Asked about West Virginia, McCain pointed to his pledge to spend $2 billion a year on clean coal technology if elected president. He also used the opportunity to criticize Obama, who once said that people in the small towns of Pennsylvania and elsewhere cling to guns and religion because of their frustration over a lack of jobs.
“I also believe that areas of West Virginia, like Pennsylvania people, praise their religion and their Second Amendment because of their fundamental beliefs and their faith in America, not because they are embittered by their economic conditions,” McCain said.
Attempts to reach the Obama campaign for this story were unsuccessful.
The main reason for McCain’s short visit to West Virginia was to tout his economic plan, which the campaign had unveiled only a few days earlier. Among its many provisions are calls for more federal spending in clean coal technologies, greater tax breaks for families and reduced barriers to free trade.
The question is whether voters in West Virginia and elsewhere will buy the message McCain is trying to sell. As part of that campaign, the candidate said he was purposely visiting communities where he may not get a majority of votes but could still make his case.
“The message is I’ll be the president for everybody,” he said. “I’ll put my country first, and I want to try to appeal to (voters). Even if they don’t vote for me, I want their support once I am elected because this country is facing very tough times.”
McCain sat in the back of the Straight Talk Express during the course of the 45-minute interview, sitting in the middle of a U-shaped couch above which were mounted two flat-screen TV screens displaying the campaign’s logo.
His wife, Cindy, sat quietly beside him the entire time, usually fiddling with her Blackberry while McCain answered questions. Also along for the ride were several members of his campaign staff, who took pictures, dug up background information for questions and at one point cut the senator’s answer short when they didn’t like a reporter’s question about how much McCain knew about Ohio’s political history.