Local Politics

McCain: 'I'm not afraid of fight'

Posted October 13, 2008
Updated October 14, 2008

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— Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Monday that voters need to send him to the White House so he can hit the ground running in January and the country won't have to wait for its new president to get up to speed.

Making his first public visit to North Carolina in six months, McCain spoke to a packed auditorium of more than 2,000 people at Cape Fear Community College in Wilmington.

A WRAL News poll conducted last week showed North Carolina was a virtual dead heat between McCain and Democratic candidate Barack Obama, with Obama holding a slight 49 to 48 percent lead among self-described likely voters.

"Choose well," McCain told voters. "There's much at stake."

"The next president won't have time to get used to the office. He won't have the luxury of studying up on the issues before he acts," he said. "He will have to act immediately, and to do that, he will need experience, courage, judgment and a bold plan of action to take this country in a new direction."

McCain said he was prepared to work from his first day in office until his last to change the course of the nation, noting many politicians in recent years have been waiting for the country's luck to improve.

"I'm not afraid of the fight. I'm ready for it," he said.

McCain outlined portions of his plan to revive the struggling economy, including tax cuts for individuals and small-business owners to spur income and job growth, government purchases of faulty mortgages to restore home values and allowing people to keep money in their retirement accounts longer to rebuild their wealth.

"I'm going to make sure we take care of the people who were devastated by the excesses of Wall Street and Washington," he said.

He vowed to freeze most government spending and "scrub every government program" to ensure they were worth continued funding. He also said he would veto all spending bills that contained earmarks for special projects.

"I'm going to make government live on a budget just like you do," he said to a standing ovation.

McCain also described his health care plan, saying he would allow competition to rein in costs instead of using Obama's centralized system to force people into a single plan. He also called for increased foreign trade and immediate expansion of domestic energy reserves.

"Do you know how much of the nuclear (reactor) equipment and parts for the future of our nuclear power if made right here in North Carolina? One hundred percent," he said to cheers, referring to the Wilmington operations of GE-Hitachi Nuclear.

He ended his 20-minute speech by urging people not to listen to the polls – the crowd booed when he said the national media had written him off – and to stand up and fight for the nation's future.

"Don't give up hope, be strong, have courage and fight," he said. "Fight for a new direction for our country. Fight for what's right in America. Fight to clean up the mess of corruption, in-fighting and selfishness in Washington. Fight to get our economy out of the ditch and back in the lead.

"Stand up to defend our country from its enemies. Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight," he said. "America is worth fighting for."

The event was initially billed as a town-hall meeting, but McCain left after making his speech and shaking some hands and signing a few autographs.

"I was a little disappointed," Tammy Covil said afterward. "I would have liked to see some questions asked by some of the people here."

Obama has outspent McCain in North Carolina by an 8-to-1 margin in recent weeks as he tries to convert the traditionally Republican state to his side.

McCain campaign spokesman Buzz Jacobs insisted Monday that the GOP wasn't taking the state for granted.

"North Carolina was always going to be a place we had to do battle, so to speak, and here we are," Jacobs said.

Republican supporters said they were confident McCain will win the state on Nov. 4.

"We're in a little bit of trouble, but I know we'll be a red state again," Kelly Landgraf said, referring to the color of Republican states on political maps.


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  • IzzMad2016 Oct 14, 2008

    That dollar amount is what Vanity Fair estimated her outfit to be -- including the clothes, shoes and jewelry -- and it's kind of a sad day when womeone wants to take what's written in a magazine article as the gospel truth. Personally I feel that we can all wear what we want to wear and what we can afford to buy. She's a wealthy in her own right and she and her husband have always filed separate tax returns. What does her choice of attire have to do with how he would perform as President? If she'd shown up in flip flops and a housedress would that make you feel better?

  • WRAL is joe_dirt Oct 14, 2008

    John McCain is Elmer Fudd. Coincidence? I think not.

  • duwanna50 Oct 14, 2008

    If John McCain wants to dig up the past, lets look at how he dumped his disabled wife after she waited for him for 5 years raising his kids - to marry a rich young blonde who turned into an addict who ripped off medications meant for poor sick children! He thinks Obama is elitist - his wife's outfit on Nomination night cost 300,000 dollars!

  • RUSH_2112 Oct 14, 2008

    The only thing I can think of that may give a boost the McCain camp is this. They should start running tv ads showing leading Democrats posing with or shaking hands with George Bush.

  • GinkgoPhyta Oct 14, 2008

    If by fight, he means resort to smear tactics, why then... yes, he is not afraid to smear.

    I am disgusted by his campaign. I kept on thinking, surely McCain will fire some of his campaign staff after all that has transpired. Alas...that never happened. Doesn't he have 177 or so lobbyists working in his campaign staff? I heard 80 or so have worked lobbying for the financial industry. This is ridiculous that McCain has surrounded himself with these people. While I had respect for McCain in 2000, I have little to no respect now for this man.

    McCain/Palin is a disaster waiting to happen in my opinion. The thing that deeply disturbs me is McCain talking about more wars in the next 10 years. From listening to him talk, it is obvious he is a war fiend.

  • offconstantly Oct 14, 2008

    well put on those boxing gloves cuz its gonna be a slug fest.

  • b4jesus2 Oct 14, 2008

    Go put (Obama Kids Music Video : Cute or Creepy?)on youtube ...if you think the last 8 years has been a nightmare YOU haven't seen nothing yet. Pay close attention to the words. ..and don't forget these words....YOU WILL BE SORRY and I TOLD YOU SO.

  • Ripcord Oct 13, 2008

    "At the end of the day - all this discussion about the "man" as an individual is immaterial."

    Wrong. This mentality allows people to excuse or ignore absolutely any past behavior. When we are talking about the next President past behavior MATTERS.

  • yellow_hat Oct 13, 2008

    At the end of the day - all this discussion about the "man" as an individual is immaterial. They will both cave into their parties’ demands and platforms. For me the decision is - do I want four more years of the Republican Party in the presidency? I think not. I am no Obama fan, but we have to have some way out of the mess W created. McCain lost me when he picked Palin. So IMO opinion I think Obama is worth a shot.

    Does the Republican Party honestly expect me to believe they are the only ones that can fix the mess created by the Republican Party?

  • geosol Oct 13, 2008

    Sorry John, but the fight's pretty much over for you. It ended shortly after you chose Sarah Palin as your running mate and ditched your integrity by resorting to the Karl Rove smear tactics after you said you wouldn't stoop that low. Its not your fault though, neo-conservatism has proven to be a failed ideology, and the Republicans need to break clean from it and sweep it under the rug.