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John McCain visits 'forgotten places' (hoping swing voters recall)

As Democratic presidential rivals Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama continue to lambaste one another, presumptive Republican nominee John McCain continues to fly above it all, enjoying the luxury of embarking upon unorthodox campaign forays that he hopes will pay dividends in the general election.

A couple of weeks back, he traipsed across the country on a "bio tour," visiting places that provided a Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain of Arizona speaks on the banks of the Alabama River in Selma has he starts his forgotten places campaign tour backdrop for him -- on his own terms -- to flesh out his life story. Some questioned its political usefulness, but at the local level he received lots of positive press.

Today, he began a swing through what his campaign termed "forgotten places" -- locales that, as a McCain news release put it, have been "left behind by our nation's elected leaders." And his first stop certainly was unusual for a member of his party -- Selma, Ala., site of infamous beatings of civil rights marchers during a 1965 demonstration and part of a congressional district that Democrat John Kerry carried by almost 30 percentage points over President Bush in 2004.

The Times' Maeve Reston is on the trip, and she reports that, at least on the surface, the juxtaposition between the community's demographics and the makeup of the crowd that gathered to hear McCain speak on the banks of the Alabama River (pictured above) may not have been what his staff was hoping for. Selma and its environs are predominantly black; McCain's audience was nearly all-white.

That apparently bothered the candidate not one whit.

“I am aware of the fact that there will be many people who will not vote for me," he said. "But I’m going to be the president of all the people and I will work ...

for all the people and I will listen to all people -- whether they decide to vote for me or not,” he said to a scattering of applause. “I’m going to places, frankly, in this country where there is the greatest need, and whether, at the end of the day, they choose to vote for me or not, is not my major purpose.”

“My major purpose is if I understand the challenges -- and they are enormous -- that they face today, I will be a far better president of the United States.”

That may not win McCain many more votes from African Americans or other reliable Democratic blocs. But it's a message that may well resonate with swing voters who, barring a twist in the fall that produces a blowout for either side, should be the ones who decide November's victor.

-- Don Frederick

Photo credit: Associated Press

 
Comments () | Archives (5)

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Friends do not let friends vote for John McCain. Well, at least til they read Cliff Schecter's The Real McCain so then the voter will know why this is a confusing candidate. Such a nice guy with such a famous temper? What's the deal? Is he a maverick? Is he an indepedent? Or is he conforming to make the Armageddon partisans accept him?

Schecter traces One, Two, Three John McCains through the years and shows how we might be confused about where is this guy coming from. We might have one impression from John McCain One but now that is not John McCain Three.

For bookstore browsers, just read the last chapter where Schecter conisders what we might expect in a cabinet. That will do. After that if you want to vote for him, well fine. At least you will know what you are setting up.

Lemme see... 'Gaia's Child'... Independent? Unlikely. Symbionese Liberation Army? Possibly. Seems inclined to forgive any number of weaknesses in a Democrat, but highly critical of weaknesses in a Republican. Stooge? Probably not. But certainly not capable of giving objective voting advice to independents like me. Friends don't let friends influence them with lame one liners involving friends doing or not doing something. You have three choices. One of them gets pissed off when people go around dicking with democratic institutions, and isn't afraid to let people know that. One of them has a history of taking hits from both the Left and the Right for doing that. The two others are ciphers. Who knows what they believe. I don't think even they know without asking a focus group. I'll vote for whichever one has suffered and borne the scars of war and not denied his birthright, Democrat or Republican. I don't car if their name is Inoyue or McCain. They have proven themselves. The others? Not so much.

Obama is our Savior. After watching “typical white people” grill Obama during the debate, I realized that Obama, Ayers, and Reverend Wright are Right, God D*** america. Now is the time to rally around Barak and Michelle and make them proud! These poor bitter rural white folk with their guns and phony religion who are afraid of people not like themsleves should not be allowed to vote. Yes, no more so called elections where typical white people vote! And news flash america, Barak is right, your typical white american is a racist! Obama will apologize to our Muslim brothers for arrogant american policies of hate and slavery. Only Obama can forgive an evil nation founded on slavery. White people, no more gun purchases, save your money cause reparations are comin! Obama 08!!!

Some of our greatest leaders have had "tempers" or passion for certain ideals; Truman for one and he was a hellava President. Better a passionate leader than a liar like Obama.

I don't usually get into politics and normally, I don't even like to give any interest into it at all. But considering what the Democrats and, in particular, Hilary Clinton and Barak Obama are pushing as "potential leaders of the United States" - it scares me to think if even one of them gets in power. Obama as a Savior? I think not.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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