Mitt Romney calls on Mesa voters to vote for McCain

The two former Republican presidential nominees spoke to a small crowd despite downpour.

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney campaigned for John McCain in Mesa Thursday, highlighting the importance of Supreme Court justices, the economy and party unity.

The event, which was held in the official Cubs Spring Training ballpark, was coined as a celebration of the Cubs winning the world series. Food was provided for the supporters and speakers featured included Rep. Matt Salmon, Sen. Jeff Flake, Mayor John Giles, Gov. Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain.

He said that despite everything, the campaign ahead is still unpredictable.

"Anyone who thinks they can predict anything in this election is using a substance they are trying to legalize on the ballot there in a couple of days," McCain said.

He said that the dangerous world needed new leadership, harshly critiquing the Obama administration. 

"Ladies and gentleman, we live in a world on fire," he said. "And that's because we have a president who believes in leading from behind."

He went in to detail about what he said was Obama's failure in Iraq.

"We had it won in Iraq, thanks to the sacrifice thousand of brave young men and women serving; and Obama pulled them all out," he said. "Now we have 6 million refugees out of Syria 4 million slaughtered and Obama called them the JV."

He said the president's shortcomings were unprecedented. 

"This has been the most disastrous presidency in the history America," he said.

He also focused on previously downplayed statements regarding the Supreme Court vacancy.

"We have to have a senate that will prevent that 4-4 split from tilting to the left and making decisions that will harm this nation for many years to come,” he said.

McCain invoked a tone of unity and responsibility in introducing Mitt Romney.

"Mitt Romney and I disagreed in 2008 when I was running against him for the nomination; but we respected each other and we admired each other and at the end of the day in 2008 we joined together," he said. "Just as in 2012 he represented the republican party with honesty and integrity and dignity, and just imagine what the world would be like if Mitt Romney was president of the United states."

Romney’s speech was nuanced and focused on policy and change; An outlier in an election season owned by controversy, pointed attacks and vague policy statements.

He stayed on message and denounced what he said were problems caused by the Obama presidency including health care, the economy and the loss of jobs to corporate outsourcing. 

"You’ve heard The challenges of the last 7 or 8 years," he said. "The companies in America are trying to incorporate elsewhere because we have made it so unattractive to incorporate here." 

He called on voters to look to a voice of reason.

"Once again we rely on people of experience and judgement," he said. "I don’t know who is going to win the presidency, but whoever wins needs someone who has gone to the middle east and been there time and time again and knows whats going on there."

He also spoke of unity across the isle, an unheard of concept in this years polarized campaign season of partisan politics. 

"Our problems ... are not going to be overcome unless the two parties work together," he said.

Many of those in the crowd were ASU students and graduates. 

One recent ASU grad, David Jones, said the treatment of veterans was a key reason he supported John McCain.

“I think that the proper treatment of veterans, and veterans' affairs is what strikes home for me,” he said. “My dad is a vet, and he has PTSD.”

Jones said that although he was supporting McCain, he would not be supporting the Republican presidential nominee.

“Honestly, no I think that his attacks against McCain and other families of War heroes really dissuades me from voting for him,” he said.

The relationship between Trump and McCain has been on and off since Trump announced his bid for the presidency, but ended last month  after a leaked audio tape of Donald Trump making sexually aggressive comments was published by the Washington Post.

Mitt Romney too has had a testy relationship with Trump, denouncing the candidate back in the primary. 

Maricopa Democratic Party Chair Steven Slugocki said that McCain's veteran support ideas were all talk. 

"What has John McCain done to fix the VA?" he asked. "This all happened on his watch; He only cares about veterans to get elected."

He said that Arizona is ready for a change, and said that despite polls showing her down, Kirkpatrick will take the lead.

"John McCain no longer represents the people of Arizona," he said. "He has changed in his time in Washington." 

Romney finished the event off by calling on voters to get out and vote for McCain, and help get fellow supporters to the polls. 


Reach the reporter at isaac.windes@asu.edu or follow @isaacwindeschef on Twitter.

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