McCain Says Rust Belt Towns Can Be Economically Resurrected

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - Republican John McCain said the hard-hit steel towns of Ohio can rebound like his own presidential campaign did last year.

McCain described how his White House bid was declared dead last summer as it hemorrhaged staff and ran out of money. He climbed back to win the New Hampshire primary in January and now is the Republican nominee-in-waiting.

"You've been written off a few times yourselves, in the competition of the market," McCain said in remarks prepared for delivery Tuesday at Youngstown State University in Ohio. "You know how it feels to hear that good things are happening in the American economy - they're just not happening to you."

McCain is on a weeklong tour of "forgotten" places, communities that suffer from poverty and also inattention from presidential candidates.

He traveled Tuesday to Ohio after campaigning Monday across Alabama's rural Black Belt, beginning his week with a speech against the backdrop of Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge, the place where black civil rights marchers were brutally beaten by white police officers in 1965.

McCain's trip to Ohio was eclipsed by the Democratic presidential primary in next-door Pennsylvania, where Hillary Rodham Clinton was attempting a comeback against Barack Obama.

McCain said new businesses are beginning to supplant the old "rust belt" industry of Ohio.

"Dramatic change can happen, in this great city and others like it," he said. "With pro-growth policies to create new jobs, and with honest and efficient government in Washington, we can turn things around in this city."

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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