McCain heckled by Iraq war protesters
DENVER – Republican John McCain tried Tuesday to convince voters a McCain presidency would not amount to four more years of President George W. Bush, but he ran smack into hecklers bent on tying him to Bush’s unpopular war in Iraq.
“America must be a good citizen of the world, leading the way to address the danger of global warming and preserve our environment, strengthening existing international institutions and helping to build new ones,” McCain told an audience at the University of Denver.
The Arizona senator had barely uttered those words, charting a course away from Bush, when he was interrupted by hecklers chanting “Endless War! Endless War!”
The hecklers were shouted down by a larger crowd chanting “John McCain! John McCain!”
McCain no sooner started his speech again — announcing he would seek to reduce global nuclear stockpiles — when he was interrupted once more by anti-war protesters.
“What about Iraq? What about Iraq?” one shouted. Another unfurled a banner that said, “Iraq vets against the war.”
When the larger crowd shouted down the protesters again, McCain quipped, “This may turn into a longer speech than you had anticipated.”
“And by the way, I will never surrender in Iraq, my friends. I will never surrender in Iraq,” he added emphatically to applause and laughter. “Our American troops will come home with victory and with honor.”
McCain, 71, also took the opportunity to emphasize youth.
“For much of our history, the world considered the United States a young country. Today, we are the world’s oldest constitutional democracy, yet we remain a young nation. We still possess the attributes of youth — spirit, energy, vitality, and creativity. America will always be young as long as we are looking forward, and leading, to a better world,” he said.
Photo credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking (Top: McCain at Denver rally; bottom: protesters unfurl banner)