Senator John McCain Visits Eastern Kentucky

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It was standing room only Wednesday at the old Martin County Courthouse as hundreds gathered to hear Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain speak.

It was an old fashioned town hall meeting in Inez where Senator McCain explained his vision for the future of America. He touched on topics ranging from the future of coal to healthcare for our veterans.

Republican Presidential Candidate Senator John McCain brought his message for the future, but he started his town hall meeting with a look at the past recalling Former President Lyndon B. Johnson's visit in 1964.

"I have no doubt President Johnson was serious and had the very best of intentions when he declared the war on poverty in America," McCain said.

Now more than 40 years later, Senator McCain is looking at some of the same issues, but with his ideas for rural America.

"The modern economy offers new opportunities for communities like Inez," he said.

Senator McCain listened to the crowd and answered questions on a wide range of topics, from a possible economic recession, to veteran's healthcare, to reducing the cost of a college education.

"I want to make sure every student in America has access if they need it and have earned it," McCain said.

He promised to create new jobs and job training.

"I promise you I'm not gonna leave Americans behind because they lost their job, due to the flight of jobs to another country," he said.

He discussed the rising gas prices and told the crowd coal is the answer.

"We have to get coal gasification and improved technology so that we can trap carbon emissions and we can have clean coal," McCain said.

He also discussed the war in Iraq and promised better healthcare to veterans.

State Senator Brandon Smith asked about Democratic Candidate Barack Obama's comment that rural America hides behind guns and religion.

"Do you think those views reflect your constituents," McCain asked. "I think it reflects somebody that doesn't understand this neck of the woods," Smith said.

Senator McCain said he would not forget this town or this meeting.

"I will not make this my last visit to Inez if I'm elected," Senator McCain said.

He says he'll hold another town hall meeting for these people to see if he kept his promises.

Senator McCain's speech and his arrival at the airport were major spectator events. We were the only station to catch up with the senator's supporters and opponents both in Inez, and as soon as he set foot in Eastern Kentucky.

"I may shake the hand of the next president of the United States," said Veteran Gene Horn.

It was a feeling shared by hundreds as they lined up to greet Senator John McCain at the Big Sandy Regional Airport in Inez.

"This is an opportunity that they won't get but once in their lifetime," said Inez Director of Transportation Greg Cornette.

After a brief stay with students from Martin County, McCain spoke to a packed house downtown. Those who didn't make it inside listened from speakers in the street.

"His values, and his patriotism and his honor and character are something that is real good for this country," said Retired Lt. Colonel Dan Giaquinto. "He will be a candidate of measured change, not radical change, and I think that that's the proper way to go."

A few came out to voice their opposition to the senator.

"I am supporting Hillary Clinton teeth and toenail," said Shelley Amburgey.

"I don't want to see McCain in four more years. It will be the same policies as George Bush has. We've been in a war for almost five years, we've lost four thousand people for no cause whatsoever," said J.K. Patrick.

Some supporters think McCain will address the issue of troop withdrawal more carefully than Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

"It would all be in vain if they immediately start doing that because I don't think that can happen," said Lou Kouns.

Others say McCain's time as a POW makes him the most resilient.

"Anybody that could stand what he stood for five years, in my opinion, can do anything. He's always been a hero of mine," Horn said.

Others we spoke to say they're concerned about jobs and access to healthcare in our region. Many say they want to learn more about each candidate, and they're going to think especially hard about their vote in this election.

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