October 25th, 2008
04:50 PM ET
5 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. Jeanine G

    Geographically speaking Obama was born FURTHER WEST of McCain....so he's even more "Westerner". LOL.

    October 25, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  2. Pedro Remedios

    This "tested" thing is getting old already! When McCain said that he will "test them" sounds like George Bush! America doesn't need another George Bush!

    October 25, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  3. Vic

    I'm a fellow Republican "voted" Obama/Biden 08.

    Early voting is the way to go.

    October 25, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  4. Western Voter

    McCain may be FROM the west BUT he and his campaign have not exhibited western values. In the west, we sort of think that honesty matters, that loving our country means being able to disagree without questioning one another's patriotism. We in the west think character matters.

    John Mccain...I live in the west, I believe in Western values...and you John MCain...are no westerner.

    October 25, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  5. Joshua College Station Texas

    He's going to test them...

    How? If he does it in typical Republican style, as his background would suggest, that might include continuing unilateralism in foreign affairs; continuing or accelerating military confrontations, including preemptive ones, with foreign powers rather than engaging more aggressively in diplomacy; sparring with other countries over oil and other resources; arguing with them and labeling them as enemies and terrorist states; continuing our centrist behavior by insulting other cultures like the French and Swedes; refusing aid to struggling countries and regions like Sudan and Darfur; and on and on and on...

    October 25, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  6. even tempered

    McCain now sound like he is truly losing his mind!

    October 25, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  7. roger, brooklyn, new york

    mr john mccain, you poor soul, the writing is on the wall, you know everything thats wrong with america. you know everything so how come these ideas off your's have materialise since you been in govt for the past 26 years. wow wonders never amaze me that your interest have been for your so called pro-american friends and the real rich americans. so whats the latest on your pals from the keating klan 5. thank god bush voted for you as he himself did not have a clue, oh and on national security which you claim to be the best suit, did your involvement in the vietnam war changed it, were you a general there. you were never a powell or storming norm. you live in the past just like that sarah, you should have spend the money on her wardrobe for education as she needs it. i cant wait to see the disappointment when you lost to the community worker who has not experience to lead america.

    October 25, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. Donkey Party

    Filthy, rotten, disgusting, dishonorable, disgraceful, senile, bitter, angry, arrogant... just a few of the words that come to mind when I ponder the McCain / Palin ticket.

    October 25, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  9. Chipster

    Gag! McCain's a westerner? And let me guess.. he's got a plan! He won't tell anybody what it is but he can do it. He's got a plan – yeah. Sure.

    October 25, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  10. ralph

    The GOP sure gets real nasty when they are behind in the polls. McCain is spending a lot more time attacking Obama than he is making his own case.

    October 25, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  11. dustin

    is mccain really arrogant enough to think he won't be tested, every president is, and not only that as part of bin laden's plan to bankrupt america it would be in their best interest to attack america. Because they know mccain would without hesitation continue bush's policy of war, pre-emptive and otherwise.

    October 25, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  12. tigerakabj

    1. McCain, for the last time, WE ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS!

    2. “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.” What the....? You're losing it.

    3. You need to check on Arizona b/c polls are getting tighter there.

    Obama/Biden 2008/2012.

    October 25, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  13. On the home stretch

    Well, if you ask me, this just goes to show that McCain should stick to what he is very good at, and that is being a Senator from the Southwest, and not stretch himself with the complexity of governing the nation and leading America in its relations with the rest of the world.

    October 25, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  14. 9 more days

    Is that why tribes like the T.O. on the Gila rez only recently got funding for you diverting/stealing the waters from their Gila River over the past 50 years? You may "know," or be well aware of the conditions of Mexicans and Native Americans in the southwest, but you have no plan to alter you policies away from George Bush. This means the Indians will not receive a check for you stealing their water for another 50 years under your plan.

    October 25, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  15. CMJ

    Wasn't he the same guy that wanted to divert one state's water source to feed another state – without regard to what the state with water actually wanted! Nice try McCain. The only experience with hispanic people you have is when you talk to your gardener in your mega-million dollar ranch (oops, I meant 13 'ranches')

    October 25, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  16. KJL

    The "my friends" baloney is wearing a little thin.

    October 25, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  17. sue

    Nice to see that he wants to "test" them...why does this seem like the unstable- unable team keep digging themselves in further. Man who throws dirt loses ground- when you in a hole stop digging...

    October 25, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  18. Olivia

    That's right, Obama!
    A visit to Mexico while you were in college does make you as experienced as McCain's 20 years of dealing with the problems of the area.

    You are truly the messiah. Or is it Superman?
    I'll still take my chances with McCain and Palin.

    October 25, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  19. Chris

    If McCain is so strong in the Southwest, why is he losing ground in Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico.

    If the s.west is his turf, why is it that in his own state, he is beating Obama by only 8 points in most polls, while Obama is beating McCain in his own state of Illinois by 25 point?

    Somebody answer that question.

    October 25, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  20. Bald ex-warrior

    Ah yes, McCain HAS the answers. Yet again he claims to know how to fix things, but apparently doesn't know how to work with the existing president to impliment any of them.

    As a fighter pilot he has the experience to make snap decisions without relying on others for help. Alas, we need someone who will find a concensus from all sides, so that everyone will be on the same page and willing to work for that solution. Unilateral decisions have worked Sooooo well for the US so far.

    Time to let some truly new voices into the picture.
    Obama/Biden '08

    October 25, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  21. Arizonan for Obama/Biden

    The last thing we need is for McCain to be TESTING our enemies...not with his bad judgment and erratic reactions to crisis!

    Please, November 4th can't come soon enough!!!!

    October 25, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  22. BM

    McSame, I hate liars and you are good at it.You will get no respect from anyone ever because you have run the most dispicable campaign in history. Your next stop on the trail should be to look into independent living for yourself.

    October 25, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  23. Vivi Sanders

    I do not like McCain's statement that he "will test them." Sounds like that as soon as he's in office he'll be itching for a fight. This would be extremely dangerous for our country. Downright scary! We do not need this hothead as a leader for America.

    October 25, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  24. Response to TAINOPWER

    What about East, North, and the South, John. How can they trust you when you profess your affinity to the western part of the country ....

    October 25, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  25. FLORIDA for Obama

    Whhooooo!!! The SIDEKICK's back!!

    WHAT A JOKE

    October 25, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13