Mower Republican likes McCain’s message
By Matthew Stolle
ST. PAUL — Sen. John McCain accepted the Republican Party’s nomination for president on Thursday, vowing to change Washington’s partisan culture and create a government more responsive to the needs of the people.
"These are tough times for many of you. You’re worried about keeping your job or finding a new one, and are struggling to put food on the table and stay in your home. All you ever asked of government is to stand on your side, not in your way. That’s just what I intend to do: Stand on your side and fight for your future," McCain said.
McCain delivered his speech on the final day of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul at the Xcel Energy Center, signaling the start of a two-month general campaign for the presidency. He and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin started today in Cedarburg, Wis. On the Democratic ticket are Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Joe Biden.
Clarence Klenke of Racine, chairman of the Mower County Republicans, watched McCain’s speech at home.
"I thought it was good," said Klenke.
And among convention goers, it seemed to serve its purpose.
"The party is unified behind the ticket. Everyone is excited and ready to go," said state Rep. Randy Demmer, a national delegate from Hayfield.
During an hourlong speech that was occasionally disrupted by protesters, McCain promised to keep taxes low and limit government spending. He vowed to reinvent government programs for the unemployed and to shake up the bureaucracies of failed public schools.
He pledged to launch an ambitious energy program focused on developing domestic oil reserves, building more nuclear plants and lessening America’s reliance on foreign oil.
McCain also suggested that he would govern as a pragmatist, seeking ideas and political allies wherever he could find them, regardless of political affiliation.
Klenke said McCain’s ability to work with all parties makes him an appealing and more qualified candidate than Barack Obama.
"He’s more moderate," said Klenke. "He can probably pull people in, because he works with both sides. He has a broader view of what’s going on than Obama."
He talked extensively about his five years as a POW in Vietnam, an experience that he said created a love of country and a passion within him to serve it "for as long as I draw breath."
Minnesota Senate Minority Leader Dave Senjem of Rochester called McCain’s speech "passionate" and "heartfelt."
"I think there was a lot of personal emotion in it," Senjem said. "I heard within it a deep pledge to the American people of his desire to work on a bipartisan basis to put this country back together again."
Staff writer Karen Colbenson provided reporting for this story.