At Fiorina event, McCain doesn't hide disdain for Boxer -- she's 'bitterly partisan' and 'anti-defense'
Former Republican presidential contender John McCain reunited with his onetime advisor Carly Fiorina on the campaign trail Saturday in San Diego, offering a blistering indictment of Barbara Boxer’s record on military issues and calling her the “most bitterly partisan, most anti-defense senator in the United States Senate today” -- an assessment he said he’d made while having “the unpleasant experience” of serving with her.
“When you hear her say that she supports the men and women in the military, my friends, she does not,” said McCain, a former Navy pilot who was held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam for five and half years after his plane was shot down in 1967. “Because she has never supported the mission; she has never supported victory whether it be in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or anywhere else in the world. Barbara Boxer wants to wave the white flag of surrender and endanger this nation’s national security. It’s time she went back to San Francisco with [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi.”
Appearing before an audience of several hundred veterans and supporters at the Veterans Museum in Balboa Park -- where McCain, his wife Cindy, and Fiorina formed a tableau of red, white and blue on stage -- the Arizona senator praised Fiorina’s business background and sought to reinforce her efforts to portray her rival’s voting record as anti-military.
Boxer has long been a hero of the anti-war movement after getting her start in politics advocating against the Vietnam War. She has called her vote against the Iraq War her proudest moment and vowed to keep the pressure on President Obama to bring troops home from Afghanistan.
But under constant attack from Fiorina this election cycle, she has used television ads to publicize her work on veterans’ care, including her advocacy for a combat casualty care center in San Diego that allows California servicemen and women to be treated closer to home. She has also held a series of events focused on veterans affairs, including an appearance last weekend with Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, a World War II combat veteran who earned the Medal of Honor, to highlight her endorsement by the political action committee of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
“No one is a more committed advocate for our veterans,” Boxer’s campaign manager, Rose Kapolczynski, said in a statement Saturday. “Barbara Boxer believes our men and women in uniform deserve our thanks, respect and support, both while on active duty and when they come home. For anyone to question Barbara Boxer’s support for our troops and our veterans is outrageous and false.”
During the event on Saturday, neither Fiorina or McCain mentioned former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s late-afternoon appearance in Anaheim on behalf of the Republican Party.
A recent Field poll showed that two-thirds of decline-to-state voters in California view Palin unfavorably -- one potential reason why both Fiorina and Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman are skipping the chance to appear with her. Both women have cited scheduling conflicts.
“We made this commitment to be here many, many months ago, and it’s a commitment that we need to keep,” Fiorina told reporters Saturday before flying to Northern California for a late-afternoon meeting with supporters.
“The veterans asked us to come,” McCain added without elaborating about his former running mate’s visit to California.
-- Maeve Reston in San Diego