McCain at the Racine Civic Center excerpt, courtesy Federal News Service.
“And my friends, Senator Obama is an impressive speaker, and the beauty of his words has attracted many people, especially among the young, to his campaign. I applaud his talent and his success, and all Americans should be proud of his accomplishment. My concern with Senator Obama is that on issues big and small, what he says and what he does are often two different things. And he doesn’t seem to understand —
And he doesn’t seem to understand that the policies he’s offers — that he offers would make our problems make much worse and not better.”
SEN. MCCAIN: (In progress) — federal prison because of this system that breeds corruption, and we’ll talk about it again. I spoke up against the administration in Congress, who gave us another energy bill with more giveaways to Big Oil, but did nothing to free us from our dangerous dependence on foreign oil. And, you know my friends, I haven’t always won the title of Miss Congeniality in Washington every year because of that.
Time and again I’ve heard politicians, pundits, and pollsters warn me that my position on this or that issue would cost me the presidency. But I didn’t answer to them, I answer to you. You will always know where I stand and that no matter what I will always, always do what I believe is right for our country. I promise you that.
We need to change the way that government does almost everything, from the way we fuel our economy to the way we prepare our children for tomorrow’s opportunities, from the way we respond to disasters to the way we run our air traffic control system, from the way we secure our country against today’s threats, the way that we anticipate the threats of tomorrow, all these functions of government were designed before the rise of the global economy, before the information technology revolution, and before the end of the Cold War. We have a lot of work to do and to get it done we’re going to have to have the strength to really change Washington.
And my friends, Senator Obama is an impressive speaker, and the beauty of his words has attracted many people, especially among the young, to his campaign. I applaud his talent and his success, and all Americans should be proud of his accomplishment. My concern with Senator Obama is that on issues big and small, what he says and what he does are often two different things. And he doesn’t seem to understand —
(Applause.) And he doesn’t seem to understand that the policies he’s offers — that he offers would make our problems make much worse and not better.
Senator Obama says he’s going to change Washington, but his solution is to simply make government bigger and raise your taxes to pay for it. We’ve been doing that for years and it hasn’t worked. In the few years he’s been in the Senate, he has requested nearly a $1 billion in pork barrel spending for his state. That’s nearly a million dollars for every day that he’s been in office. My friends, I have never asked for nor received an earmark pork barrel project from my state and I never will.
(Applause.) And I’ll veto every single pork barrel bill that comes across my desk.
(Applause.) And you will know then —
(Applause.) And, frankly, my friends, you’ll know their names because I’ll make them famous.
Senator Obama says he’ll only raise taxes on the rich, but in the Senate he voted for tax hikes that would have impacted those making just $32,000 a year. He’s proposed tax increases on income taxes, capital gains taxes, dividends taxes. Pretty much anything you can tax, he wants to tax more. My friends, on Social Security, he wants to raise Social Security taxes. My position, and I am opposed to raising taxes, including Security Taxes. I have no doubt about my opposition.
You know, and that’s a debate we should have openly in good faith. I hope I can convince Senator Obama that it’s not a good idea to raise taxes on American families who are hurting today, and we all know they’re hurting today. Raising taxes in a bad economy is about the worst thing, the worst thing you could do because that would kill more jobs than we are already losing. We’re already losing too many. I’m going to keep current tax rates low and not — and cut others, and not because I want to make the rich richer, but because it keeps jobs in America and it creates new ones.
Senator Obama says that he wants energy independence, but he’s opposed to new drilling at home. He’s opposed to nuclear power. He’s opposed to an innovation prize for electric cars. My friends, we must begin immediately in drilling offshore so we can get some of the oil that’s off our own coasts. We have to begin that drilling and Senator Obama opposes it.
He said that the high cost of gasoline doesn’t bother him, only that it rose too quickly.
(Laughter.) Yesterday, he suggested we put air in our tires to save on gas. My friends, let’s do that, but do you think that’s enough to break our dependence on Middle Eastern oil? I don’t think so.
So, I believe that every energy source needs to be part of the solution. We need to develop new alternative energies like wind, solar, tide, biofuel. But we also need to develop more existing energies like nuclear power and clean coal. Nuclear power is safe. Clean coal technology is vital.
My friends, nuclear power is safe. There are some veterans here in this room who served — who served on ships that had nuclear power plants. We sail them around the world for more than 60 years and we’ve never had an accident. And I can tell you that the French — we always want to imitate the French, right? Eighty percent of their electricity is generated by nuclear power. And in case you missed it, we now have a pro-American president of France, which shows that if you live long enough, anything can happen in the world and America.
But most importantly, most importantly, and you know this, but it’s the compelling argument — we can’t keep sending $700 billion a year to foreign countries that don’t like us. And some of that money ends up in the hands of terrorist organizations. It’s got to stop, and we will stop it, and we’ve got to stop it. So, we can do it. We can do it, my friends.
(Applause.) We got to the moon in a shorter time than was predicted. We can do these things. America is capable of doing it. And those who say we can’t, I say you don’t know America like I know America. So, we can do this together.
On Iraq, Senator Obama says he wants peace, but even today, he opposes the surge strategy that succeeded in Iraq and will succeed in Afghanistan. His policy of unconditional withdrawal regardless of the facts on the ground, which our highest ranking military officer, Admiral Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said would be very dangerous. His policy could result in renewed violence and a third Iraq war. I hate war. I know its costs better than many. I’m going to end this war, but when I bring our troops home, they will come home with victory, leaving Iraq secured as a democratic ally in the Arab heartland.
The bottom line is that Senator Obama’s words, for all their eloquence and passion, don’t mean all that much, and that’s the problem with Washington. It’s not just the Bush administration, it’s not just the Democratic Congress, it’s that everyone in Washington says whatever it takes to get elected or to secure the political future that they seek. If Senator Obama doesn’t have the strength to speak openly and directly about how he will address the serious challenges confronting America, how will he be strong enough to really change Washington? We don’t need another politician in Washington who puts self-interest and political expediency ahead of problem solving. We need to start putting the country’s interests first and come together, come together to keep American families safe and help realize their dreams for a better life.
My friends, in war and in peace, I’ve been an imperfect servant of my country, but I’ve been her servant first, last, and always. Whenever I faced an important choice between my country’s interests or my own interests, party politics or any special interests, I chose my country. Nothing has ever mattered more to me than the honor of serving America and nothing ever will. If you elect me president, I will always, always put our country first.
(Applause.) I will put its greatness, it’s prosperity and peace, and the hopes and concerns of the people who make it great before any personal or partisan interest. We’re going to start making this government work for you and not for the ambitions or the interests of the powerful. And I will keep that promise every hour of every day that I am in office, so help me God.
Thank you and thank you for being here. And now I’m ready to respond to your questions or comments. And thank you again for all —
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