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  • McCain Re-Emerges; Receives Thompson Endorsement

    Presidential hopeful and U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) campaigns in California Tuesday. (AP)
    By Terry M. Neal
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Wednesday, August 18, 1999; 2:26 p.m. EDT

    New From The Post:
    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who skipped the Iowa Republican straw poll and called it a sham, re-emerged on the political scene this week with a visit to California and speech today before a veterans group in Kansas City, Mo., designed to highlight his war hero background.

    After his speech, Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson endorsed McCain's bid and was introduced as his national cochairman. Thompson originally backed former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander, who dropped out of the GOP presidential race Monday.

    "When it comes to reforming the way Washington does business, John McCain is a leader," Thompson said. "In his personal courage and integrity, John McCain has shown characteristics of leadership like nobody I'd ever seen."

    In Kansas City this morning, McCain challenged America's military readiness in a time of increasingly complex challenges and global instability. And he accused Washington politicians of breaking promises on health care to veterans.

    "I'm ashamed Congress finds billions of dollars for pork barrel spending on subsidies for reindeer ranches and power plants fueled by chicken waste," but does not fulfill promises to provide veterans with quality health care, he said.

    In Los Angeles earlier this week, McCain blamed the "sharp and intolerant" rhetoric in modern political discourse for creating the atmosphere of intolerance that lead to the shooting at a Jewish community center there. This week he also suggested that while he's open to considering some gun-control measures, a violence-obsessed media and hate-mongering Internet sites were more to blame for the culture of violence.

    McCain who will concentrate on his campaigning efforts on California and New Hampshire in coming weeks has increasingly sought to capitalize on his reputation as a political maverick, repeatedly portraying himself as above partisan politics. He rebuked not only the Clinton administration but the Republican-led Congress on issues from military readiness to pork barrel spending and intolerant political discourse.

    Also today: Sen. Bob Smith (N.H.), who resigned from the GOP earlier this summer, said he would also resign from the U.S. Taxpayer's Party and not seek its nomination for president. Just last week, Smith said he would seek the party's nomination. Smith said he prefers to maintain his political independence.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    © 1999 Washington Post Newsweek Interactive

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