Listen here to the senator's speech.John McCain today became the first 2008 contender to visit the Emerald City this pre-election year— and got a >"/>
Listen here to the senator's speech.
To ensure there’d be no funny business, participants at the luncheon event were asked in advance to be on their best behavior. “Please be respectful of the senator’s time on stage,” emcee and KCTS radio host Enrique Cerna said before bringing McCain on. “Hold your questions and comments until the end.”
Members of the City Club and guests of the World Affairs Council obliged and greeted the Republican Senator from Arizona with a standing ovation. They dined on salmon and sorbet while he told them why this doesn’t have to be the “Asian century.”
“Some say the American century is a thing of the past, but the U.S. and Asia ascending doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive and it shouldn’t become so,” he said.
McCain gave the locals some love by waxing poetic about his time as a military Senate liaison traveling with “legendary” former Washington Senator Henry (Scoop) Jackson.
“Those were some of the greatest moments of my life,” he said, reminding the audience that Jackson knew “what this country stands for” and always believed “our greatest days lie ahead.”
McCain stuck to the script and sounded more like a beltway insider than a straight-talker during his remarks, which mostly centered on promoting global markets and the United States' relationship with economic powerhouses like China.
As part of his pitch for free trade, he appealed to the state’s wheat farmers and the fruit and vegetable growers, reminding them that they “all benefit and depend on foreign markets.”
But he warned that future superpowers (read China) need to accept that with greater power comes greater responsibility. “Their environmental stewardship cannot fall prey to their economic ambitions,” he said, generating a rousing round of applause.
The only evidence McCain was stumping came from his repeated referral to the audience as “my friends.” That and the appearance of the national press in the form of New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who showed up moments before the speech and skipped to the press table in pink cowboy boots.
After a few boilerplate questions about trade, Iraq and the evils of a bloated federal government, McCain got his only humdinger from “lefty” Seattle.
“Why have you been sucking up to the religious right,” one resident wondered.
McCain’s defense: “I was at Starbucks this morning talking to 4,000 of their employees. I didn’t see much of the religious right there. It was mostly people in their 20s.”
Later, talking to a gaggle of reporters, McCain again mentioned his visit to the Seattle coffee giant as proof that he wants to reach “everyone.”