October 25th, 2008
04:50 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain: 'I'm a fellow Westerner'

Sen. McCain got off his plane Saturday with the hills of Mexico in the background on his way to a campaign stop in New Mexico.

Sen. McCain got off his plane Saturday with the hills of Mexico in the background on his way to a campaign stop in New Mexico.

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (CNN) - At a rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico Saturday, Senator John McCain told the crowd that he was a neighboring Western senator who understood the Southwest and Hispanic culture and his opponent didn’t.

“My friends I’m a fellow Westerner, I understand these issues, I understand land and water and Native American issues and border issues and I understand the challenges that a great, great western states face with our growth and our needs and our challenges,” said the Arizona Senator as he courted voters key to the state’s five electoral votes.

“My friends, Senator Obama has never been south of our border, you know that? And he doesn’t know these issues. I know them, I know what the Southwest is, I know strength and the culture and our Hispanic culture and the strength of our great states."

While McCain has been dealing with southwestern issues for over 20 years as an Arizona legislator, an Obama spokesman said that in fact the Illinois Senator did visit Mexico when he was in college.

McCain added a new line to his comments about Congressman Barney Frank’s plans to cut the defense budget, echoing the lines of GOP presidential candidates in elections past.

“The Democrats answer to the challenges we face is to lower our defenses and raise our taxes. That is not the vision I have for America. I want to strengthen our defenses and lower our taxes.”

And the Arizona Senator emphasized that while Senator Biden told donors at a Seattle fundraiser that his running mate would be tested by America’s enemies in office, McCain would test them back.

“My friends, I have been tested,” said McCain. "They may want to test Senator Obama. I’ve been tested and I'm going to test them. They’re not going to test me.”

Obama also has events in New Mexico and Nevada Saturday. These are battleground states that Bush won in 2004 but have been favoring Senator Obama in recent polling.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain • New Mexico
soundoff (306 Responses)
  1. BJGT

    After meeting with small business owners in Colorado yesterday, McCain released a statement emphasizing the need for “less government regulation of their business.”

    Politico’s Lisa Lerer notes that this is “a dangerous message in the midst of a market meltdown many have blamed on a lack of regulation on Wall Street.”


    October 25, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  2. hurriCAIN PALIN

    i want someone with experience to run america, not someone that

    voted 'present' a whole lot of times, what kind of 'good judgement' is


    October 25, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  3. vote! OBAMA-BIDEN NOV.4th

    mccain your own campaign says palin is goin ROUGE, according to websters this means she is a dishonest and unprincipled person: a trickster, isn't that what we've been telling you sense the day you chose her. VOTE OBAMA-BIDEN

    October 25, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  4. PDX Gal

    They're NOT going to test you, Senator?!?!

    How arrogant. Could we get someone that is going to be smarter about world affairs, please? Haven't we already found out that yeehaw is not a foreign policy? Haven't we been bitten bad enough by poor foreign policy attitudes from a swaggering know-it-all already?

    More Piccard. Less Kirk.

    October 25, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  5. pam Eugene OR

    My friends...Mr McCain has not been tested as President but we do know his temper and his reactive personality too well.
    The only real test McCain has faced was when he was a POW and he sang like a bird (hence his nickname songbird). His first thought is always to do something impulsive and wrong. He over reacts and does not seek wise council. On that respect he is a maverick that we can not afford.
    He is too dangerous for the dangerous time.
    We need a smart guy this time.

    October 25, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  6. Bjoerlingfan

    McCain needs to stop saying, "Obama doesn't understand..." It's incredibly condescending.

    Judging from the debates and your policies, it seems like Obama understands things a lot better than you, Mr. Maverick.

    October 25, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  7. Juanito, Seattle

    Yeah, I'm sure Obama visited Mexico while in college. But didn't we all hit a few cantinas in Tijuana when we were in college? Tijuana is not Mexico as much as it is South San Diego. Why did he even have to respond to that question? Is he going on defense now? McCain was talking about south of the border, as in being there, knowing the people, land, culture. Obama only knows the south side of Chicago.

    October 25, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  8. Lori

    I'm surprised he didn't say "My friends, I'm Native American and Hispanic, just like you". He'll say or do anything...

    And to think...I voted for him in the primaries in 2000...

    He's not the same man...and that is very, very sad.

    Senator McCain, you sold your soul.

    October 25, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. mmd

    I am to write a book on the know it all mccain.

    October 25, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  10. Rick

    Why does the media choose pictures of McCain alone and almost lifeless while airing Obama as bright and surrounded by people? I've noticed the same pattern each election CNN must be pro-democrat as Fox is pro-republican. Whatever happened to unbiased journalism?

