In Selma, McCain Praises Civil Rights Pioneers

Sen. John McCain says Selma, Ala., and other communities on his "It's Time for Action" tour have suffered the "sins of indifference and injustice." He lauded the courage shown by civil-rights advocates who were beaten as they marched across Selma's Edmond Pettus Bridge in 1965.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

While the Democrats were trying to win over voters in danger of leaning Republican, John McCain visited a Democratic stronghold. Senator McCain spoke in Selma, Alabama, framed by the Edmond Pettus Bridge. He recalled Bloody Sunday, the day 43 years ago when white police officers beat John Lewis and other civil rights marchers trying to cross the bridge. Lewis went on to become a congressman from Georgia.

In Selma, John McCain was launching a tour of places that Republicans have often avoided. He says he'll still compete for votes in those areas by listening to people's concerns.

Senator JOHN McCAIN (Republican, Arizona; Presidential Candidate): There must be no forgotten places in America where they've been ignored for long years by the sins of indifference and injustice.

(Soundbite of applause)

Sen. McCAIN: Or have been left behind as the world grew smaller and more economically interdependent. In America, we have always believed that if the day was a disappointment, we would win tomorrow. That's what John Lewis believed when he marched across this bridge. That's what he still believes. What he still fights to achieve, a better country than the one he inherited.

My friends, Americans change things. We always have. Hope in America is not based in delusion but in the faith that everything is possible in America. The time for pandering and false promises is over, it's time for action. It's...

(Soundbite of applause)

Sen. MCCAIN: …it's time for change. The right kind of change. Change that trusts in the strength of free people and free markets. Change that doesn't return the policies that empower government to make our choices for us but that works to ensure we have choices to make for ourselves.

(Soundbite of applause)

BLOCK: McCain stood before a crowd of about 100 supporters, mostly white, in a city that is about 78 percent African American.

(Soundbite of music)

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