Presidential Candidate John McCain Visits Tyler - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/27/08-Tyler

Presidential Candidate John McCain Visits Tyler

Presidential hopeful John McCain made a stop at the Rose Garden Center in Tyler Wednesday morning. Hundreds packed the town hall meeting as the senator addressed issues like the economy, veterans affairs, and immigration.  KLTV 7's Tracy Watler was there before and after McCain took the stage.

From camera phones to a sea of TV cameras, hundreds of East Texans, all ages, packed inside the Tyler Rose Garden Center, anxiously waiting for senator John McCain to take the stage.

"It's one thing on TV, but it's better in person to see," says one attendee.

Outside there was a line of people, waiting to get their chance to come in and see too.

"I think it's awesome, I just took off work to come see him," says Tyler resident Al Delgado.

And expectations were high, as many East Texans had different questions you wanted to ask the presidential hopeful.

"What I want to ask him if he feels like a national health tort reform would be something important to keep healthcare costs down," says Bill Wylie.

"I don't much about his tax stance. I guess I'd like to hear more about that," says 16-year-old Daniel Clemmons.

Once the senator took the stage, he touched on many of those same subjects from taxes to veterans' healthcare.

"The first thing we need to do is not raise your taxes, make the tax cuts permanent," McCain says.

"What I want to do is give every veteran a plastic card and the next time they have a routine healthcare need, they take it to the doctor or provider of their choice and they get the treatment they have earned by their country," he continues.

And then it was East Texans' turn as the floor was opened to anyone and everyone.

"Will you be wanting to drill in ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge)?  I think it is a waste not to get our own oil out of our country," asks one attendee.

"I believe ANWR is a pristine place. I don't want to drill in the Grand Canyon, in the Everglades. I just don't think it would be productive," McCain responds.

"I just recently finished one semester at George Washington University in D.C. and was ultimately sent home because I couldn't afford it, and I feel tuition in this country at top notch schools is really only viable for wealthy, and I was wondering what your education stance was?" asks another audience member.

"We've got to make student loans available and affordable," McCain says.

And a little boy, asks, "When you become president, what will be the first thing you achieve?"

"I hope to make this nation secure, this nation has to made secure against the struggle against radical Islamic extremism," he responds.

Securing the nation against terrorism and securing our borders were two major subjects McCain drove home before leaving the stage to "Johnny B. Goode," playing in the background.

"I felt he did a good job," says Sarah Cain. 

Tracy Watler, Reporting tracy@kltv.com

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