McCain speaks to students on national security

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., signs autographs as he exits the JetDirect hangar at the Spirit of St. Louis Airport on. McCain announced endorsements of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, former presidential candidate Rudy Guiliani and multi-millionaire businessman Steve Forbes.

The frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination stressed national security in his speech during his visit to St. Louis on Friday.

A crowd of supporters including politicians, veterans, fans and students waited for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Friday at the Spirit of St. Louis Airport.

Before he was brought to the stage, politicians from across Missouri were given the opportunity to speak about him.

“He is a person that will never betray his principles just to win votes,” said former Sen. John Danforth, R-Mo., who introduced McCain to the audience. “I think that unfortunately American politics now is so much telling people what they want to hear but not John McCain, that’s not leadership. He is a leader and he stands for a country that is going to be a strong country.”

Some younger people also came out to show support for the senator because his message transcends across the generations, Washington University in St. Louis student Jordan Aibel said.

Aibel said McCain is progressive regarding energy independence and fighting climate change.

“I think those are messages that students in particular and young people in general want to hear,” Aibel said. “We have something to say about that.”

McCain spoke to an audience of veterans and supporters, and stressed his commitment to victory against Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and the war on terror. He praised Gen. David Petraeus for his work in the Iraq war and vowed to instill a sense of duty in young Americans.

“I will inspire a generation of Americans to serve a cause greater than themselves,” McCain said.

When speaking about Al Queda and anti-American terrorism, McCain said that America would face this problem for many years to come.

“This is a hydra-headed, multi-faceted challenge,” McCain said.

He affirmed the strategy that Gen. Petraeus has been employing is successful and will continue to be, as long as he receives support.

In addition to his commitment to American defense, McCain promised to improve veterans’ health care. McCain shared his disgust for the complicated process veterans endure in order to receive their health benefits.

“For routine health care needs I am going to give these veterans a plastic card and they are going to take it when they need a routine health care treatment and get to the doctor of their choice, and the health care provider of their choice, and get the treatment they need and deserve,” McCain said. “I want to promise you veterans that.”

Additionally, McCain spoke against pork barrel spending, saying it is useless, and he would not tolerate such bills.

Pork barrel spending is small projects that only benefit a small area or constituency that are approved as part of a larger piece of legislation.

In addition to pork barrel spending, McCain condemned needless Congressional spending and tax hikes. McCain endorsed the economic stimulus plan as a way to keep jobs in America. He also spoke for keeping business taxes low and abolishing the alternate minimum tax.

McCain also endorsed environmentally friendly technology, including hybrid automobiles and nuclear power, in order to secure a clean planet for posterity.

Attendees showed a lot conviction in supporting McCain.

“He seems like the right choice, be it Democrat or Republican it doesn’t make any difference, it is the right choice,” said Joe Frank, Vietnam veteran and national commander of the American Legion. “I’ve seen war, I know what war is like, he seems to have the most experience when it comes to national security, national defense.”

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