Nashua, NH - Senator John McCain returned to New Hampshire on March 13, appearing at a town hall meeting in Nashua to endorse Republican candidate for Senate Kelly Ayotte. During the event, McCain used harsh words to describe the healthcare reform bill that Democrats are working to push through Congress, calling it a “…2733 page monstrosity.” He said that Republicans would immediately launch a nationwide movement to repeal the bill if it passes. Ayotte and McCain also voiced opinions on a number of today’s key political issues, including the economy, jobs, energy, climate change, student loans, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
McCain kicked off the event by delivering a short stump speech in which he briefly laid out his reasons for endorsing Ayotte. He then turned his attention to discussing the deficit, reconciliation, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
McCain's endorsement of Ayotte:
“I’m here as you know, because I think that Kelly is a great, great way to continue the outstanding representation in the United States Senate of the state of New Hampshire. She is a great person. She believes in law and order. She understands fiscal responsibility. And frankly, we need someone like her to follow up in the footsteps of a great United States Senator Judd Gregg."
McCain on the deficit:
“What we have done is we have committed generational theft. We have committed generational theft on our children and our grandchildren.”
McCain on using the reconciliation process to pass healthcare legislation:
“In history, we have never enacted a major reform without broad bipartisan support. Whether it be Social Security… whether it be Medicare… whether it be the civil rights act… every single major reform has been done with broad bipartisan support.”
McCain on healthcare bill:
“… a 2733 page monstrosity.”
McCain on Iraq:
“Now for three months, there has not been a single American service member killed or injured in Iraq.”
McCain On Afghanistan:
“The people of Afghanistan do not want the Taliban back, they do not want it back. We can succeed and prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a base for attacks the United States and our allies.”
McCain on repealing the Democrat's healthcare bill:
A member of the audience asked what it would take to repeal the healthcare reform bill, if the bill passes.
“If this passes - and I hate to contemplate it because I still think we can beat – but if it passes we will immediately launch a nationwide movement to repeal it,” McCain responded.
Ayotte on terrorism and military tribunals:
Ayotte fielded a question about the role that military tribunals should play in bringing terror suspects to justice.
“The military tribunals are appropriate forum for terrorists because our civilian court system was not set up to try enemies of our country,” responded Ayotte, who spent five years working as Attorney General for the State of New Hampshire.
McCain and Ayotte on global warming and energy
“Is climate change caused by human activity, and if so what can we do about it?” asked another voter.
“I think it is an inexact science and there has been more and more questioning about some of the conclusions that were reached concerned climate change,” McCain answered. “I believe that everybody in the world deserves correct answers on whether the scientific conclusions were flawed by outside influences.”
“Let me put it this way, is there anyone here that doesn’t want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “I mean… we all want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We know they’re bad.”
“What I would add to it is that there is no question – and I think we can all agree – that we want to protect our environment,” Ayotte commented. “But I would not support Waxman-Markey or this de facto energy tax, because essentially what it does is it’s going to increase all of our costs on businesses, on homeowners.”
Both voiced their support for using nuclear power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance national security, and solve the nation’s energy woes.
McCain on Republican Meeting With President Obama
A voter asked McCain what would come out of Republican’s recent meeting with President Obama.
“The meeting was… interesting,” joked McCain, drawing laughter from the crowd.
“Eight times the president of the United States during the campaign the last campaign said, ‘When we negotiate healthcare reform, we will have C-Span cameras in the room.’ Of course that never happened.” McCain said.
He also attacked the Obama and the Democrats in Congress on several issues, including possible plans to use the reconciliation process to pass healthcare reform legislation.
Ayotte on banks involvement in student loans
Another question focused on the possibility that Democrats might try to tack proposals aimed at reducing private banks involvement in the student loan industry on to the healthcare bill.
“It’s really an unprecedented expansion of government, and putting the student loan piece into the reconciliation bill is wrong as well,” remarked Ayotte.
“We do need to make sure that our students have access to loans so that they can go to college, but having the government take it all over and completely taking the private sector is not the answer to that,” she added.
McCain and Ayotte on jobs and the economy:
“We know that jobs, jobs, jobs is the driver. What specifically would you recommend to get this really moving forward once and for all and to solve the woes of the economy?” another voter asked.
“I would agree that we need to cut taxes and I think a payroll tax cut is a very good idea, but we need to make sure that we pay for it,” said Ayotte. “I think using the stimulus dollars or other spending cuts because we can’t continue on the path of bankrupting our country.”
“I would also cut the corporate tax rate because our corporate taxes are the highest in the world,” stated McCain.