Tuesday, December 18, 2007

McCain and the Town Hall Meeting

I attended a McCain Town Hall meeting in Weare the other night. Senator McCain reiterated his support of New Hampshire's first in the nation status, while confessing to pandering. He explained that town hall meetings are a unique and important part of the election process, and that New Hampshire deserves its first in the nation status because it takes its responsibility seriously.

I have to admit hat I love the town halls, and wish that more people had the opportunity to see them. The media could learn a lesson about how to ask a question from these events. Health care, social security, Iraq, and the economy are frequent topics, and a wide range issues are often discussed in detail. People are much more interested in the issues than the politics of the race itself contrary to what the media portrays.

Part of the reason for my support of the Senator is that I've had the opportunity to hear him fully explain his positions on a variety of topics where he wasn't limited to just a sound bite. Two things particularly impress me; one is that he encourages people follow up on questions even when there they disagree with him. He routinely asks the questioner if they were satisfied with his answer and will respectfully debate just about any issue. The other aspect that I'm impressed by is simply the amount of 'stuff' that he knows. At one town hall he was asked about dairy prices in New Hampshire. He responded saying he knew that there was competition between the groups of Northeast and Midwest dairy farmers that often caused pricing problems. I sat there and thought, 'How does an Arizona Senator know about New Hampshire dairy prices?' I live less than ten miles from a New Hampshire dairy farm, and don't have the foggiest idea about dairy prices; I'm not even sure I summed up his answer properly. His depth of knowledge is particularly evident when it comes to foreign policy. I've seen several candidates speak and none of them can hold a candle to Senator McCain on foreign policy. He talks about Pakistan, Waziristan, the impact of Iran on Iraq, and the interconnection of countries in the Middle East; as well as challenges in China, Korea, and Russia. He simply knows more than any other candidate on these issues, and that is particularly evident at town hall meetings. For any undecided voter out there my request isn't that you vote the way I think you should, its that you go to these town hall meeting and let the candidates speak for themselves. Frankly, I'm confident Senator McCain will win New Hampshire if enough voters go see him in person.

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