Eagle-Times (Claremont, NH)   Thursday, January 20, 2000 --page 6

John McCain is our choice
A primary victory Feb. 1 could lead to nomination

    Months ago, a number of candidates dropped out of the Republican presidential primary, declaring that Texas Gov. George W. Bush had too much money and too big of a lead in the polls.  Fortunately, Sen. John McCain of Arizona was not listening.

    McCain did what the people of New Hampshire expect: He ignored the polls and met voters face to face with his message of restoring honesty and integrity to the White House, reducing a bloated government bureaucracy, cutting taxes and maintaining a strong foreign policy.

    Those who have met McCain have met an unassuming individual who doesn't come across as packaged with a rehearsed script for whatever audience is before him.

    McCain is certainly an underdog in the New Hampshire primary race which culminates in the vote on Feb. 1.  But no more of an underdog than he was against the North Vietnamese when he was held as a prisoner of war there.  Yes, that was 31 years ago, but that period, McCain said, came to define a lot of what he believes in.

    Much of what McCain promises will be tough to accomplish, but surviving five years of brutal treatment as a prisoner in North Vietnam, McCain isn't afraid of difficult missions.

    Voters look for honesty above all else in their candidates; not someone who tailors their speech to the audience before him.  John McCain.  Unlike the Democratic candidates, Vice President Al Gore and former Senator Bill Bradley, McCain doesn't recommend spending billions on everything that needs fixing.  Unlike Bush, he doesn't duck the tough issues.

    And, contrary to what some Republicans believe, McCain is a rock solid conservative.  Aside from his supporting campaign finance reform and anti-tobacco legislation, if McCain is as liberal as some say, why would he have earned scores of 20 percent or less over the past decade from the liberal group Americans for Democratic Action?

    So why do so many Democrats and Independents like McCain?  His honesty.  His total lack of pandering for votes.  His ability to not take himself too seriously, and to admit his faults.  His willingness to listen to other points of view on the issues.

    We have no preference in the Democratic Primary.  We see both Gore and Bradley as candidates in search of a government program for every problem and that reflects poorly on what these candidates believe Americans are capable of doing for themselves.

    While we realize that McCain isn't perfect, we believe that compared to Bush, he is substantial and real.  He's no lightweight, and he would be a more than worthy foe for Gore or Bradley in the fall.

    That's why this newspaper is endorsing Sen. John McCain in the Republican Primary on Feb. 1.

Reprinted with Permission of the Eagle-Times.  All rights reserved.