McCain speaks at Dartmouth Univ. fraternity
HANOVER, N.H. - Arizona Senator John McCain, a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, added finishing touches to his campaign in Hanover, promising to "act on principle" in return for student support, at a reception at Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at Dartmouth University Saturday.
McCain spoke to an over-capacity crowd at the fraternity, saying a major reason he is running for president is because he worries about "the cynicism and alienation that exists among young people about government."
He said young voters are no longer represented in Washington D.C. - the "city of Satan" - because politicians are concerned more with pleasing rich contributors.
McCain listed presidents of both parties - including Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan - as presidents who inspired citizens to be concerned about issues beyond those in their daily lives.
McCain touched on partisan politics, as well, touting his status as "a proud conservative Republican" but criticizing actions of both Republican and Democratic politicians.
McCain said as president, he would urge representatives to move beyond the "poisoned" Washington environment to work together for the best interests of the country.
Republicans, McCain said, dislike President Clinton too much to enact progress. McCain called Congress "Wile E. Coyote to Bill Clinton's Road Runner."
Clinton and his vice-president, Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, did not escape comments from McCain, either.
McCain used Clinton's fund-raising techniques in 1996 as an example of reasons why campaign financing must be reformed. In 1996 Clinton "treated the Lincoln Bedroom like Motel Six and he was the bellhop," McCain said.
He disparaged Gore by saying he was born nine months after aliens supposedly landed in Roswell, New Mexico.
McCain said as president he would use the "bully pulpit" to get his recently defeated campaign finance reform bill passed through Congress in the future.
He said he would go on television with examples of congressmen who add pork barrel clauses to bills and would get "the U.S. people to demand reform."
After his speech, McCain said he blamed Elizabeth Dole's and other candidates' early departures from the Republican nomination race on the fundraising system.
Candidates like Dole lost "the ballot of the bucks," McCain said, not actual races, and he said he finds this "very distressing."
McCain added that he thinks that a woman will someday be president and that that woman will thank Dole for her historical run for the office.
McCain talked about his experiences as a Vietnam fighter, saying that while a POW he refined his idea of public service and learned to truly love America.
He referred to the war again in jest, saying that when he attended the MTV Video Awards last summer he experienced assaults on his senses second only to the war in power.
McCain used the show as an anecdote to answer a question on his stance on affirmative action.
He said he feels quotas are wrong, and the better question to ask is how his administration would provide equal opportunities for all Americans.
McCain told the Dartmouth he expects Thursday's town meeting forum in Moore Theater for the Republican presidential candidates will give him another chance to talk to voters from the area.
"People in New Hampshire expect to know exactly where you stand," McCain said, saying voters want specifics about candidates' positions and plans.
McCain told The Dartmouth he expects the College students in the audience will have "the future on their mind." Students are concerned about the environment and education, among other problems, McCain said.
McCain started his day with a town meeting at the Top of the Hop that was attended by approximately 300 Upper Valley residents.
He also met with Native American students and attended the football game with President and Mrs. Wright before flying back to Washington.