PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (CNN) - John McCain broached his pet topic of pork barrel spending about five separate times during his Ohio town hall Wednesday, but the GOP nominee-in-waiting didn’t get a standing ovation during question time until he mentioned an issue he typically avoids - abortion.
A female voter asked the senator about the country’s divorce rate, which offered McCain a chance to praise “the two parent family organization that shares our values” as “the strongest unit in America.”
But McCain also saw an opening to discuss the abortion issue, a matter that traditionally hasn’t animated him on the stump.
After praising President Bush’s efforts to expand faith-based programs, McCain pivoted: “I also think that we should do everything that we can, and one of those in my view is respect for human life both born and the unborn.”
Here, the audience leapt to their feet, eagerly applauding McCain. It’s the second time in two weeks the senator has been roundly applauded while discussing abortion in Ohio.
At a fundraiser in suburban Cincinnati on June 26, several hundred donors gave McCain only polite applause throughout his remarks. But when McCain mentioned his support for “the sanctity of human life,” the small audience roared with approval.
At the town hall Wednesday, he also drew a distinction between himself and Barack Obama on abortion, calling it “a big difference” between them.
McCain said that while in the Illinois state legislature, Obama “voted against a ban on partial birth abortion, one of the most odious things that I have ever heard of.”
He concluded his answer by calling for more adoptions.
“I want us to understand that every life is precious, and that there is family in America for every child,” he said.