Chas' Compilation

A compilation of information and links regarding assorted subjects: politics, religion, science, computers, health, movies, music... essentially whatever I'm reading about, working on or experiencing in life.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

John McCain's speech in New Orleans

From the Associated Press:
Excerpts of Republican John McCain's speech Tuesday
Excerpts of Republican John McCain's speech in New Orleans on Tuesday, as prepared for delivery and provided by the McCain campaign:

Good evening from the great city of New Orleans. Tonight, we can say with confidence the primary season is over, and the general election campaign has begun. I commend both Senators Obama and Clinton for the long, hard race they have run. Senator Obama has impressed many Americans with his eloquence and his spirited campaign. Senator Clinton has earned great respect for her tenacity and courage. The media often overlooked how compassionately she spoke to the concerns and dreams of millions of Americans, and she deserves a lot more appreciation than she sometimes received. As the father of three daughters, I owe her a debt for inspiring millions of women to believe there is no opportunity in this great country beyond their reach. I am proud to call her my friend. Pundits and party elders have declared that Senator Obama will be my opponent. He will be a formidable one. But I'm ready for the challenge, and determined to run this race in a way that does credit to our campaign and to the proud, decent and patriotic people I ask to lead.

___

The wrong change looks not to the future but to the past for solutions that have failed us before and will surely fail us again. I have a few years on my opponent, so I am surprised that a young man has bought in to so many failed ideas. Like others before him, he seems to think government is the answer to every problem; that government should take our resources and make our decisions for us. That type of change doesn't trust Americans to know what is right or what is in their own best interests. It's the attitude of politicians who are sure of themselves but have little faith in the wisdom, decency and common sense of free people. That attitude created the unresponsive bureaucracies of big government in the first place. And that's not change we can believe in.

You will hear from my opponent's campaign in every speech, every interview, every press release that I'm running for President Bush's third term. You will hear every policy of the president described as the Bush-McCain policy. Why does Senator Obama believe it's so important to repeat that idea over and over again? Because he knows it's very difficult to get Americans to believe something they know is false. So he tries to drum it into your minds by constantly repeating it rather than debate honestly the very different directions he and I would take the country. But the American people didn't get to know me yesterday, as they are just getting to know Senator Obama. They know I have a long record of bipartisan problem solving. They've seen me put our country before any president — before any party — before any special interest — before my own interest. They might think me an imperfect servant of our country, which I surely am. But I am her servant first, last and always.

I have worked with the president to keep our nation safe. But he and I have not seen eye to eye on many issues. We've disagreed over the conduct of the war in Iraq and the treatment of detainees; over out-of-control government spending and budget gimmicks; over energy policy and climate change; over defense spending that favored defense contractors over the public good.

I disagreed strongly with the Bush administration's mismanagement of the war in Iraq. I called for the change in strategy that is now, at last, succeeding where the previous strategy had failed miserably. I was criticized for doing so by Republicans. I was criticized by Democrats. I was criticized by the press. But I don't answer to them. I answer to you. And I would be ashamed to admit I knew what had to be done in Iraq to spare us from a defeat that would endanger us for years, but I kept quiet because it was too politically hard for me to do. No ambition is more important to me than the security of the country I have defended all my adult life.

Senator Obama opposed the new strategy, and, after promising not to, voted to deny funds to the soldiers who have done a brilliant and brave job of carrying it out. Yet in the last year we have seen the success of that plan as violence has fallen to a four year low; Sunni insurgents have joined us in the fight against al-Qaida; the Iraqi Army has taken the lead in places once lost to Sunni and Shia extremists; and the Iraqi government has begun to make progress toward political reconciliation.

None of this progress would have happened had we not changed course over a year ago. And all of this progress would be lost if Senator Obama had his way and began to withdraw our forces from Iraq without concern for conditions on the ground and the advice of commanders in the field. Americans ought to be concerned about the judgment of a presidential candidate who says he's ready to talk, in person and without conditions, with tyrants from Havana to Pyongyang, but hasn't traveled to Iraq to meet with General Petraeus, and see for himself the progress he threatens to reverse.

I know Americans are tired of this war. I don't oppose a reckless withdrawal from Iraq because I'm indifferent to the suffering war inflicts on too many American families. I hate war. And I know very personally how terrible its costs are. But I know, too, that the course Senator Obama advocates could draw us into a wider war with even greater sacrifices; put peace further out of reach, and Americans back in harm's way.

___

In just a few years in office, Senator Obama has accumulated the most liberal voting record in the Senate. But the old, tired, big government policies he seeks to dust off and call new won't work in a world that has changed dramatically since they were last tried and failed. That's not change we can believe in.

The sweeping reforms of government we need won't occur unless we change the political habits of Washington that have locked us in an endless cycle of bickering and stalemate. Washington is consumed by a hyper-partisanship that treats every serious issue as an opportunity to trade insults; impugn each other's motives; and fight about the next election. This is the game Washington plays. Both parties play it, as do the special interests that support each side. The American people know it's not on the level. For all the problems we face, what frustrates them most about Washington is they don't think we're capable of serving the public interest before our personal ambitions; that we fight for ourselves and not for them. They are sick of the politics of selfishness, stalemate and delay, and they have every right to be. We have to change not only government policies that have failed them, but the political culture that produced them.

Both Senator Obama and I promise we will end Washington's stagnant, unproductive partisanship. But one of us has a record of working to do that and one of us doesn't. Americans have seen me put aside partisan and personal interests to move this country forward. They haven't seen Senator Obama do the same. For all his fine words and all his promise, he has never taken the hard but right course of risking his own interests for yours; of standing against the partisan rancor on his side to stand up for our country. He is an impressive man, who makes a great first impression. But he hasn't been willing to make the tough calls; to challenge his party; to risk criticism from his supporters to bring real change to Washington. I have.

Excellent and to the point, as usual.
     

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