David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Speaking to a town hall in Sun City Arizona on Tuesday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) drew choruses of loud boos from the audience by saying that President Barack Obama respects the Constitution of the United States.
On the town hall, Arizona Central reports:
An overflow crowd of mostly seniors, totaling about 1,250, applauded McCain as he laid out a plan to slash medical malpractice costs for doctors, create a $5,000 tax rebate for families to use on private insurance and offer rewards for people who take steps like quitting smoking to stay healthy.
He also said insurance companies should not be allowed to use pre-existing conditions to deny Americans coverage.
“I want to reform health care. The costs are out of control,” McCain said. “But let’s not forget the quality of health care is what must be preserved as well.”
And it seemed to be going well for McCain until an older woman stood up and asked, “I would like to know how the President is getting by with all of this money … It’s against the Constitution. Doesn’t he know that we still live under a Constitution?”
The audience erupted in cheers and applause. McCain just smiled.
“I’m sure … I’m sure that he does,” he said.
The audience laughed, as if the Senator were joking.
“No, no, I’m serious,” McCain said. “I’m sure that he does and I’m sure that he respects the Constitution of the United States.”
“No, no, no, no …” he trailed as a roar of boos cascaded through the crowd. “Now wait, I really do. I’m absolutely convinced of it. I just believe, my friends, that there is a fundamental difference in philosophy about the role of government. That’s why we have competition for public office and competition amongst parties and competition about different ideas and visions for the future of America.”
He concluded: “I am convinced the President is absolutely sincere in his beliefs.” The crowd booed again. “Wait a min … Wait a minute! I’m saying he’s sincere in his beliefs. We just happen to disagree and he is the President of the United States and let’s be respectful.”
The episode seems like an echo of a McCain campaign rally in 2008 when an audience erupted in jeers after a man, playing off Sarah Palin’s “palling around with terrorists” rhetoric, was told by McCain that Obama is “a decent man that you don’t have to be scared [of] as President of the United States.” (Watch that video below.)