McCain Shakes Off Powell's Endorsement Of Obama Republican presidential hopeful John McCain was campaigning Sunday in the swing state of Ohio. He cast himself as the guardian of middle-class workers and small-business owners. McCain also said he was not surprised that former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican, endorsed his Democratic opponent Barack Obama.
NPR logo

McCain Shakes Off Powell's Endorsement Of Obama

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/95889713/95889697" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
McCain Shakes Off Powell's Endorsement Of Obama

McCain Shakes Off Powell's Endorsement Of Obama

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/95889713/95889697" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

SCOTT HORSLEY: And I'm Scott Horsley traveling with the McCain campaign.

Senator JOHN MCCAIN (Republican, Arizona, Presidential Nominee): I love being the underdog, my friends. We've got him just where we want him.

(Soundbite of crowd cheering)

HORSLEY: Hours after news broke that Colin Powell was endorsing Barack Obama, John McCain hosted a campaign rally in Westerville, Ohio, just outside Columbus.

Senator MCCAIN: What America needs in this hour is a fighter, someone who puts all his cards on the table and trusts the judgment of the American people. I have fought for you most of my life.

HORSLEY: For years, McCain and Powell were allies in those fights. Two military men together in the rough and tumble world of politics. McCain told FOX News Sunday he still admires and respects his long-time friend but takes issue with Powell's assessment that Barack Obama is ready to be commander-in-chief.

Sen. MCCAIN: We have a respectful disagreement, and I think the American people will pay close attention to our message for the future and keeping America secure.

HORSLEY: McCain says he wasn't surprised by Powell's announcement, but some of his supporters were. Brett Dickenson(ph) and Dana Chamberlain(ph) got the news just as they were leaving the rally.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. BRETT DICKENSON (McCain Supporter): Wow, that's surprising. Colin Powell endorsed Obama today.

Mr. DANA CHAMBERLIN (McCain Supporter): That's a shame. Colin Powell was a great commander and a great, you know, head of state, so he's opinion will mean a lot to a lot of people. I just don't agree with him. That's all.

HORSLEY: During campaign events, McCain usually asks veterans to raise their hands so the crowd can recognize their service. Yesterday, he asked for a similar show of support for Ohio plumber, Joe Wurzelbacher. Joe the Pumber has become a kind of mascot for the campaign ever since he questioned Obama's plan to raise taxes on businesses and families, making more than a quarter million dollars a year.

Senator MCCAIN On behalf of Joe the Plumber, and Rose the Teacher and Phil the Brick Layer and Wendy, the Waitress and all small businesspeople around America, will, small businesspeople, please, raise their hands so we thank you for what you do for America, job creation.

(Soundbite of crowd cheering)

(Soundbite of campaign jingle)

QUEEN: (Singing) We will, we will rock you.

HORSLEY: Later, McCain customized campaign bus rolled in the convention center in Toledo, not far from where the actual Joe the Plumber lives. Wurzelbacher didn't attend the Toledo rally. He was in New York taping TV interviews. But McCain, again, used the plumber's question to challenge Obama's plan to raise taxes on the rich and spread the wealth around.

Senator MCCAIN: America didn't become the greatest nation on earth by giving our money to the government to spread the wealth around. In this country, we believe in spreading opportunity for those who need jobs and those who create them.

(Soundbite of crowd cheering)

HORSLEY: There were fewer Joe the Plumber signs in the audience yesterday than in previous days. One man confessed, as he left the convention center, he thought the speech was getting a little old. Still, Barb Heiner(ph) was glad she came. The long-time Republican was feeling a little down after learning that Powell had endorsed Obama yesterday. Hearing McCain, helped cheer her up.

Ms. BARB HEINER (Republican Supporter): I was getting a little disheartened after hearing all the newspapers and the TV all are saying, you know, Obama, Obama. But I was very excited after hearing him today. The bottom line, everybody has to vote.

HORSLEY: McCain promised supporters yesterday he'll win Ohio and prove the pundits wrong again. Scott Horsley, NPR News traveling with the McCain campaign.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.