i should get credit". For a war we shouldn't of started, or took our soldiers into. McCain forgets he wanted this war and voted for it from the start. Obama didn't. We need a change in this country and the John McCain train isn't it.

    July 22, 2008 at 11:21 pm |
  4. david

    how about honoring the constitution,senate killed the roman empire,so why would you want a divider of people to run our country? you must honor the rights of others first!

    July 22, 2008 at 10:35 pm |
  5. lampe

    McCain has to keep bashing Obama, because this is what Obama is running on that he will bring the trrops home in 16 months. If he had anything at all worth listening to,or If he had done anything worth talking about in his short term as a Senator, besides voting present over 100 times, maybe McCain could find something else to talk about. Hell Obamas not even smart enough to have Town Hall meetings with McCain. The media needs to stop treating Obama like he's the best thing since sliced-bread. Start asking him some hard questions, and see how fast he falls on his face with his big foot in his mouth.

    July 22, 2008 at 10:08 pm |
  6. Annie Kate

    I don't think McCain and his campaign seem desperate; they have no reason to be. Its still quite a while before the general election; we haven't even had the conventions yet. I'm hoping that the discussion of the issues by the two candidates gets equal treatment by the press and Americans can hear both sides fairly instead of filtered through poiitical pundits who are just speculating. Whoever wins this election should do so on their stand on the issues, their plan for the US, and their experience and NOT who is the media darling.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 22, 2008 at 9:32 pm |
  7. James Dylan

    These comments about McCain's age are astounding. Should I say Obama is a Muslim in response? After all his father was and if his father was Jewish he would be Jewish. It runs in the blood right? As Nietzsche would say, "to call something irrational is not an argument against it, but rather a condition for it." So should I argue irrational thought with more irrational thought? No, I know better; so I'll laugh at them as all men laugh at fools.

    July 22, 2008 at 8:59 pm |
  8. Marc

    Sad that Mr McCain and his people are acting so desperate. It is painful to keep hearing the same bashing of Obama over and over again. What he needs is fresh ideas and a positive message. I am afraid his time has come and gone. We need a new look at the world and our place in it. McCain and his party have plenty of time to shape their views and unfortunately, they have lead us by fear and greed and we are paying a price for these awful 8 years of their vision. I'm glad he was right on the 'surge' although there were other factors that made it work. I'm sorry, I have lots of Republican friends but I can't in good conscience follow their lost ways. It is time for not only Mr McCain to retire but a whole lot of others in Congress to retire with the Bush Administration.

    July 22, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  9. Karen-Phoenix

    McCain is soooo out of touch with America and the world. Last night Anderson asked why all the coverage for Obama. I really thought about why I am sooo enthusiastic about Obama. I'm in my 60's, white, female and a life long republican. I will probably never vote republican again after this administration. I have even sent Obama money! Never have done this to a politician before. I realized why- McCain remindes me of every bad and sad thing that has happened over the last 50 years. I lost a lot of friends in Vietnam–another war that was unwinable and never should have been fought!! Education, health care, jobs, housing all have slid so far down in this country its sad! Very, very sad!!! Now my grandchildren could get caught up in a draft no one wants and they have friends who have died in another war (Iraq) the is unwinable!!! I turn McCain off when he comes on tv. Obama is hope for a brighter future!!! A better image of America. He is bright, educated, articulate like know one we have seen in 50 years. Clinton was good but he had to "buck" the republicans. Go Obama!

    July 22, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  10. Jolene

    With all the war talk, we often forget about the troops and how they would feel if they had to come home before they felt there was any success in that region. I'm sure with McCain's military background, he must know how that feels so I give him credit for at least acknowledging it today. Thanks for the report.

    Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    July 22, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  11. Richard Whetstone

    A lot of the discussion in the media has been framed in terms of John McCain’s vast military and foreign policy experience and Barack Obama’s lack of such experience. First, I have yet to see any evidence of McCain vast experience in these two areas. McCain ranked 895th out of a class of 899 at Annapolis, he was involved or was responsible for the crash of at least five jets during the Vietnam War, in one of these crashes 134 sailors were killed, some say that he only flew 20 hours during the war, and his promotion to Commandant smells a lot like the work of the “silent hand” of his father’s naval position.And with respect to the “surge”, what is it anyway but a policy to increase the number of troops in Iraq when it looks like you are losing? What military brilliance that is.

