After keeping a low profile during the last week of August, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., returned to the campaign trail over the holiday weekend with several appearances in Iowa.
He stopped by two house parties in Gladbrook and Jewell on Sunday and then spent Labor Day in Neola. While there, he attended the dedication of a new veterans’ memorial and marched in the Neola Labor Day parade.
“As the nation marks the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, McCain will be back in Iowa for the launch of what he is calling the No Surrender Tour, highlighting his support for the war in advance of the Senate’s debate over progress in Iraq,” Shear wrote.
According to campaign spokesman Brian Rogers, the tour will feature more than 20 events in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. It will begin in Sioux City, Iowa on Sept. 11, the same day that Gen. David Petraeus testifies before Congress on Iraq, and will conclude Sept. 17 with a rally at the Citadel in Charleston, S.C. The senator will be traveling with veterans from the Vietnam War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of the events will take place in Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion halls.
“The purpose of the tour will be to rally public support for victory in Iraq and talking to the American people about the broader struggle against radical Islamic fundamentalism,” Rogers said in an e-mail.
In advance of the No Surrender Tour, the McCain campaign last week unveiled a 12-minute video describing McCain’s military service, including his experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. The video features Vietnam-era footage of the senator as well as interviews with McCain’s mother, Roberta, and wife, Cindy.
On Tuesday, McCain traveled to New Hampshire for two days of events. At a student forum at Concord High School, McCain was met by a group of teenagers skeptical about his candidacy, including one who questioned whether he was too old to be president, according to Philip Elliott of the Associated Press.
“If elected, you’d be older than Ronald Reagan, making you the oldest president. Do you ever worry you might die in office or get Alzheimer’s or some other disease that might affect your judgment?” the student reportedly asked.
“Thanks for the question, you little jerk,” the senator joked. “You’re drafted.”
McCain plans to continue his swing through New Hampshire with several more events on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday he is scheduled to be in Washington, D.C., for a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, where Marine Gen. James Jones will testify about Iraqi security forces. Afterward, McCain is expected to travel to California for three days of campaigns stops and fund raisers.