Sen. John McCain delivers 'Straight Talk' to Sandusky crowd

SANDUSKY The man has a reputation for straight talk. His primary mode of transportati
Cory Frolik
May 24, 2010



The man has a reputation for straight talk.

His primary mode of transportation -- the Straight Talk Express bus -- gets its name from this character trait.

Speaking at an event in Sandusky on Thursday, Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain kept his comments short, sweet, to the point.

Find more photos from the rally in our photo gallery.

The event featured about nine minutes of McCain's unique brand of political "straight talk."

By 8 a.m. Thursday, McCain supporters were already arriving in downtown Sandusky. A few camped out in lawn chairs. Others jogged in place to keep warm.

By noon, the line leading up to the security entrance to Washington Park stretched from Columbus Avenue around the corner to Wayne Street.

People wearing Cedar Point Maverick hats --as in the roller coaster,but appropriate for a political event for John "the maverick" McCain -- waited in a line longer than those found at the amusement park.

By 2 p.m. more than 5,000 people filled Washington Park. The excitement began long before McCain showed up.

At 1:30 p.m. people were already chanting "U.S.A.,John McCain."

But those cheers paled compared to those heard 45 minutes later.

At 2:15 p.m. the Straight Talk Express turned from Columbus Avenue onto East Washington Street. Spotting the bus, the crowd roared.

The Van Halen song "Right Now" played as McCain took the stage. Standing next to his wife, Cindy, and the world's most famous plumber, McCain whipped the crowd into a delighted frenzy.

"Five days left, and we're going to win this one aren't we? We're going to win it. Come on, Ohio, we need you to get out and get that vote out, and take us all the way to the White House, " McCain said.

As the crowd waved miniature American flags and snapped photographs, McCain said he needed the help of voters in Ohio to get to the Oval Office.

"It's been a long time since somebody has been elected president of the United States without winning the state of Ohio. I know how important Ohio is. I understand the importance of the heartland of America. And I need your vote, and I need you to turn out in the next five days," McCain said.

McCain said Joe (the Plumber) Wurzelbacher gave his campaign -- and his policies -- the face it needs to connect with voters. After speaking for only a few minutes, McCain passed the microphone to Wurzelbacher. The plumber urged voters to study the candidates and the issues.

"I came to my own opinions through research. Get involved in the government. That way we can hold our politicians accountable and take back our government -- it's all ours," Wurzelbacher said.

Calling fixing the economy his biggest goal, McCain said his presidency would focus on "less government, lower spending" and promised to keep taxes from burdening the American people. Echoing an earlier campaign promise, McCain again declared war on pork barrel spending.

"We have been spending out of control. We have put a $10 trillion debt on future generations of Americans, and we've got to stop the pork-barrel earmark spending. I will veto every bill that comes across my desk that has a pork barrel project on it. I will make them famous," McCain said.

After criticizing Sen. Barack Obama's comment about "spreading the wealth around," McCain attacked the Democratic presidential candidate for favoring higher taxes.

Then he took a shot at Obama's running mate -- Sen. Joe Biden -- by calling him a "gift that keeps on giving," in reference to his semi-frequent gaffes. McCain said Biden told fundraisers recently that as president "Sen. Obama would be tested and there will be an international crisis."

McCain went on to claim that he -- McCain -- has been tested numerous times, and is up for any challenge.

Amid the chants and cheers from McCain fans, Obama supporters booed the Republican hopeful and protested his presence. From across Wayne Street, they booed the Express as it pulled out and left town.

In all, the McCain campaign caravan spent less than 30 minutes in Sandusky. The event was over in a flash.

But at least one person won't soon forget McCain's visit: Stephanie Endlish, 12, a student at St. Peter Catholic School in Huron.

She shook the hand of the man who could be the next president.

She said she liked McCain's speech to the people of Sandusky.