April 21st, 2008
12:00 PM ET
14 years ago

McCain launches outreach effort


[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/21/art.mccainsselma.ap.jpg caption=" McCain campaigned in Selma Monday."]
(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.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (120 Responses)
  1. Richard

    At least he admitted he did a misstake. Obama has still admitted his misstake with Rev. Wright and appologized to PA people. McCain comes across far more honest and humble than Obama

    April 21, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. Lisa

    He has no right to be anywhere near that bridge or anything it represents! Your vote against MLK day was certainly a mistake, as are you, you crazy, war loving, old, old, man.

    April 21, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. Chris, Denver CO

    nice try, McKlan. Nobody's buying it.

    April 21, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Tim from Buffalo

    Obviously McCain doesn't think he's going to make inroads with black voters. The only reason I can think of that would support him doing this is that his campaign must feel that some of Obama's success is rooted in "white guilt" and he has to position himself in such a way as to give white people a way to vote for him in spite of that. Even that seems like a bit of a stretch – but if not that what is he doing?

    April 21, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Neil K, Lake Forest CA

    No forgotten places? What about New Orleans, Senator McCain? Any thoughts of your own on that, or are you going to continue to show the indifference the current administration has?

    April 21, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. Ian

    Listening and acting upon are two completely different things. Please listen closely to his words. He hears our cries to bring our troops home, yet blatantly states his opposition to this. This is not a man for the people.

    April 21, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. Coloradan


    Reaching out to the right-wing nutters, grannies and weak minded.

    I can't wait until there's a debate between Obama and McCain. Barack will serve point-by-point blows to that FLAWED McBush.

    Clinton is over, Bush is over, it's really time to Move On.

    April 21, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. Carlo

    Don't even go there McCain. You remember those places now? You've been a Senator for over twenty years. You couldn't have squeezed them in by now? Pandering, pandering...

    April 21, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. ABC

    The future of this nation depends on the character and wisdom of our next president, Thus this is the most important factor to evaluate a candidate. Any person who is not wise enough to understand that our nation has deteriorated in the past few years because of the Iraq war does not deserve to be our next president.

    McCain is an honorable veteran and respected senator. However, he is too stubborn and too committed to the Iraq (or may-be Iran) war. Obama is an inspiring speaker to some, but slippery and without substance to others. He is the most unknown among the three candidates in this area. Yet, we have already known many things that can handicap him in the general election and in the presidency: for example, his dealings with the indicted Chicago land dealer; his relationship with Rev Wright.; his wife’s stand on races and America; and his smoking and drug history. On the other hand, Hillary has been in the public light for more than 30 years. She has built some resistance from the public, particularly from the media. However, she is an optimistic person with a resilient strength to overcome difficulties

    April 21, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  10. Sue

    Quote: "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. Wasn't he part of that indifference for goodness sake? He speaks as though he was not in Washington for the last few decades. Typical pol.

    April 21, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  11. Joe Green

    Hello John McCain! Moderate Voter Here! Waiting for your "outreach!"

    Does this "outreach" include comparing Obama to Hamas? If so, you lost me big time.

    I supported your campaigns in the past, financially. No more.

    Fire your Carville-clone or whoever is doing this idiotic "attack dog" stuff.

    Are you blind as well as deaf? Can't you see that is what is TANKING Hillary?

    Now your campaign is tanking as well. Sheesh! You HAD it man!

    And you BLEW it!

    April 21, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. Jan

    McFlip has made a lot of mistakes and continues to talk out of both sides of his mouth. A Republican heading to New Orleans to mouth platitudes about "fixing" their problems. Too little, too late, too obvious.

    April 21, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. Danh nguyen

    He now needs votes. That's why he said It was a mistake. Vote Halliary or Barack , we will have a better life, because the Democrats truly care for all those who live in this great nation, The USA...

    April 21, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  14. Bridgette

    As a United States senator how could you have just gotten around to visiting hurricane Katrina victims. How is that possible. I know they tried to make that a race thing but it really wasn't. There were just as many white people hurt by that as black people, but, for some reason they only want to show black people when they talk about hurricane katrina.

    I think it is a shame to try and use that as a political stand. It is so many people that are just homeless after that and still waiting for someone to give them some help. That should not be what you want to use for a political plat form.

    April 21, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  15. Randy - Denver

    And while Ms. Clinton continues her failed comapign forcing Mr. obama to fight on two fronts Mr. mcCain is getting a quiet period to strengthen his campaing without any real scrutiny.. THANKS HILLARY No wonder why the most conservative paper in PA supports you! You are handing the race to Mr. McCain because you cannot do the math that shows unless you win by over 40% in all remaining states you will not beat Mr. Obama in pledged delegates (which we understand you think should all change their votes to you) nor the popular vote and that the only way you can win is by backroom deals with the Superdelegates...

    April 21, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  16. SayNoToHillaryBillaryCheslary

    Too late Mccain No African American person will the right mind will vote Republican except a few idiots. Republican so called Conservative which I call false Christians are the most racist people in face of this planet.

    April 21, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. Michael Lorton, Virginia

    McCain has come to realize that finishing second in the Olympics gets you silver; Finishing second in politics gets you oblivion. He is going to have to shake a lot of hands to make up the difference.

    April 21, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. Tiffany

    Is this guy kidding? He voted against a Dr, King holiday – what kind of person but a bigot would do that? I guess he thought the fight against racism, sexism and oppression isn't something worthy of acknowledging!

    Who is he trying to reach out to? He is the biggest flip-flopper yet.

    April 21, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  19. James

    Your'e a little late. The March was in the '60.

    April 21, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  20. blue

    John, sorry, they keep bumping you down so they can try to lie and smear Hillary more with an outdated report. They want to keep that on the front page, so you were pushed down.

    ... Don't worry though, after tomorrow's win for Hillary, she will be the nominee and you will start getting more equal time.

    April 21, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    Puh-lease! He doesn't understand the average working man/woman anymore than he supports policies that would benefit them.

    A vote for McSame is a vote for four more years of the same failed policies of the Cheney/Bush mafia!

    Democratic in 2008!

    Yes, we can.....take our conutry back!

    April 21, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. Peter in PA

    Get back to the nurshing home you old man!

    April 21, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  23. Veterans Against McCain

    Mc Cain is not fit to be president. To see why go to our website: vietnam veterans against john mccain.

    April 21, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  24. MD

    Well at least McCane knows the decisions he makes are all mistakes. Isn't it sad that we allow individuals who have betrayed us on a smaller scale (in the Senate) to run for the highest office of the Land?

    McCane is called McSame and McBush, but I don't think the man has any direction at all. What scares me about McCane is the same thing that scares me about Clinton: They both say and do anything to get elected.

    April 21, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. Veterans for Obama

    Not a hero in my book!

    April 21, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
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