Senator McCain makes stop in Columbia, addresses war concerns - - Columbia, South Carolina

Senator McCain makes stop in Columbia, addresses war concerns

(Columbia) November 20, 2005 - People attending a fundraiser at the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce had a chance to hear US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) give a speech, as well ask the senator questions.

One message Senator McCain stressed was that America must stay the course in Iraq.

Although he encouraged America's staying with the war, he admitted that, "these are very difficult times, my friends."

However, he warned that, "if we leave Iraq without a stable, functioning government and a secure and growing economy, then it will be worse than Vietnam."

He continued the message by telling the crowd that mistakes have been made in fighting the War on Terror, but again, he stressed that withdrawing troops right now would be a disaster.

"Mistakes are made in every war. The solution is to fix them. We have to win this war. We can, and we must," said the once-hopeful presidential candidate.

After his speech, Senator McCain took questions from people attending the fundraiser. Concerned parent Marietta Dolman was one of those who got to question McCain.

"I'd like to know there is a plan and a timeline, and how we're going to get out gracefully," said Dolman.

Others like Russell Anderson offered their opinions on the war.

Anderson said the senator, "has a point about us getting out honorably ... but the discussion should take place. When we're going to get out should take place."

US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) joined Senator McCain at the fundraiser held for US soldiers and their families, and both senators agreed with the need to be supportive of US troops and their mission.

Senator McCain concluded by saying, "these are difficult times, and in order to stay the course, we must win. We grieve the lives that have been lost, but we must be proud of the ones serving in the course of freedom."

On a side note: When asked if he had presidential ambitions for 2008, McCain said he's not making any decisions until after his 2006 re-election campaign.

Reported by Tamara King

Updated 3:37am by Graeme Moore

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