Friday, December 14, 2007

MA Governor Endorses McCain

Former Governet Jane Swift Endorses John McCain -

McCain is No Ordinary Hero

THERE IS only one presidential candidate with the courage, character, and conviction to lead this country: John McCain.

I can't say I recall Oct. 26, 1967. I was 2 when John McCain was shot down and captured by the North Vietnamese. But I've seen the chilling footage. I've heard his band of brothers attest to his bravery. I've listened to him humbly describe the acts of humanity he witnessed during his years in prison. Most impressive, I've watched him build a life of service to his country, without bitterness or recrimination.

McCain is no ordinary hero, and these are no ordinary times.

America's ability to maintain a thriving economy and a strong defense hinges on electing a president willing to make the tough calls. McCain's career has been defined by independent leadership. His relentless attacks on pork-barrel spending haven't won him popularity contests in the Senate cloakroom, but he can sleep at night knowing that he made the right choices for America.

True to his conservative values, McCain understands that fiscal restraint requires setting priorities and sticking to them. We have urgent national challenges - wars on multiple fronts, skyrocketing debt, unfunded entitlements - and yet, Congress still finds the time and the dollars for pet projects that deflect resources from our true national interests. McCain is the only candidate with the experience and conviction to level with Americans and force Congress to do the right thing.

He's also the only Republican who can win. American voters evaluate candidates with two criteria: first, on their issue positions. Does she or he believe what I believe? Education policy is my top concern. As one of McCain's advisers on the issue, I've discussed the challenges of providing an excellent education to every child. He is willing to do what it takes to get us there.

At the same time, it's rare for a voter and a candidate to agree on absolutely everything. Case in point: McCain and I disagree on the issue of abortion, but we maintain a mutual respect. Millions of Americans feel the same way.

That's why the second criterion is more of a gut check. Americans are aspirational people. We seek leadership. We crave integrity. Today's voter is in search of a president who can elevate politics above self interest and petty partisanship.

McCain's approach to the troop surge in Iraq is a perfect example. Critics assailed the plan as Quixotic at best and ill conceived at worst, but McCain believed it would work. His standing in the polls plummeted. He refused to change his position. "I'd rather lose an election than a war," he said - spoken like someone who has been on the battlefield. That's leadership. That's presidential.

The defining moment of my time as governor was Sept. 11, 2001. I recall with clarity and horror the experience of that day. My understanding of what it means to lead changed forever, and I have a much deeper awareness of the challenges associated with keeping an open society safe. It takes more than excellent management skills and inspirational rhetoric. Certainly, a president needs to muster both.

It takes the ability to see the larger picture. Combating terrorism depends on a strong military and excellent intelligence. No candidate has better judgment when it comes to how and when to deploy force than John McCain. It depends on strong allies. No candidate has more experience on the international stage, and no candidate is more respected by our friends and feared by our foes. And it depends on a keen understanding of the geopolitical forces that limit our ability to operate in our best interests - from poor border security to environmental meltdown to dependence on foreign oil. No candidate knows these issues better than McCain.

This election offers the rare opportunity to choose the right man for the right moment. Let's take it and be proud we did.

Jane Swift served as acting governor of Massachusetts from 2001 to 2003.

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