Tuesday, April 1, 2008

John McCain Service to America Tour

MERIDIAN, MS—Sen. McCain today began the first leg of his "Service to America Tour" early on Monday morning as part of a strategic effort to bring to life the places and fabled stories that contributed to the development of an American hero.Anyone who has read Sen. McCain's books, especially Faith of My Fathers, will recognize the place names on the tour, starting, as he has this morning, in Meridian, MS where a Navy Airfield is named after his grandfather and where Sen. McCain himself served as a still-rebellious, but starting-to-grow-up flight instructor.

During his remarks this morning at the old Grand Opera House now branded the Mississippi State University Riley Center for Education and Performing Arts, Sen. McCain bridged his own upbringing with some general principles and public policies that indicate what kind of president he proposes to be.

William Kristol argues in his New York Times column today, "here's something for the McCain campaign to remember: Democracies don't always elect the man who has done the most for his country."

He’s right. People don't always vote for candidates because of their resume. But that's not the proposition Sen. McCain is making to the American people. The key in any campaign is to build a connection with people that instills in them an abiding trust, a sense that while you may not always agree with him, you trust his intentions and his judgment. Frankly, there may never have been a candidate for president whose biography itself so fills people with the confidence they need to feel in a leader.Well, okay—George Washington's biography was pretty compelling. But he didn't really run for the presidency so much as he had the presidency bestowed on him. Any anyway, you get my point.

The fact is, people have a high level of confidence that a man such as John McCain because they know that someone who has faced the fire in as many ways as he has is prepared to lead the free world on day one.ServiceTo illustrate the kind of service Sen. McCain is talking about during his "Service to America" tour, the senator visited Hope Village for Children in Meridian, which was founded in 2000 by actress Sela Ward. The home is a place for kids who have been removed from their primary caregiver's custody to grow and learn. Here are some snaps of Sen. McCain’s stop at Hope Village.

Lex!Meet Lex, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret). Lex was Marine Cpl. Dustin Jerome Lee's loyal companion until Cpl. Lee was killed by an IED in Iraq. Lex then went to live with Cpl. Lee’s family, who lives in Mississippi. Cpl. Lee's mother Rachel Lee brought Lex to meet Sen. McCain today in Meridian.They even rode on the Straight Talk Express (sorry, no snaps of the pooch on the bus).

Read more about Lex and Cpl. Dustin Jerome Lee here, but get a tissue because it's pretty moving.

Patrick Hynes is the founder and proprietor of Ankle Biting Pundits, which was formerly known as Crush Kerry. Patrick lives in New Hampshire with his wife Michelle, daughter Rose, and their unborn daughter Grace.A long time Republican operative and consultant, Patrick has helped hundreds of Republicans win public office. National Journal described Patrick as “a hack with a pretty good record of electing Republicans.”

The American Conservative called Patrick, “an expert on evangelical voting patterns.” And Campaigns & Elections named Patrick a “Rising Star in American Politics.”Patrick is the author of the book In Defense of the Religious Right (Nelson Current). He is a regular contributor to the American Spectator, Town Hall, TCS Daily, and others. Patrick also blogs at the Channel Changer.Patrick is a regular guest on several talk radio shows, including Allman & Smash in the Morning in St. Louis. He has been a guest on Fox News Channel’s Hannity & Colmes, ABC World News Tonight, Good Morning America, CNN Talk Back Live, and even E!.

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