(CNN) – John McCain launched a tour designed to appeal to moderate voters Monday at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, a landmark of the civil rights movement.
"There must be no forgotten places in America, whether they have been ignored for long years by the sins of indifference and injustice, or have been left behind as the world grew smaller and more economically interdependent," said the presumptive Republican nominee.
The trip will take McCain to areas far from the standard GOP campaign trail, including hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, the Appalachian region of Kentucky, blue-collar Youngstown, Ohio.
Several weeks ago, the Arizona senator drew boos at his address in honor of Martin Luther King’s birthday from protestors angry over his long-ago vote opposing a federal holiday in honor of the slain civil rights leader. He has since said that decision was a mistake.
The tour’s inaugural event may have shown how long the journey may still be for the Republican senator: in a state where nearly half the voters are African-American, and in a city where 7 in 10 residents are, there were few black faces in the audience Monday.
Asked about their absence, McCain acknowledged the challenge ahead. "I have had long and varied experience with people from all communities and all ethnic backgrounds in America, and I will continue to work," he said. "And I'm aware of the challenges, and aware of the fact that there will be many people who will not vote for me.
"But I'm going to be the president for all the people, and I will work for all the people and I will listen to all the people whether they decide to vote for me or not."
The Selma appearance was intended to send a new signal of unity. McCain praised Georgia Rep. John Lewis, who was beaten by Selma police in the famous 1965 march in that city.
Lewis is an Obama supporter. His congressional office said Monday he had not seen McCain's speech.
"John Lewis took the first blow, a baton thrust to the stomach that shoved him back on the marchers behind him. He took the second blow, too, a hard swung club to his head, leaving a permanent scar where it struck," said McCain, who used the congressman’s example to make the case that Americans can overcome any obstacle.
Yes, let's not vote for the man who went through so many hardships while he was a POW in YOUR war. You are disgusting.
You have got to be kidding. He does'nt even seem the least bit sincere. What is wrong with you people have you know brain. Seriously somethings is wrong with this country if you think this shribbled old geaser is worth even looking at , for real don't be retards for ever. This guy is so fake , it's leaking from his underarms and mistaken for sweat.
Good work McCain, if Hillary does not win then I want you to be President. You really need to walk back from that support of the war stance and then I could whole heartedly support you. You seem like a great guy with a fantastic personality. And having a president for just 1term is really appealing to me too. Oh, and you should get Romney to be your vp or a woman candidate and that would make me really happy.
Is he serious?!? Why do they always have a change of heart when they run for the Presidency? Like he really cares now....
All of a sudden McCain shows "concern".
And the timing isn't at all oppportunistic!
You want to appeal to moderates, McCain?
End the Iraq War.
End Bush's tax cuts to the ultra wealthy.
Stop telling us happy thoughts will get us through the gas crunch.
Like I have said before, that this guys is taking one for the GOP team. Do you think after bush, that anybody in their right mind would vote for the GOP this time around. Mark my words, this WILL be one land slide election and Mcbush and his queen will not be the winner.
I went to your website: vets against John McCain and it looks like your trying to pull a "swiftboat" but the fact of the matter is McCain is still a war hero and nothing you say disqualifies him for president. Perhaps, you are just bitter.
McCain is pulling out all the stops he does not care what this bridge means to black americans only using every trick in the book for
a vote don't worry it will only be 10% which are fools. McCain is nothing more Bush policy .
If he was not running for president he would never had made the stop
in Memphis to speak to blacks in the rain.
John Mccain is an Old GEEZER, that should go and play in a Big Bingo Tournament, so that he can fund his campaign.
He can stand on whatever bridge he wants to, but it doesn't change the fact that he and his party are the party of limited civil rights, more government intrusion into individual rights, more government spending, and bigger national debts. And those are his 'positives'.
One of his biggest 'negatives' is that he and his party will try to convince you otherwise, which makes him a dangerous LIAR.
America better grow its voting IQ, and do better than in 2000 and 2004.
Obama is not FIT to call himself a American.
Hillary or McCain.
This Vietnam Veteran supports McCain and will never support a non-military person and hater of my country. Were you and Kerry hanging out with Hanoi Jane in Paris. Sounds to me like you were.
To our incoming president, John McCain, God Bless you and your family. Semper Fi.
MCCAIN HASN'T PRODUCED HIS MEDICAL RECORDS YET. HE USED SOME EXCUSE BACK IN MARCH THAT HIS DOCTOR WAS ON VACATION AND HE WOULD RELEASE THEM IN MAY. IT DOESN'T TAKE THREE (3) MONTHS TO GET ONES MEDICAL RECORDS AND YOU DON'T HAVE TO WAIT ON YOUR DOCTOR TO GET THEM, YOU SIMPLY SIGN A RELEASE. THINK ABOUT IT. FACT, I WAS PREVIOUSLY EMPLOYED IN A MEDICAL RECORDS DEPARTMENT.
mccain cannot heal the damage done by this current administration,by kissing up to people,now,then ,continuing the same stupid policies,after the election.
CNN, you guys find the most hilarious pictures of John McCain that I've ever seen. He looks completely senile in this one... Or maybe that's just how he looks all the time.
ANYBODY BUT MCCAIN '08!
Nice to see him reaching out beyong the Republican base...good move.
How is the surge going McCain???????????
Funny how you aren't mentioning it anymore.
What a phony. He didn't want there to be an MLK day. Now he is all for civil rights. I don't believe you, John.
Does McCain and the Republican machine speak to the "hearts and minds" of the American people? No!
Will this belated attempt to connect to the "other" America bring about the change needed in this country or the Republican Party? No!
Will America fall for this and allow McCain to keep us in Iraq, a war that is partly to blame for the current economy? No!
Will he be the next President of the United States? No!
McCain doesn't represent the future (PERIOD).
McCain just does not get it. I went to one of his rallies in my town – The demographic of the attendees were: Extremely old white men. There was one person of color – He was with the press covering the event. I appreciate McCain's past service to our country, But.. This just does not reflect America in 2008.
MAn, this guy is old!
McCain is a proud America and will be a good president.
McCain or Hillary!
Is this the Republican apology tour?