February 9, 2008 – WICHITA – Following on the heels of Mike Huckabee, Sen. John McCain stopped at Mid-Continent Airport three hours after Huckabee spoke at Col. Jabara Airport.
Held at the Hawker-Beechcraft hanger, McCain’s event was low-key compared to the appearances of other presidential candidates in Kansas.
McCain was introduced by Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, who had been seeking the Republican nomination until dropping out several months ago.
“We’ve got a real treat today. We’ve got the gentlemen who’s going to be the next president of the United States,” Brownback said.
On Friday, McCain was booed by some at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Some believe McCain is not conservative enough.
Brownback responded to the criticism directly.
“He has stated time and again he will not raise taxes,” Brownback said.
Brownback said McCain was the most qualified candidate since Dwight Eisenhower.
“He doesn’t need on-the-job training foreign policy,” Brownback said.
Stepping up to the podium, McCain praised Brownback.
“I’ll be proud to have him by my side in any capacity,” McCain said.
McCain clarified that didn’t necessarily mean the vice-presidency and spoke of the importance of not electing a Democrat for president.
“We all know what would happen if the wrong party won in November,” McCain said.
Speaking directly to Kansans, McCain said he would open up markets worldwide for aviation to benefit places like Wichita.
On veterans, McCain said he would get them “the healthcare they need and deserve.”
“I’m going to get every one of our veterans a plastic card to take to their doctor or healthcare provider to get the care they need,” McCain said.
McCain touted his stance as a fiscal conservative.
“I will veto any bill that comes across my desk that has an earmark project,” McCain said.
McCain then focused on the war in Iraq and terrorism.
“The challenge of the 21st century is this transcendent – this terrible evil – that’s radical Islamic terrorism,” McCain said.
That challenge also includes finding Osama Bin Laden.
“If I have to follow him to the gates of hell, I will get Osama Bin Laden,” McCain said. “Al Qaeda is on the run, but they’re not defeated.”
While the country is divided over the war, McCain spoke about the shared support for the troops.
“Thank God none of us are divided in our support of our brave men and women,” McCain said.
Concluding his speech, McCain compared himself to Ronald Reagan.
“My friends, I will inspire another generation of Americans to serve a cause greater than themselves,” McCain said.