McCain: 'The Party of Abraham Lincoln is an Inclusionary Party'Aired February 23, 2000 - 12:07 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FRANK SESNO, CNN ANCHOR: We have a developing story we told you we'd take you to, and that is a town hall meeting by John McCain. As you know, he won those two critical primaries, Michigan and Arizona, last night, so we want to drop in and hear what he's saying this day after. Let's listen.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We could have been at minus two. We could have been at minus two when Ralph and Karen decided to sign on, so I thank you Ralph and for your many years of service as secretary of state, this wonderful state of Washington.
I'm glad to be here in the inland empire, and I want to tell you, obviously Cindy and I are feeling pretty good this morning.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
I have -- I've never been one to try to connect to local popularity or pander to local interests. I mean, I've never been one of those, but I've got to tell you that on the plane ride up from Phoenix today I couldn't help but think about the Gonzaga basketball team, which...
... which, when they were in the beginning of the first of the 64 no one ever thought they were going to get to the final eight, right? OK? Nobody thought that last year Gonzaga was going to put on the incredible display that they did. Well, I'll just relate myself to the Gonzaga basketball team, if that's OK, because...
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
... Because frankly, they prove there is more to winning than a big name, and they prove that there's more to winning than having all of the money and all of the equipment that's necessary. They proved that you can win with the kind of spirit that Gonzaga's basketball team has.
And father, thank you very much for your hospitality. Would you please give my very best regards to Father -- President Spitzer, thank you, and thank you for your hospitality. Cindy's already been introduced. Phil did not mention we have four children: Meghan, 15; Jack, 13; Jimmy, 11; and Bridget, eight. And Phil didn't finish the other part of the story. Yes, we sold the movie rights to that book and Sam Donaldson asked me who's going to play me, and I said, I want Tom Cruise. My kids want Danny DeVito. So, we're going to find out who that -- who that is.
I want to just mention briefly to you the -- we won last night in an overwhelming and phenomenal victory that, according to many observers, have not been seen in a long time. The most exhilarating part of that victory was the following: 28 percent of the people who came out to vote for the first time, for the first time, 28 percent of those who voted came out for the first time, and most of them were young people that are in this room today. That's what this campaign's all about. That's what this campaign has been about from the beginning.
To engage young Americans, to involve young Americans and eventually to inspire a generation of young Americans to commit themselves to causes greater than their self interest. That is what this campaign has been about in the beginning. And I'm going to talk a little bit about that, but I can't do it until I get the government out of the hands of the special interests and the big money people so that you're represented again. This campaign is about inspiring young people, but it's also about getting the government back to the people of this country, who deserve it.
By the way, I see several people here who -- and Pat, thank you very much. You are as beautiful today as you were on the day we went on that remarkable flight, and I thank you very much for your service to our country. I thank you very much.
I don't want to talk -- I don't want to talk too long because the purpose of this town hall meeting is for you to give me your questions, your comments and occasional insults, depending on your mood.
The town hall meeting was the reason why -- one of the major reasons; the town hall meeting and the message was why we won a great victory in the state of New Hampshire. New Hampshire, they like to examine the candidates. A guy came up to me and said, Senator McCain, this is the fifth town hall meeting of yours I've attended. I said, my goodness, that's ample testimony to my inability to close the deal.
(LAUGHTER) My favorite and dear friend Morris Udall told a joke I've told thousands of times, but I always give him credit. When he ran for president of the United States in 1976 he walked into a barber shop in Manchester, New Hampshire, and said, hi, I'm Morris Udall from Arizona and I'm running for president of the United States, and the barber said, yes, we were just laughing about that this morning.
But the great thing about this victory yesterday was we approved, I hope, to my Republican friends and, I believe, to most Americans that we can reassemble a coalition, a coalition that reaches out across party lines, preserving our core conservative Republican principles and yet attracting to our banner people who are independents, people who are Democrats, Libertarians, vegetarians. We want them all, we want them all, because the party of Abraham Lincoln, my friends, the party of Abraham Lincoln is an inclusionary party. The party of Abraham Lincoln is a party of addition and not division. The party of Abraham Lincoln is the one that says, we know that America is the noblest experiment in the history of the world and now we want everyone to take part in it, and that means that everyone can come on board this train, because we're leaving the station, my friends, and it's remarkable and I can't tell you how happy I am today.
Now, I noticed that some great, very smart Americans are...
SESNO: John McCain preparing to take some questions from the crowd. We wanted to bring you some of his remarks, some of his first reaction after his victory last night. Of course, he had his victory speech last evening, but what he's saying today, he's reaching out to his Republican friends, as he refers to them, saying that we can assemble a coalition -- that to address some of the fears -- a conservative coalition, he said -- that to assuage some of the fears as expressed by others that John McCain's victories are being won on the shoulders of independents and Democrats, not on the shoulders of Republicans. George W. Bush won overwhelmingly among the Republican voters in Michigan, in particular. Now, John McCain will continue his campaign day.
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