    July 22, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  12. Jerry

    The media is doing Mccain a favor. The media is doing Mccain a favor for focusing on Obama and hanging on to his every word while Mccain makes gaffe after gaffe. Mccain has made so many mistakes and misspoke that it come to a point when enough is enough. Why does the media continue to give Mccain a pass? Why is it o.k. for Mccain to make repeated gaffes and mistakes while Obama is held responsible for his. If the media was to follow Mccain as closely as they do Obama his campaign would have ended a long time ago. Every other day would be a headline of yet another gaffe from Mccain. However, Obama is more competitive and challenges the media with gaffes and mistakes. The media isn't doing Obama any favor while putting him under a microscope waiting for a gaffe that would be the headline and the next day's story. The Media doesn't challenge Mccain in that way. Mccain on the Morning Show said Iraq borders Pakistan. This gaffe follows previous gaffes of Mccain confusing Shia and Sunni. saying we went to war for oil, and reffering to chezeslokvia. If Obama has made even one of these mistakes it would have been devastating to his campaign but Mccain continues to get pass after pass. Yes, we all know about the Mccain gaffes and flip flops but the media is more interested in nailing Obama.

    July 22, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  13. JC- Los Angeles

    McCain's comment "it's nice to see so many old friends" is reflective of his campaign's lack of direction.

    This election will be won by the candidate that captures the middle; why bother pandering to "old friends" when he should be out speaking to potential "new friends.

    July 22, 2008 at 4:12 pm |
  14. Linda VA

    McSane forgot to mention that the troops would also be coming home in a box too. We want them home alive and ASAP.
    *********OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT 2008 & 2012**************

    July 22, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
  15. Sharon

    If you were in Buffalo yesterday you got the royal McCain middle finger. How? Well, Senator McCain, the supposed non elitist in the campaign came to Buffalo for a very few hours. Just long enough to attend a $10,000 a plate dinner at the home of Anthony Gioia, multimillionaire founder of the Gioia pasta company and former ambassador to Malta. McCain then attended a $1,000 a plate dinner at the art gallery. He refused to speak to local press or acknowledge the "commoners" who also reside here in any way.

    It's a little disappointing to those of us who live here that his visit never got so much as a line on the national press, especially since it was such an act of blantent pandering. A spokeman said that McCain understands he can't win in N.Y., he's just here to raise money. That apparently also means he can't be civil or acknowlege the little people, only the "elite" and wealthy.

    July 22, 2008 at 3:17 pm |
  16. Elliza

    I dont think Mr. McOldie McCain fully understands the number of soldiers and innocent iraq' citizens that have died due to this war. It would be a mistake for me to vote for a man who doesnt have a plan on how to bring our troops back....it seems that the only thing he cares is about his safety. He can surely talk..but do you really believe this guy?!....ummm. We need a president who's honest, clear, and as a teenager, i could look up to, a role model. I want to see change in the next 4 years especially seeing our troops back home and let the Iraqi' people live their dream; of raising their families and practice their own religious beliefs all they need is their freedom back...instead of being told what to do and who they should be.

    July 22, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  17. Matthew

    I think it is honorable and amazing Obama is able to do what McCain couldn't do in 35 yrs. in 3 days on visit. Thinking realistically I would say McCain is on his way to the bank with the idea. Other than that the media plays this game of trail and error meticulously.

    July 22, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  18. deborah, OH

    Good posting, Dana! Thank you.

    Am still trying to find something to 'click' for me by Nov. This article helped. McCain does have some interesting ideas, as noted here. But is anybody listening?

    July 22, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  19. Cindy

    It's a shame that the media is doing John McCain the way that they are. At least the voters aren't falling into the same trap that the media seems to have with Obama. I am glad that voters make up their own minds by going out to hear what McCain and Obama have to say and don't let the media control their thinking like Obama seems to control the media's!

    We don't need to be spoon fed we just need the facts thank you! And if you won't give them to us we can easily get it on our own, which is what we will have to do it seems.

    Cindy...Ga.

    July 22, 2008 at 2:07 pm |