McCain stops in La Crosse

Renee Rosenow

LA CROSSE – With an American flag to his right, the logos of “Country First” and “Victory in Wisconsin” behind him, presidential hopeful John McCain (R – AZ) was surrounded by about 5,000 people of different ages at the La Crosse Center South Hall Friday morning.

This was the second time McCain held a rally in La Crosse after the primary elections in February. His wife Cindy McCain introduced him, giving a brief account of the senator’s accomplishments in the army, as well as in senate.

“It takes experience to lead a nation, it takes leadership to lead a nation,” Cindy McCain said. “More importantly it takes the time and character for a man who’s served his country since he was seventeen years old.”

From behind the podium, McCain said he needed the state of Wisconsin in order to win the elections in November.

He then spoke about how America is in a time of crisis, saying it must get to the heart of the problem – housing prices.

“In the debate (last week) .ΓΏ I proposed a plan to help homeowners across America,” he said. “In my orders as president, the secretary of treasury who carried out homeownership resurgent’s plant, the United States government will support the financing the stress mortgages for home owners and replacement with manageable mortgages so people can stay in their homes.”

During his speech, McCain stressed that the United States needs a president people can trust.

“We are going to see change in Washington,” he said. “The question is whose direction . which candidate’s experience in government . makes him a more reliable leader for our country.”

McCain said as a president he plans to stop the abuse in Washington by doing “whatever it takes.” He said he plans to bring tax relief to the middle class and help businesses create jobs. He then said he was going to help families keep their homes and help students pay for college as well as find and keep jobs.

On health care, McCain said it was going to be more accessible and affordable. In the last half of his speech McCain questioned Democrat Barack Obama’s spending and tax plans, saying they would increase taxes on small businesses.

“Someone needs to ask Senator Obama to please specify the amount of fine he will impose on the employers in America,” McCain said.

Towards the end of his speech McCain said that he was going to be the one to change Washington saying, “I’ve done it before” as people erupted into cheers, raising their campaign placards, balloons and homemade signs.

Throughout his 20-minute speech, McCain continuously told people “who is a more experienced candidate.” He ended his speech saying people don’t have to hope for change when they vote for him “you know things will change.”

Carolyn Stakun, 66, of La Crosse said she liked the rally and thought it was very effective.

“I think we all need to get inspired and I think John McCain did that,” she said. “I think (McCain) said what he needed to say and I think we have a lot to lose if John is not elected.”

UW-La Crosse freshman Elizabeth Plack, 18, said she’s still an undecided voter. She said she felt excited to be a part of something historical and it was a very powerful experience.

“At the moment I’m more or less not fully informed so I don’t want to make any conclusions,” Plack said. “Coming to this helps to inform me in the certain issues and everything; I have to do more research before I decide.”

Becky Balts, 62, volunteer at the Eau Claire Republic Headquarters, 3230 E. Hamilton Ave., said she felt really passionate about John McCain.

“He’s got a lot of poise, but in the end it’s all up to God,” she said. “It’s going to be (God’s) choice, not yours or mine.”

Robert Hamill, junior and chairman of College Republicans said he had seen McCain in La Crosse this past spring, but this time no one from the organization had a chance to go there. He said he hopes McCain will visit Eau Claire since he hasn’t been here yet. He said it’s key for McCain to come here as it will determine which way Wisconsinwill swing, Democrat or Republican.

“It’s important that John McCain visits western Wisconsin . especially college towns,” Hamill said. “It shows college students that he stands for a lot of the values that college students are looking for. Values like limited government, job growth and keeping our country strong.”