McCain visits Vt.

Senator John McCain brought his leading Republican presidential campaign to the Green Mountain State last Thursday and left with a bottle of Vermont maple syrup. McCain visited a Valentine’s Day crowd of 400 in an effort to assure attendees that he is the more qualified candidate in the race to the White House when put next to Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. “I proudly stand before you as a conservative Republican that believes in less government, lower taxes, less regulation; that families make decision on healthcare and not government and that I can provide this nation security,” McCain said. A supporter of the war in Iraq and troop surge in Baghdad, McCain, 71, told the rather “uncrunchy” crowd that his experience as a Vietnam War veteran and senator has prepared him to take on the threat of Islamic extremism, according to the Burlington Free Press. “My knowledge, my experience, my background and my judgment qualifies me to take on that threat with no on-the-job training,” he said to applause. “My friends, I look you in the eye if I have to follow him to the gates of hell– I will get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice,” McCain said. McCain’s visit was spontaneously planned in his effort to visit every state, including Vermont – a state that has voted Democratic for the past four presidential elections, according to the Burlington Free Press. Huckabee is the only other candidate who has alluded to visiting the state.Republican leaders, supporters and those curious about his message took up half of the space at the Atlantic Aviation facility next to Burlington International Airport. “I’m undecided so I just wanted to come,” Chris Leonard, 21, student at Norwich University, said. McCain addressed the climate change issue, stating that he is a supporter of non-fossil-fuel energy. “I hesitate on a day like today to use the word ‘global warming,'” he said. “It is a national security issue to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil. Suppose we are correct that our planet’s climate is being affected by greenhouse gas emissions and we do nothing? Then what kind of planet are we going to hand over to our kids?” “I went because I think it is important to be informed about politics and seeing him deliver a speech would inform me more than any article written about him. I was interested to see what kind of people turn up for a McCain rally in Burlington,” Jason Gold, UVM junior, said. McCain’s speech lasted approximately 20 minutes.