Veterans and McCain supporters convene in Tampa

07/22/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday | Listen to this entire show:

A group of local military veterans and Republicans gathered at John McCain’s local campaign office in Tampa this morning to watch his Town Hall Meeting in New Hampshire.

Although billed as a rally, organizer Chris Hart of Veterans For McCain, said it was also a way to discuss national security issues.

More than a dozen people were in attendance, including several vets with experience working at Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, considered the nerve center for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Four years ago, bay area Democrats thought that Bush fatigue and the anger over the 2000 elections would galvanize voters to come out and support John Kerry over George W. Bush in Hillsborough County, but that turned out not to be the case.

This year, the Barack Obama campaign has dozens of paid staffers in the state, and a large amount of enthusiastic volunteers.

Marc Proctor is a zone coordinator for the McCain campaign in Brandon and the Eastern Hillsborough area. He says the GOP has its work cut out for it this fall.

Greg Truax is the co-chairman for the McCain campaign in Hillsborough County. He feels good about keeping the county red this November.

In the past week, President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki have indicated for the first time that they are looking for a "time horizon" to begin bringing U.S. troops from Iraq.

That coincides with Barack Obama’s previous call for bringing U.S. troops home within 16 months; but to mention that those events are related can engender outrage among some Republicans.

Chris Hart is a former Hillsborough County Commissioner and is a retired Lt. Colonel in the Army, serving in Vietnam, Cambodia, Central America and Grenada. Both Obama and McCain have said that Afghanistan needs more resources, but Hart says it’s always proven difficult terrain for any foreign armies to fight in.

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