McCain holds national security roundtable at UT
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01/25/08 Seán Kinane
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This afternoon, Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain held what he called a National Security Roundtable at the University of Tampa.

WMNF’s Seán Kinane reports that government and military leaders discussed the major security issues that McCain is emphasizing during the run-up to Tuesday’s presidential primary in Florida.

McCain is a leading supporter of President George W. Bush’s strategy to escalate the number of troops in Iraq. McCain said the Democratic candidates for president want to surrender to terrorists.

McCain claimed that the U.S. occupation of Iraq was going well even though the number of U.S. deaths this month has already passed the number from the entire month of December. He said the U.S. should increase the size of the military while at the same time cutting the federal budget. The National Guard and National Reserve are “overstretched,” according to McCain.

Sen. Lindsey Graham was a part of McCain’s National Security Roundtable. The South Carolina Republican was in Iraq with McCain soon after the Americans invaded Baghdad.

Another member of the Security Roundtable was James Woolsey, the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Bill Clinton. Woolsey is part of the Project for the New American Century. He said that McCain would try to wean America from its dependence on foreign oil.

Today, the New York Times endorsed McCain for the Republican nomination. McCain also added Florida Sen. Mel Martinez to a long list of Cuban-American politicians who have endorsed him. McCain said that he hoped Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, would die soon.

McCain said he would fix FEMA by bringing in the private sector and he suggested that he might support a type of national catastrophic insurance fund, but that a bill going through Congress had no chance of passing in its current form.

he other members of McCain’s roundtable included Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe, Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Admiral Leighton Smith, John Lehman, who was the Secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan, Tom Ridge, a member of the 9/11 Commission, and Jerry Johnson, who is a retired admiral with the U.S. Navy and a member of the Board of Advisors for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.

Johnson said McCain is the best candidate to deal with China’s military ambitions.

McCain will make several stops in the Tampa Bay area before Tuesday’s primary. He will be at the Kings Point Clubhouse in Sun City Center 2:15 p.m. Saturday; Fantasy of Flight in Polk City on Sunday at 11:30 a.m.; and at the Tampa Convention Center on Monday at 5:30 p.m.

Learn more:

John McCain

Tom Ridge

Tim Pawlenty

Sen. Lindsey Graham

Project for the New American Century

Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs

January 2008 U.S. deaths in Iraq

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