McCain in Westerville

Heather Scarlett

Republican presidential candidate John McCain spoke yesterday at Otterbein College. He enforced his belief that even though the Republican Party is lagging behind in points for the election, the next 16 days are vital and Ohioans are a necessary part in achieving the goal of him becoming president.

Approximately 6,000 people gathered inside the Rike Center to hear McCain speak. Many more, including those showing support for Sen. Barack Obama, gathered outside to view McCain’s speech on a large projector screen.

Donell Scott, a cosmetologist from Reynoldsburg, said she hoped McCain’s speech would light up the election with a little “fire and brimstone about Obama.”

Scott said she has been a Republican her whole life and prefers McCain because he has more experience in politics when compared to Obama’s short term in Congress.

“Obama has served only 143 days,” she said. “I could run the country better.”

Ashlie Steadman, a 21-year-old political science student from Ohio State, said she wanted to hear something from McCain that would excite Republicans to want to go out and vote.

Even though Steadman supports McCain for president, she said there is little he speaks about that applies to her age group.

“He focuses more on the baby boomer generation,” Steadman said.

Chris Ritz, a 50-year-old small business owner from Columbus, said he hoped McCain would give a positive message of conservatism and how America will move forward.

“(I vote Republican) because it is the party of compassionate people who can take care of themselves,” he said.

When McCain came to center stage at the Rike Center, he was greeted by a cheering crowd and trumpeting music from the Otterbein College band.

Parents held their children piggyback just to catch a glimpse of their favored candidate.

One of McCain’s key topics during the speech was to address average Americans who want to be small business owners. He did so by referencing the recent public figure known as “Joe the Plumber.”

“Joe’s dream is your dream,” McCain said of small business owners.

McCain accused Obama of not being able to help business owners with the policies on taxes he has proposed.

“Obama is more concerned in getting a piece of your pie,” he said.

McCain also spoke about the Iraq war, stating he would bring the troops home with “honor and victory.”

A final important point he made was that he planned on protecting the value of personal properties.

“I’m going to protect the value of your home and get it rising again,” McCain said.

The triumphant theme song from the movie “Rocky” blared over the loudspeakers as McCain ended his rally.

“I’m not afraid of the fight! I’m ready for it and so are you!” he said.

Joan Jagger, a 76-year-old retired nurse from Mount Gilead, said after hearing McCain’s speech she is endorsing his whole program.

“He stands for what I stand for,” she said.

Contact public affairs reporter Heather Scarlett at [email protected].