McCain supports Bass '74, Rubens '72

by Alison Schmauch | 10/18/00 5:00am

Arizona Senator John McCain, formerly a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, spoke to Dartmouth students, faculty and people from throughout the Upper Valley yesterday morning to two Dartmouth campaigns -- Republican Charlie Bass' '74 run for U.S. Congress and Jim Rubens' '72 campaign for the New Hampshire senate.

McCain briefly spoke about his views regarding the elections and the situation in the Middle East before taking questions from the audience. He also urged students to elect Republicans to both legislative and executive positions.

Outside of the Hopkins Center, where McCain spoke, demonstrators expressed their discontent with the Bass campaign.

Michael Whitman of Lyme, N.H., voicing sentiments shared by several other demonstrators, said that he had come to this rally because Bass, who appeared with McCain yesterday, had refused to appear in a public debate at Dartmouth with his opponent Barney Brannen.

Appearing with McCain, according to Whitman, will inherently give the voters a more one-sided picture of Bass's ideas and experiences.

Kerry Marsh, a volunteer for the Bass campaign, defended Bass by explaining that he was getting his message out through other methods, including a publicly televised debate held outside the Upper Valley.

In his speech, McCain said that he is concerned about Vice President Al Gore's lack of interest in discussing military readiness, especially in light of the recent terrorist attacks on U.S. ships in the Middle East.

While McCain admires the way that President Bill Clinton successfully moved the Democrats to the center and for his policies regarding welfare reform and the economy, he criticized Clinton for being feckless regarding foreign policy.

For example, Clinton tried to claim that China is our strategic partner, whereas, according to McCain, Japan is properly our strategic partner.

McCain said that Clinton's poor handling of China threatened Taiwanese sovereignty.

According to McCain, terrorism is a serious threat to maintaining peace among nations.

He said that the best way to combat the terrorist threats posed by various ethnic and fundamentalist religious groups is to strengthen U.S. intelligence abroad.

McCain criticized the resolution that the U.N. Security Council passed regarding these incidents, which he said was biased against Israel.

According to McCain, the U.S. should have used its veto power to veto the resolution, rather than merely abstaining from the vote.

McCain said that while he believes the United Nations is generally good at peacekeeping, it is not as good at peacemaking, citing their efforts to make peace in Bosnia.

He added that the United Nations wastes so much money that the U.S. federal government looks fiscally efficient by comparison.

In response to a later question, McCain explained that while he does not agree with all of Governor Bush's ideas, he had stated throughout the primary campaign that he would support the Republican nominee.

McCain said he can work with Bush and Cheney, if they are elected, to implement the ideas he outlined in his own campaign for the Republican nomination.

At the congressional level, McCain encouraged voters to support Bass because he supports McCain's ideas regarding campaign finance reform, despite being challenged by an opponent whose campaign has been financed by soft money.

Responding to an audience member's question regarding proposals to reform the presidential primaries, McCain said that he would support a system in which Iowa and New Hampshire would continue to hold their primaries first, but all other states would be divided into four groups. Every four years, the groups would vote in a different order.

Speaking more lightly, McCain added that the media loves watching New Hampshire primaries so much that they would never allow the parties to reform the system so that New Hampshire no longer voted first.

McCain said that he believes that the Republican Party ought to include people who have different beliefs regarding abortion.

If he had been the Republican nominee, McCain said he would have inserted a preamble in the party platform explaining that the party welcomes those who are pro-choice.

However, he personally opposes partial birth abortions, he said.

McCain said he recognizes that the religious right is part of the Republican coalition, but that they ought not to try to dominate the party nor force people who have different views to be excluded from the party.

According to McCain, third party candidates should be included in at least some of the presidential debates.

There is fertile ground for a third party right now, McCain said. The mechanics of getting on the ballot are so difficult, however, that only very few candidates would be willing to pursue nominations.

McCain added that it was foolish not to include Nader in the presidential debates this year.

McCain voiced his support for a bill currently pending in Congress, which would withhold federal money from libraries that do not install Internet-filtering software.

He criticized the failure of recent tobacco regulation to pass Congress, saying that it will result in a windfall for trial lawyers.

According to McCain, states' use of federal tobacco money has been a disgrace.

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