Sen. John McCain is in the midst of the biggest political battle of his life and the battlefield is right here in Missouri.
McCain made stops in St. Charles and Columbia before stopping in Belton Monday afternoon to stake his claim to Missouri.
Missouri in recent history has been a red state, but has begun to show more blue in the last four years. Most polls have the race in Missouri neck and neck heading down to the wire.
Since last week’s final debate, Joe the Plumber has become a central figure in McCain’s campaign stump and continued to be in Belton.
“He’s the only person to ever get a real answer from Sen. Obama about his plans for this country,” McCain told about 6,000 supporters at the rally on Monday.
McCain said he is fighting for small business owners, like Joe, while his opponent’s campaign levies unwarranted attacks against Joe.
“Joe didn’t ask for Sen. Obama to come to his house and he sure didn’t ask to be famous, and he certainly didn’t ask for the political attacks from the Obama campaign,” McCain said. “I say ‘shame on them’ for that. We need to support small businesses, not attack them.”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham joined McCain on stage and echoed his sentiments.
“We learned more about Sen. Obama in that exchange than we learned in any other time during this campaign,” Graham said.
McCain went on to say that 84 percent of American workers are employed by a small business and that Sen. Barack Obama voted 94 times to raise taxes. McCain also attacked a comment made by Democratic nominee Joe Biden for a comment he made about a global issue that will arise after the new president is elected. McCain said America doesn’t need inexperience when that time comes.
“The next President won’t have time to get used to the office,” McCain said.
Former Missouri Sen. John Danforth also joined McCain on stage. Danforth said never before has an American President wanted to take money from taxpayers and give it to those who don’t pay taxes. Danforth compared McCain to Teddy Roosevelt. Danforth said the worst thing to do to an economy is to raise taxes and have more regulation and he says that is what Obama wants to do. He also said that McCain is battling voter fraud as well.
“The economy is in a ditch and this guy is coming after us with a couple of back hoes,” Danforth said. “This is a campaign between John McCain and ACORN. Who do you think is going to win?”
Like the Obama campaign, McCain has also reached across state lines for support. Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback told supporters they have to make a difference.
“You’re the ones who can get it done,” Brownback said. “Missouri is a swing state. You can get it done and we can get it done.”
Some pundits have said recently that a state like Missouri should have been wrapped up a long time ago. Some say the party is divided.
Jacob Turk is a Republican running for Congress against Kansas City Democrat Emanuel Cleaver. Turk said he believes all of Washington needs a shake up.
“We need to bring a voice of the people there,” Turk said as he shook hands with supporters waiting in line for the McCain event. “Right now, we have 535 senators and representatives for special interest groups. We can see by this latest economic debacle mandated by Congress what happens when all they do is take special interest money and don’t listen to us, the folks.
“That’s the difference in someone who will actually listen to us and not the lobbyists,” he added.
Turk said even though McCain voted for the bailout he still sees him as the best candidate.
“I was very disappointed that Sen. McCain voted for that,” he said. “I tell everybody on the issues, you stand closer to one candidate than the other. I stand closer to McCain on the issues than I do Obama.”
Turk said while he is knocking on doors he hears the economy as the number one issue, but he also thinks McCain’s experience with global issues will serve America the best.
“McCain sees the war on terror as a war and realizes that people want to attack us and Sen. Obama seems to be going back to the days of treating it as law enforcement.”
A spokesperson for the Ray County Republicans did not respond.
Photo: Sen. John McCain, center, brought some heavy Washington hitters with him to his campaign stop in Belton yesterday. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, left, and former Missouri Sen. John Danforth shared a laugh with McCain. Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback and Missouri gubernatorial candidate Congressman Kenny Hulshof also were in attendance. (Photo by Dennis Sharkey/The Daily News)