McCain camp stops in Mentor

Jackie Valley

MENTOR – Matt Markiewicz, a senior at Mentor High School, turns 18 years old Sunday. Two days later, he plans to vote for John McCain on Election Day.

The soon-to-be eligible voter joined about 3,000 other people last night in Mentor High School’s gymnasium to see and hear the Republican candidate urge Ohio voters to turn the state red come Nov. 4.

“I like that he’s a true American,” Markiewicz said. “I might not agree 100 percent on everything, but he’s always tough. He doesn’t flip-flop.”

Daughter Meghan and wife Cindy joined McCain at the rally, along with Joe Wurzelbacher – otherwise known as Joe the Plumber – who endorsed McCain and received repeated “Go Joe Plumber” chants from the audience.

“People have been asking me who am I going to vote for, and I kept on telling them it will be between me and the button,” Wurzelbacher said. “But this election is way too important, so get out and vote.

“As for my vote, it will be for John McCain.”

McCain used the rest of his campaign stop in Northeast Ohio to appeal to the other Joe the Plumbers in the audience, vowing to continue fighting for the country and small businesses if elected president.

“Joe’s dream is the American dream,” he said. “Attacks on him are attacks on small businesses all over the country.”

Turning to taxes, McCain said he would not tax small businesses. Instead, he said he would cut business taxes to create jobs – criticizing what he called Barack Obama’s “pro-government spending” philosophy.


Video by Krittika Chatterjee | TV2 News

Obama has said he will cut taxes for middle class workers and increase taxes for the top earners in the country, while McCain has said he plans to reduce corporate taxes to spur the economy.

“You know raising taxes makes a bad economy much worse,” he said. “Keeping taxes low creates jobs, keeps money in your hands and strengthens our economy.”

According to statistics from the 2000 Census, the median family income in Mentor is $65,322, compared to the $50,046 median nationwide.

U.S. Rep. Steven LaTourette said Lake County, which includes Mentor, has chosen Ohio’s presidential winner since 1992.

Mentor-on-the-Lake resident Nancy Weaver, 66, said she voted as an Independent until former president Bill Clinton was elected. Then, she became a Republican.

But Weaver said McCain owes Joe the Plumber for the renewed hope in his campaign.

“He made it possible for John McCain to be heard,” she said. “More people are listening.”

During his 30-minute speech, McCain also promised to double child tax reductions for working families, veto pork barrel legislation, implement a plan to fix the housing industry and start offshore oil drilling.

Sen. Lindsey Graham from South Carolina also attended the McCain rally, which was televised to a secondary crowd of about 1,200 people in the high school’s Performing Arts Center.

Mentor Fire Chief Richard Harvey said the school and community learned Monday afternoon that McCain would be stopping in the city as part of his final tour through the swing state.

McCain will be in Columbus today with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for another Road to Victory rally at Nationwide Arena.

Contact public affairs reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].