Sen. John McCain paces around the green room before his appearance on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" in New York Tuesday evening, April 24, 2007. McCain will officially announce his candidacy for President of the United States on Wednesday in New Hampshire.(AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
PORTSMOUTH — Presidential contender Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the official relaunch of his candidacy Wednesday in Portsmouth will be the equivalent of "starting over."
McCain hopes to revive his campaign — slowed by lagging fund-raising and sagging public opinion polls — by a series of announcement stops in Portsmouth and Manchester before heading to early contest states such as Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada.
McCain said he chose to start his national tour in the Granite State because its voters "take their responsibilities seriously."
It was the third major policy address McCain has made in the past two weeks. He previously gave speeches about his Iraq war policy in Virginia and the economy in Tennessee.
"I'm going to lay out my vision and set out the priorities," McCain said. "I will let voters know how I will conduct myself" as president.
McCain spent much of his campaign warning the country about the serious challenges the nation faces. Despite public opposition to the war in Iraq war, McCain believes withdrawing prematurely would be a major disaster.
Iraq "will descend into chaos and genocide," McCain said, if America does not succeed in stabilizing the country and allowing the elected government to take hold.
He has increasingly sharpened his attacks on the Democrat-controlled Congress, accusing Democrats of "trying to be commanders on the ground" and using the war for political advantage.
Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, said McCain's support for the war matches that of most Republicans who support the current "surge" strategy and believe victory in Iraq is still possible.
Rep. Nancy Stiles, R-Hampton, supported McCain's candidacy in 2000 and believes it's even more important this time.
"It's very much about leadership," said Stiles, who will attend Wednesday's event and praises McCain for addressing issues such as health care and immigration.
"He understands war," she said. "He recognizes the need to protect our shores and to deal with the rest of the world."
What: Presidential candidate Sen. John McCain kicks off his annoucement tour with an appearance in Portsmouth.
Where: Prescott Park, public forum area, 105 Marcy Street.
Contact: Call 603-703-3499 or email NHRSVP@McCain08hq.com