The publishers of GraniteGrok – go to their site to learn the origin of the name – were good enough to provide a welcome, detailed account of Senator McCain’s town meeting in Wolfesboro, NH on Friday night, while all of his rivals but Rudy were stumping in Ames, Iowa. Here are selected excerpts; The Tower would strongly recommend going to the hyperlink below and reading the entire posts, which also includes pictures, audio links, and videos. They had an original post and an addendum, which The Tower will address in another post.

Blogging at McCain’s – the Wright Museum
Well, back to McCain’s again for last night’s Town Meeting event. This time, the it was at the Wright Museum in Wolfeboro NH. The Wright is dedicated to preserving the memory of the time during WWII and in honoring those of the Greatest Generation. Located in the big amphitheater, the crowd is up front surrounded by a tracked ack-ack, a tracked jeep type of vehicle, and a Sherman tank. The area is ringed by a balcony and the place is packed! Heck, it was packed a half hour ago and with standing room only. I joked with Jill that she should have a drawing and the winner gets to sit on the muzzle of the tank (only kidding)!…

A somewhat older crowd, it still is an impressive turnout, given that this is the dead of summer, it is gorgeous out there (bright sun, dew points in the 50’s, and temps in the low 70s). This is Wolfeboro – its claim to fame is that it is the oldest resort / vacation area in the US – all the way back to the 1700s people have been seeking this quaint New England town (heck, the new President of France, Sarkozy, is spending a couple of weeks here)….

As Senator McCain strode in, there was a standing “O” to the music of “Johnny Be Good”. The audience started to clap in time to the music (which sounded speeded up a tad). Played the entire song and people stayed right up…

When everyone sat down, he looked good and full of energy.

Note: Considering the long day he had already had, I was surprised. Reflecting back on the Franklin event and watching him during the rest of the evening, it is clear that he is in his element in this type of setting. It seemed that he became more and more energized as the event progressed. I may sound like a broken record, but he does relish getting questions from the audience, looking for that back and forth between him and the questioner. There were a couple of “doozies” that I believe were obvious setups, but even those he answered honestly. He wants to make sure that the attendees that are chosen get as much of a complete answer as is possible in that setting and, admittedly, in that style of event.

THAT is the McCain advantage. I’ve personally seen others, and watched others on TV, and I don’t think anyone can match his intensity in trying to talk with the person asking the question. One may not agree with his answers or his stances, but he, at that moment, makes it seems as the only important person in the room at that moment in time is YOU…and not him…

Senator mentions the South Carolina news (moving up their date) – NH has to be first, as the people here understand what is at stake. “You will be going to other town meetings that will be more boring than mine.” He does not believe that the front loading is good for America. He wants the Iowa caucus, the NH primary, and then the SC. If he is President, he will ensure it stays first. “Pandering is now over.”

Chertoff – news – more enforcement of employers. People want existing laws enforced. This will be the SS matching, that an employer has to fire an employee if the SS numbers do not match up (as in the case of illegal immigrants) and the non-compliance letter is sent. If the employer does not take action, big fine or prosecution will result. People were right – we have to enforce our present laws. More efforts will now be done to enforce it….

Note: I have to admit, I’m changing my mind about the Senator on this. To be honest, I have used the word seething and chuckleheads when thinking and posting about the governing elite in DC who attempted to pass the previous bill – I was NOT a happy camper! Yet, remember what has been said before – McCain does not blow in the wind when it comes to issues. He believes in what he believes in even at the expense of alienating others. And I was one that was deeply angered at his stance on illegal immigration and the way to go about solving it (for the Nth time).

Has he changed because of political expediency? Watching him closely last night, I would say no. For that to have been true, he would have had to change much earlier in the process so as to minimize the political damage to his Presidential campaign. Tonight, I saw a man, a very powerful man, humbled by acknowledging that what he had been pitching was not what the people wanted. He even fought against at that time! But now, with the battle over that bill is over, he has reflected over what the people wanted and has come to grips that he was wrong. An “all in one” package may be what he wants, but is not what the American people want.

It may have been a bitter pill, but he swallowed it and his pride and is now acknowledging that the right thing to do is to secure the border. Why? While securing the border is of utmost importance to many (very much including myself), it is a way to try to EARN back the respect and confidence of the American people towards Congress (something that he admits is quite bruised at the moment).

I give him kudoes to doing this – given the political capital spent, to admit one is wrong takes a big man. To turn it around and do and support what he didn’t want to do at first takes a bigger one.

He goes on to talk about the the Republicans lost – the deserted Republican principles by overspending and making big government instead of smaller government. More examples….but boy, is he is intense mode. Peppered the intro with small jokes, keeping the audience engaged. The message is that we have to stop the spending. We can use ridicule help that process – of the $50 billion highway bill – $2 billion went to porkbarrel projects like the $233 million Bridge to Nowhere. Take the $2 billion and apply that right in the first place, then let the pols say they need more taxes.
Iraq – we have sacrificed so much. War was mismanaged (Rumsfeld will go down as one of the worst Sec Def of all time). The strategy we have now should have started way back. The surge has only been in place a short time and it is succeeding. The strategy was “kill and leave”. Now, it is “kill and stay”. This allows the political process to start. Attacks are way down and the Sunnis are joining.

Middle of Dec (?) Petraeus will be back. The great debate in Congress will start between those that want to win and those that want to declare defeat. McCain said that he will sacrifice his campaign on behalf of the war. The threat of radical Islamism is the biggest that we and our children will have faced since the Nazis. Repeated the Navy Seal Purple Heart ceremony in Bethesda Naval Mark Roberts (Robins?). “We can win this fight.”…

Name 5 Changes that you would do different from current administration?

“National security – Islamic radicalism”; “Global warming”; “Close Guantanamo”; “We will never torture another prisoner”; “Try to be humble”.

You can read the text of the original story here. You can visit The Tower by clicking http://tower.campaignia.org. You can contact The Tower at tower@campaignia.org. There will be a follow-up post with GraniteGrok’s addendum.

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