John McCain visits Chicago

May 19, 2008 5:50:16 PM PDT
Senator John McCain made a campaign stop in Chicago Monday. He blasted Senator Barack Obama on his home turf. McCain accused Obama of using bad judgment in comments about Iran.

This is just a preview of what we'll probably see this fall from the two candidates expected to face off in the presidential election. McCain was referring to comments Obama made on Sunday that Iran does not pose the same threat to the United States as the Soviet Union a generation ago.

A business-friendly crowd greeted the presumptive Republican nominee for president at the National Restaurant Association convention being held at McCormick Place. They were listening for messages from Senator McCain that indicated his understanding of the food industry. And they got those -- but only after the Arizona senator tried to beat up on Barack Obama.

Protestors wearing aprons laid in wait for John McCain Monday morning -- he applauded how they exercised their right to free speech then launched into his own by criticizing the Illinois senator for being willing to talk to America's enemies -- including Iran

"Such a statement betrays the depth of Senator Obama's inexperience and reckless judgment," said Sen. John McCain, (R) presidential candidate.

McCain told the crowd he understood the challenge of high gas prices, and how they were part of the skyrocketing costs faced by these folks, the people who do everything in the food service business.

New Jersey restaurant consultant David Geyar liked what he heard-- but not from the protesters.

"Totally ridiculous. I mean, if you are going to be a protester, be a protester, where you can be effective, don't come to a place where you are going to be booed out by the audience," said Geyar.

McCain then headed out to the Chicago Board of Trade for a noon-hour talk.

Meanwhile, in Montana, the Obama campaign heard exactly what was going on in Chicago and the candidate hit back.

"Here's the truth. The Soviet Union had thousands of nuclear weapons, and Iran doesn't have a single one. But when the world was on the brink of nuclear holocaust, Kennedy talked to Khrushchev and he got those missiles out of Cuba. Why shouldn't we have the same courage or confidence to talk to our enemies?" said Sen. Barack Obama, (D) presidential candidate.

Many in the Chicago crowd, while admiring Obama, were clear they're listening to a business-friendly Republican message -- especially in light of word that Chicago has America's most expensive gasoline now. And they were hoping that the rapid response of the campaign trail will lead to substantive debate during the general election campaign.

"I would like to see the race focus on issues and away from who people know, and who they have been associated with, the missteps. I'd like to talk about the things on people's minds like the economy, the war and how people are living," said Scott Goldman from New York.

McCain got a standing ovation from the National Restaurant Association crowd when the protesters were gone. And he started with a line that we'll likely hear more of -- that Illinois should be happy with their junior senator -- and that McCain was going to do what everything he can to ensure Obama finishes his first term in the Senate.


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