(by Fred Lucas, CNSNews.com) St. Paul, Minn. – Arizona Sen. John McCain, not known for his oratory, stirred the Republican National Convention into a rousing frenzy and chants of “U.S.A., U.S.A.,” as the senator accepted his party’s nomination for president Thursday night.
“Fight with me,” McCain shouted as the crowed cheered at the conclusion of his speech.
McCain continued speaking without letting the loud ovations interrupt. “Fight with me. Fight with me. Fight for what’s right for our country,” McCain said.
McCain touched on several themes in a speech that steered clear of attacks on his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois. He said the presidential race will be heated in the remaining two months, but he also said, “We are both Americans,” something that would transcend any other divide.
Even in front of the most partisan of Republican crowds, McCain trumpeted his maverick reputation for challenging his own party on issues of pork barrel spending and corruption, while also working with Democrats when necessary to get things done.
“Again and again, I’ve worked with members of both parties to fix problems that need to be fixed. That’s how I will govern as president. I will reach out my hand to anyone to help me get this country moving again. I have that record and the scars to prove it. Senator Obama does not.”
Drawing a contrast with Obama, McCain said, “I will keep taxes low and cut them where I can. My opponent will raise them. I will cut government spending. He will increase it.”
Although the Democrats have argued that McCain will represent a third term of President George W. Bush, McCain mentioned him only once in his speech, saying early on that he is “grateful” to the president for keeping the country safe and preventing another terrorist attack in America.
But McCain, describing himself as a “maverick” who “marches to a different drum,” said he doesn’t work for a party or special interests. “I work for you,” he said.
He also criticized the Republican Party: “We were elected to change Washington, and we let Washington change us,” he said referring to the Republican Congress that was elected in 1994 on a pledge to shrink government but ended up increasing earmarks and pork barrel spending.
“The constant partisan rancor that stops us from solving these problems isn’t a cause, it’s a symptom. It’s what happens when people go to Washington to work for themselves and not you,” McCain said.
‘Back to basics’
On the issues, McCain noted that these are “tough times” for many Americans. “You’re worried about keeping your job or finding a new one, and are struggling to put food on the table and stay in your home. All you ever asked of government is to stand on your side, not in your way.”
McCain mentioned some of the ordinary Americans he is “fighting for,” and he promised that “the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan is going to get back to basics.”
“We believe in low taxes; spending discipline, and open markets. We believe in rewarding hard work and risk takers and letting people keep the fruits of their labor.
“We believe in a strong defense, work, faith, service, a culture of life, personal responsibility, the rule of law, and judges who dispense justice impartially and don’t legislate from the bench. We believe in the values of families, neighborhoods and communities,” he said.
In the promises department, McCain said he would keep taxes low, open new markets, and cut government spending.
“Reducing government spending and getting rid of failed programs will let you keep more of your own money to save, spend and invest as you see fit,” McCain said.
On jobs, McCain said he would change the system: “My opponent promises to bring back old jobs by wishing away the global economy. We’re going to help workers who’ve lost a job that won’t come back, find a new one that won’t go away.”
McCain said he’d use community colleges “to help train people for new opportunities,” and “we’ll help make up part of the difference in wages between their old job and a temporary, lower paid one while they receive retraining…”
On education, McCain promised to “shake up failed school bureaucracies with competition, empower parents with choice, remove barriers to qualified instructors, attract and reward good teachers, and help bad teachers find another line of work.”
On energy, McCain promised to “stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t like us very much.” He called for expanded domestic energy production: “We will drill new wells offshore, and we’ll drill them now. We will build more nuclear power plants. We will develop clean coal technology. We will increase the use of wind, tide, solar and natural gas. We will encourage the development and use of flex fuel, hybrid and electric automobiles.”
He noted that his energy plan will create millions of new jobs.
On foreign affairs, McCain mentioned al Qaeda, Iran, Russia, Georgia. “As President, I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War. But we can’t turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threatens the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people,” he said.
“I hate war,” McCain told the crowd.. “I’m running for President to keep the country I love safe, and prevent other families from risking their loved ones in war as my family has. I will draw on all my experience with the world and its leaders, and all the tools at our disposal – diplomatic, economic, military and the power of our ideals – to build the foundations for a stable and enduring peace.”
On government, he said change is what he’s after: “We need to change the way government does almost everything: from the way we protect our security to the way we compete in the world economy; from the way we respond to disasters to the way we fuel our transportation network; from the way we train our workers to the way we educate our children.”
McCain, in the beginning of his speech, said there’s no doubt that he will win the election. “And after we’ve won, we’re going to reach out our hand to any willing patriot, make this government start working for you again, and get this country back on the road to prosperity and peace.”
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1. In his speech at the Republican convention, what did John McCain say about working with Democrats?
2. How did Senator McCain contrast his proposed policies with Senator Obama’s?
3. What is one of the main criticisms Democrats make about Senator McCain?
4. List the issues Senator McCain said the Republican party believes in.
5. What overall promises did Sen. McCain make?
6. Re-read Sen. McCain’s specific promises on the issues of:
-jobs (para. 19-20)
-education (para. 21)
-energy (para. 22-23)
-foreign affairs (para. 24-25
-government (para. 26)
For each issue, state whether you agree or disagree with Senator McCain’s position. Explain your answer.
Watch Senator McCain’s speech at the Republican National convention website.
Read the text of Sen. McCain’s speech at WashingtonTimes.com
Read Sen. McCain’s positions on all of the issues at JohnMcCain.com.
Read Sen. Obama’s positions on all of the issues at BarackObama.com.