John McCain, the U.S. Senator from Arizona and 2008 Republican candidate for U.S. President, campaigned for Linda McMahon in Danbury Monday amid cheers and a welcoming crowd of more than 350 people.
McCain was greeted at the driveway leading to the Disabled American Veterans Hall by more than a dozen U.S. flags held by members of the Minutemen Riders. The riders are a group of motorcyclists who are ready at a minute's notice to fly flags to honor returning veterans and for other worthy occasions, said Gold Star Mother Jean Mariano of New Milford.
"We welcome home military members," said Mariano, who lost her son, Jason Lewis, of Brookfield, a U.S. Navy Seal, in July 2007. "We were happy to be here."
McCain is a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, and both his grandfather and father were Admirals in the U.S. Navy, said Bill McCarthy, commander of Chapter 25, Disabled American Veterans.
"John McCain is a disabled veteran. He spent four or five years a captive," said McCarthy, a Vietnam War veteran who served two tours of duty in Vietnam.
McCarthy said in hosting the event the hall wasn't taking sides in the election. He said people can rent the hall and it's available for Chris Murphy, McMahon's opponent in the November election, whenever he wants to rent it. He said members of the chapter were proud to honor McCain.
In his campaign speech for McMahon, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Connecticut, McCain said he wants to repeal Obamacare, the health care bill passed by President Obama and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. McCain said he wants veterans to encourage people to vote in November.
"This election rests on the veterans," McCain said. "Turn out the vote. I want each of you to call 50 people. Even call your mother-in-law. This is a call to action," McCain said.
McCain said the war in Iraq is unraveling, because the President told everyone we were leaving.
"We won the war. We're losing the peace," McCain said. "This president talks about withdrawing and leaving. He doesn't talk about winning."
McMahon told the gathering she wanted to help returning veterans, and the best way to do that is to improve the economy.
"The best we can [do] to help our veterans is make sure they have a job," McMahon said. "I want to make sure you have a job."