What they're saying: John McCain's trip to Iowa and South Carolina

Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade Says McCain Has Mojo, Confidence And Swagger. FOX NEWS’ BRIAN KILMEADE: "He seemed to have gotten..." FOX NEWS’ GRETCHEN CARLSON: "Mojo you called it." KILMEADE: "I called it mojo. He seems have gotten his confidence back. He seems to have that swagger back." (Fox News’ "Fox And Friends," 2/19/07)

The [Columbia, SC] State’s Wayne Washington: "With the restaurant jammed, McCain stood on a chair to see above the crowd, which pressed in close to get a picture of the Vietnam War veteran who is making his second run for the White House." (Wayne Washington, "McCain Defends War In Spartanburg Visit," The [Columbia, SC] State, 2/19/07)

The Washington Post’s Dan Balz: "[A]s he campaigned across Iowa this weekend, there were flashes of the old McCain. During town hall meetings in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Davenport, he staunchly defended his position on the war, decried a Republican Party that he said has lost its way and punctuated question-and-answer sessions with his particular brand of humor." (Dan Balz, "In Limbo In Washington, McCain Comes Alive In Iowa," The Washington Post, 2/19/07)

    Balz: "‘I had my glass of ethanol this morning, and I’m feeling good,’ [McCain] said to ripples of laughter as he delivered his opening remarks to a jampacked audience in a Des Moines hotel ballroom." (Dan Balz, "In Limbo In Washington, McCain Comes Alive In Iowa," The Washington Post, 2/19/07)

    Balz: "When a man said he was serving in the Marines in Vietnam around the time McCain was being held in a North Vietnamese prison camp, the senator interjected, ‘Why didn’t you come get me?’ As the audience broke into laughter, the man responded, ‘Marines always love to rescue the Navy when they get the chance.’ ‘That’s what you get for being a smart [expletive],’ McCain said of being turned into the butt of the joke." (Dan Balz, "In Limbo In Washington, McCain Comes Alive In Iowa," The Washington Post, 2/19/07)

    Balz: "A young man in Davenport said pointedly: ‘You ditched Iowa in 2000. Why should we support you?’ The candidate responded, to peals of laughter: ‘You know, we should never let these young punks in. No respect. You remind me of my own kids.’" (Dan Balz, "In Limbo In Washington, McCain Comes Alive In Iowa," The Washington Post, 2/19/07)

Des Moines Town Hall Attendee: "His answers were really, really good. I think Senator McCain would be a super candidate for a president." (KCCI Des Moines Website, www.kcci.com, 2/18/07)

WBHF Davenport’s Cayce Mallon: "As people leave the room, many crowd around McCain trying to get a picture or autograph, saying the senator has their vote for president in 2008." (WBHF Quad Cities Website, www.whbf.com, 2/18/07)

    Davenport Town Hall Attendee Bill Griggs Of Clinton, IA: "The man came across as a very mature statesman, a man who’s not afraid to help us as a nation sit down and talk about our problems and come up with some conclusions." (WBHF Quad Cities Website, www.whbf.com, 2/18/07)

WQAD Davenport’s Pam Cunningham: "In this room, many were satisfied." (WQAD Davenport Website, www.wqad.com, 2/18/07)

     Davenport Town Hall Attendee Lydia Wallin Of Bettendorf, IA Liked What She Heard About Sen. McCain’s Position On Health Care. “Lydia Wallin of Bettendorf says, ‘Healthcare is huge and there were a lot of questions about it so I think I'm not the only one who has healthcare as an issue. I have a retired mother and retired grandparents and they have issues about not being able to buy their medicine.’ Wallin liked what she heard tonight from McCain... (WQAD Davenport Website, www.wqad.com, 2/18/07)

WOI Des Moines’ Kristen Cullen: "He reaffirmed his position as a fiscal conservative and pro-life advocate. ... Although Iraq was the focus, McCain did touch upon other issues, including his commitment to energy independence and securing US borders." (WOI Des Moines Website, www.myabc5.com, 2/18/07)

    Des Moines Town Hall Attendee: "Very straight forward. I don’t think there’s any baloney in the whole thing. Everything is right on target and he says exactly what he thinks." (WOI Des Moines Website, www.myabc5.com, 2/18/07)

    Des Moines Town Hall Attendee: "I admire him for just being a leader even when it may not be popular ..." (WOI Des Moines Website, www.myabc5.com, 2/18/07)

Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson: "A crowd of over 350 Iowa Republican activists crowded into a downtown Des Moines conference room to see McCain." (O. Kay Henderson, "McCain Says Corruption, Proligate [Sic] Spending -- Not Iraq -- Doomed GOP In ‘06," Radio Iowa, 2/17/07)

The [Cedar Rapids, IA] Gazette’s James Q. Lynch: "McCain, dressed in a brown bomber jacket, v-necked sweater and open-collar shirt, kept his presentation informal and his audience laughing with self-deprecating humor as well as a weather update from Arizona where the temperature was 72 degrees." (James Q. Lynch, "McCain Skips D.C. For C.R.," The [Cedar Rapids, IA] Gazette, 2/17/07)

"[I]t's Not McCain's Understanding Of World Affairs That Impressed Six-Year Navy Veteran John Kilpatrick. He Regards The Senator, A Former Navy Fighter Pilot And Prisoner Of War, As An ‘Absolute Hero.’" (Neal Sauerberg, "McCain Lays Into War Critics," [University Of Iowa] Daily Iowan, 2/19/07)

Iowa Krusty Konservative Blog: "McCain’s visit to Iowa was his first as a presidential kandidate, and by all accounts his trip was a success. ... The Iowa McCain kampaign was able to flex some of its organizational strength on Saturday. I think getting well over 1000 people to turn out to events on a Saturday in February is impressive." (Iowa Krusty Konservative Blog, "McCain Visit Recap," www.krustykonservative.blogspot.com, 2/19/07)

    Krusty Konservative Blog: "It was immediately apparent that this event was going to be very, very different from a kontrolled, scripted event that we have all become accustomed to. McCain fielded questions ranging from stem cell research, to immigration, to Medicare, nuclear energy, and renewable fuels. In response to every question, he gave his answer, and acknowledged that some might disagree with him, and then did something amazing … he looked at the questioner and asked them their response to his answer. ‘What do you think?’ ‘Do you agree?’ I thought it was refreshing not to hear some pabulum response to a planted question." (Iowa Krusty Konservative Blog, "McCain Visit Recap," www.krustykonservative.blogspot.com, 2/19/07)

Debbie Burner, Of Rock Island, IA: "I think we definitely need a change in this country, and I think McCain has the insight and strong points, from all he's been through in the military and in his career ... I think he can turn this country around." (Ruth Longoria, "McCain Promises To Spend Time In Iowa," Quad Cities Online, 2/18/07)

The [Columbia, SC] State’s Wayne Washington: "Hundreds crowded into the Sugar ‘N Spice ice cream and hot dog shop to hear the Arizona senator, a front-runner for his party’s presidential nomination, blast wasteful spending and embrace the increasingly unpopular war in Iraq as a crucial struggle against terrorists." (Wayne Washington, "McCain Defends War In Spartanburg Visit," The [Columbia, SC] State, 2/19/07)

    Washington: "About 1,500 people, most of them teens, had gathered at the auditorium for a religious and abstinence rally, and McCain made it there just as a Christian rap group finished a loud, spirited performance. ‘I’m known for straight talk,’ McCain quipped. ‘I don’t like that music.’ The audience laughed, and then McCain told the teens to stand fast for what is right, even when doing so is difficult." (Wayne Washington, "McCain Defends War In Spartanburg Visit," The [Columbia, SC] State, 2/19/07)

Spartanburg [SC] Herald-Journal’s Robert W. Dalton: "Republican presidential hopeful John McCain stirred the conservative base and slammed the hip-hop nation during campaign stops in Spartanburg on Sunday." (Robert W. Dalton, "McCain Stresses Conservative Issues," Spartanburg [SC] Herald-Journal, 2/19/07)

    Dalton: "McCain’s speech to an overflow crowd of about 800 that showed up at Sugar ‘n Spice was straight out of the conservative playbook. He touched on the need to stem illegal immigration and secure the country’s borders; to appoint conservative judges; to make President Bush’s tax cuts permanent; and to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that established a woman’s right to have an abortion." (Robert W. Dalton, "McCain Stresses Conservative Issues," Spartanburg [SC] Herald-Journal, 2/19/07)

Ron Stikeleather, Korean War Veteran From Boiling Springs, SC: "That’s exactly what I wanted to hear ... I don’t think any of the other candidates have the military experience to face down other nations." (Robert W. Dalton, "McCain Stresses Conservative Issues," Spartanburg [SC] Herald-Journal, 2/19/07)




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