    October 25, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  11. abraxis

    Hey the followers of McCain, have you read this article? I doubt it, most of the time, the followers of ignorance do not try to see things from other points of view.

    Just in case there are some of you who can read:


    October 25, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  12. Upper Canada Bill

    So what if Obama hasn't gone down to Mexico on a sunny holiday. He'll have time enough.
    Hell, it took McCain 25 years to visit Upper Canada! I guess, such an important strategic partner was never that important to him.
    Perhaps, the real reason it took so long to visit is because he remembers what it was like in 1812 when he personally watched Canadians burn down the first White House, and hasn't wanted to visit a terrorist nation like Canada!

    October 25, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  13. Frank G

    Good, soon he can spend his time between Arizona and Alaska when he does not feel like showing up for Senate business.
    "Tested" by being on a Navy ship as a stand by jet fighter pilot or a POW in Hanoi? These were wonderful, courageous acts of military service to our Nation, but have absolutely nothing to do with the type of thinking, diplomacy and navigation that our next President shall need to deal with current world geo-political considerations.

    October 25, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  14. chris

    mccain is what this country should aviod...think of our image around the world.......

    mccain represents everything that has ruined(BUSH) the system..

    we need generational change ..a new mindset...and a 72year old man cant bring that.

    Ive made my pick.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08.....i look forward to the future now

    October 25, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  15. Miri

    So McCain is going to go out looking for fights?
    Doesn't sound very western to me.

    October 25, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  16. notso

    Being a fellow Westerner does not qualify you to be the Commander-In-Chief of this nation. Someone has a better resume than you do.

    October 25, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  17. Linda from AZ

    I have lived in AZ over 20 years and he has never set foot in the town I live we're to small and too common for his tastes. He has done nothing to improve my family's life and will not do anything to move this country forward. He is the 20th century we need the 21st. . . .

    Vote Early Vote Obama Vote...

    October 25, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  18. LC

    Whatever, McRage. I live in Tucson, I am an Independent, an American of Mexican descent and I sure didn't vote for you. You may win Arizona because of Maricopa county's numbers, but I think you suck up to anyone you think will get you elected. You flip-flopped on abortion and immigration (abandoned that issue, didn't ya?) and it's clear you know jack about economics. You are a lout and picked a boob for your running mate. I would rather give an intelligent thoughful man a chance than vote for you. One can only hope you lose and get voted out of your seat in Arizona, since you've done such wonders for us here.

    October 25, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  19. Tops

    In case there's anyone out there still wondering what 'Trickle Down Economics" really means. It is spending $150,000 on clothing in one month, and when you're done, donate them to those who can no longer afford to buy gas in their cars.

    Any wonder why McCain is fighting to protect tax cuts for the rich?

    October 25, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  20. jane in Columbus,ks

    If he knows the border issues so well then why do we still have unprotected borders? Why is there an ever increasing smuggling trade cutting through southern AZ in both drugs and illegals? More politics as usual from the maverick man.

    October 25, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  21. Gina

    Oh, please, McCain. Fellow Southwesterners? Arizona is southwest only in name. Obama hasn't been south of the border? Perhaps, but he is not like your rabid Tucson sheriff who hates anything and anyone south of the border. There is a reason why Arizona is the only southwestern state hit hard by the housing crisis. Because you are not like New Mexico and Arizona and California that also share borders with Mexico and understand the border culture. You are a southwesterner like Cindy and the sheriff are southwesterners. You happen to live in a state that borders another country for which you have neither love nor understanding.

    October 25, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  22. C Wren


    Given McCains age and health history she could in deed become Commander in Chief

    I am terrified at the prospect of this less than open, inexperienced, undereducated woman might be the President of the United States.

    Ms. Palin was a parlor trick in response to Mr. Obamas flashy Democratic Convention. The problem is that a trick, is just that

    Ms. Palin has close ties to the some pretty interesting people in Wasilla.

    Google: Steve Stoll and Palin.

    Extreme? Anti-American? You must judge for yourself.

    PLEASE do your own research.

    There are so many skeletons in Ms. Palins closet that there is no room for her new $150K wardrobe.

    October 25, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  23. Tamarra

    He lies from both sides of his mouth. Why does his speeches sound more and more like Se. Obama's? He will say anything to get elected.

    October 25, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  24. KofTX

    Pander, pander, pander...

    Oh, the sound of desperation!

    October 25, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  25. Obama 08

    Oh really? Then why aren't you leading in big states like California, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, and Colorado? Heck, even Montana and North Dakota are in play.

    October 25, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
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