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U.S Senator John McCain
addresses Hoover Institution

- Calls for creation of a "League of Democracies"

- "Rumsfeld will go down as one of the worst
Secretary's of Defense"

U.S. Senator John McCain
Photo courtesy U.S. Senator John McCain

By Jason Bennert

May 1, 2007

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain today called for the creation of a "League of Democracies," a new global alliance of democratic nations that would intervene in places such as Darfur where the United Nations has failed to act.

McCain, speaking before an invite-only crowd at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, said that in the 21st century regional alliances such as NATO are not enough to cope with the many global challenges facing the free world.

"The 21st century world no longer divides neatly into geographic regions. Organizations and partnerships must be as international as the challenges we confront," McCain, R-Ariz., said.

McCain's proposed "League of Democracies" would be an organization with economic, military and humanitarian components.

"It could act where the UN fails to act, to relieve human suffering in places like Darfur. It could join to fight the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa and fashion better policies to confront the crisis of our environment," McCain said. "It could provide unimpeded market access to those who share the values of economic and political freedom, an advantage no state-based system could attain."

Speaking to reporters after his speech, McCain said the league would be open to countries such as and Indonesia as well as America's traditional allies such as Japan, Australia and the NATO countries.

When asked about immigration, McCain said that "within two weeks" a bipartisan immigration reform bill should be introduced in the Senate that he will support. He would not give specifics about what the bill's provisions, currently being negotiated by the Bush Administration and the Democratic leadership of Congress, would contain. Media reports have said it will contain provisions providing a path to permanent residency for those currently in this country illegally.

"It's important we do it and get it done before it gets caught up in the 2008 election," McCain said.

McCain was unflappable when asked about perceptions that his presidential campaign is stalling. He blamed his disappointing fundraising totals to date on his own bad fundraising skills and not on a lack of enthusiasm for his candidacy among Republican donors.

"My lack of ability has hurt my fundraising," McCain said.

Presidential campaigns go in cycles, especially one that is as long as this with the first primary almost nine months away, according to McCain.

"In 1999 at this time I was at 3 percent in a poll with a 5 percent margin of error," McCain said. "A lot of Americans, at least until this fall, are not paying a lot of attention (to the presidential race). It means they have lives.

McCain did not waver from his commitment to achieving victory in Iraq. He said only three of the five brigades that are part of President George W. Bush's "surge" strategy have arrived in the country.

"We have seen some progress, some guarded progress, some very small progress," McCain said.

Despite his support for the war and the surge strategy, McCain did not hesitate to criticize the Bush Administration's handling of the war.

"Rumsfeld will go down as one of the worst Secretary's of Defense," McCain said.

McCain also said those individuals either in the military or the administration responsible for the misinformation about San Jose native Pat Tillman's death in Afghanistan need to be held responsible. He called the situation a clear "cover-up."

McCain's speech was attended by a number of Hoover Institution fellows including former Attorney General in the Reagan Administration Ed Meese. Former Reagan Administration Secretary of State George Schultz could not attend the speech but had a letter read introducing McCain.

"He is a man with a depth of character by any standard," Schultz's letter said. "In his steadfastness he reminds me of Ronald Reagan."

McCain will travel to San Diego later today. He is scheduled to return to the South Bay on Friday for an appearance at Google's headquarters in Mountain View.

Copyright © 2007 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




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