CHICAGO — Senator John McCain addressed attendees of the National Restaurant Association's 89th annual Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show today in a campaign stop. McCain began by blasting Senator Barack Obama for his remarks yesterday, in which Obama referred to the national security threat posed by Iran as "tiny." After a brief interruption from a group of protesters who staged a walk-out, Sen. McCain focused his remarks on the struggling American economy.
McCain contended that the economic debate between Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton was decided "before the first primary vote was cast," with both candidates seeking a rise in taxes, more regulation of business and to spend more taxpayer money in Washington. "That's their idea of change," McCain said, "but it sounds familiar to me."
The senator proposed significant tax reform, a reduction in the corporate tax rate and federal aid to workers who have been displaced due to outsourcing as ways in which he would give aid to the restaurant industry as president. McCain offered praise to the industry, which he says has the potential to create 2 million new jobs over the next decade if the economy is strong. "We need to invest in our own country and our workers," he said. "You do that."
McCain also vowed to veto any bill that continues to give millions in subsidies to corporate farms and neglects to offer relief to small farmers in rural areas, a practice for which he scolded both parties.
McCain also brought Senator Joe Leiberman as his guest, and referred to him as a friend and ally. "Our relationship far exceeds friendship," he declared. "It's what Americans want to see in Washington." His statement comes as speculation mounts that he's considering Lieberman, who shared the Democratic ticket with Al Gore in 2000, as a potential running mate.
Today, the executive editor of Bloomberg.com's Washington bureau published a column in which he said it was a "good hunch" that Lieberman is McCain's personal preference for the position.