No Senator McCain this week (and it’s been a little while since the last conference call). Instead, Jill Hazelbaker and Steve Schmidt laid out McCain’s upcoming “Service to America” tour, or as Patrick Hynes noted, “what we’re internally calling the bio tour.”
The tour will begin at McCain field, named for the family in Mississippi. McCain will note in a speech there that a distant ancestor served on George Washington’s staff, and “it seems that my ancestors served in every conflict this country has fought.” One of the themes in that speech will be how government should support parents, and how it should help, not complicate, how parents pass on their values to their children.
The next stop is Alexandria, Va., to Episcopal High School, where McCain will talk about teachers that inspired him.
The third stop is the U.S. Naval Academy, where a McCain event near the Academy will trace “the journey from a young man who was more interested in breaking ranks than rising through the ranks” to a man who
The final stop will be Pensacola, Florida where McCain attended flight training school.
“What you’ll see is Senator McCain connecting his past to the present and to the future,” Schmidt said, promising “stories that have not been told before.”
The strategists took some questions.
Schmidt said that recent events on the campaign trail had provided “very vivid examples of the detachment between reality and [Senator Obama’s] rhetoric. “Day after day he comes forward with misleading attacks, many of them character based.” A query from Hugh Hewitt suggested the questioner had heard that McCain may call for an expansion of navy at one of his stops next week. Schmidt said to sit tight and wait for the events next week.
Probably the best line of the call came in response to a question about Rep. Heath Shuler’s claim that John McCain was urging Republicans to oppose his legislation to enhance immigration enforcement. (The Standard’s Brian Faughnan made a persuasive case for skepticism of this charge.)
Schmidt’s response: “Heath Shuler’s allegations are false. I wonder if Shuler had one too many encounters with a linebacker in his previous line of work.” (Shuler was a pretty unsuccessful NFL quarterback.)
Ed Morrisey asks about McCain’s choice of Latino outreach adviser, Juan Hernandez; Schmidt insists that despite what any supporter may have said in the past, everyone on the campaign knows that the buck stops with McCain, and what McCain’s word on immigration policy is the final one.
Ed noted that earlier in the call, Schmidt had made a reference to Obama’s connections with General Tony McPeak, who had said the obstacle to peace in the Middle East could be found in “New York City. Miami. We have a large vote – vote, here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it.”
Schmidt said McPeak’s comments and Wright’s comments will be evaluated by the American people. “We’re running against Barack Obama, not Barack Obama’s advisers.”
Jen Rubin asked about an Obama comment that he was only going to raise taxes on those making more than $75,000 a year.
“When you hear that, it should send chills down the spine of every American voter. Obama believes the rich are people who make more than $75,000 a year… He is a wonderfully gifted speaker. His rhetoric may sound soothing, but it becomes more disturbing as you understand what his policies entail. Americans who make $75,000 a year do not see themselves as rich.”