McCain in Denver Live Blog

John McCain shakes hands with supporters after  at a campaign event in Denver on Friday. (Photo/Jason Kosena)

12:22 p.m. — After shaking hands on the rope line for about 7 minutes, McCain has left the ballroom.

12:14 p.m. — McCain just finished his roughly 30-minute speech. He will now head to Aspen to meet with the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet.

12:12 p.m. — As is customary for presidential candidates stumping on the trail, McCain is sharing the story of an average American who acted extraordinarily. Today, McCain is speaking about an American solider in Vietnam well known to today’s crowd of Hispanic veterans.

"No story better exemplifies the sacrifices Hispanic Americans have made for our country than the story of Roy Benavidez. I have told it before, and this won’t be the last time I tell it. All Americans need to hear it," McCain said.

Benavidez was shot seven times, stabbed in the arms and hit in the face by shrapnel in Vietnam as he tried to save fellow American soldiers who had come under attack. After a heroic effort, Benavidez spent a year recovering from his wounds. He was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Ronald Reagan.

"’I’m proud to be an American,’ Roy Benavidez said as he lay dying in a San Antonio hospital ten years ago. May God bless his soul," McCain said to the first standing applause of the speech. "And may Americans, all Americans, be very proud that Roy Benavidez was one of us."

12:07 p.m. — McCain is now talking directly to the room’s heavily Hispanic attendance. Obama has been spoken about in the media recently as struggling to appeal to Hispanic voters.

"Let me close by expressing my gratitude for the contributions Hispanic-Americans have made to the security of the country I have served all my adult life. I represent Arizona where Spanish was spoken before English was, and where the character and prosperity of our state owes much to the Arizonans of Hispanic descent who live there," McCain said. "And I know this country, which I love more than almost anything, would be poorer were we deprived of the patriotism, industry and decency of those millions of Americans whose families came here from Mexico, Central and South America."

John McCain takes the stage at a campaign event in Denver on Friday. (Photo/Jason Kosena)

12:05 p.m. — Speaking to a room full of veterans, McCain, a Vietnam veteran himself, is promising that if he is elected president America’s fighting youth will be taken care of after they return home.

"As president, I will ensure that those who serve today and who have served in the past have access to the highest quality health, mental health and rehabilitative care in the world," McCain said. "The disgrace of Walter Reed will not be forgotten."

12:03 p.m. — McCain just said he expects the number of troops in Iraq will go down next year if he is elected president.

"I am confident that we will be able to reduce our combat forces in Iraq next year," he said.

12:02 p.m. — McCain’s attacks against Obama are continuing.

"Senator Obama said this week that even knowing what he knows today that he still would have opposed the surge," McCain said. "In retrospect, given the opportunity to choose between failure and success, he chooses failure. I cannot conceive of a Commander in Chief making that choice."

11:57 a.m. — McCain is blasting Obama for not supporting the troop surge.

"By November 2007, the success of the surge was becoming apparent. Attacks on Coalition forces had dropped almost 60 percent from the pre-surge levels," McCain said. "American casualties had fallen by more than half. Iraqi civilian deaths had fallen by more than two-thirds. But Senator Obama ignored the new and encouraging reality."

11:53 a.m. — McCain has begun his speech by defending his support of the troop surge in Iraq that his Democrat opponent Barack Obama opposed. The surge has been seen as successful by Republicans and Democrats now.

"The effects of the new strategy are obvious. The surge has succeed and we are at long last winning this war," McCain said.

11:47 a.m. — Sen. John McCain is taking the stage to speak before 500 people in attendance. His speech will begin soon.

11:36 a.m. — The McCain traveling press corps has just arrived to a ballroom on the second floor of the Hyatt signifying McCain will take the stage shortly.

Carol Kreck holds the sign that helped her to get a trespassing ticket at John McCain's last visit to Denver earlier this month. (Photo/Jason Kosena)

11:20 a.m. — It’s a different day. The same protest signs against John McCain were displayed. But no one was arrested.

 

Members of ProgressNow and Carol Kreck, a Denver librarian who was ticketed for trespassing at McCain’s last campaign stop in Denver, camped outside the Denver Grand Hyatt Hotel again this morning protesting the Republican presidential candidate’s speech today.

 

Holding signs that read "McCain = Bush" a group of about a dozen protesters played up their dissent mostly for gathered local media who clicked photos and asked whether Kreck was willing to be arrested again.

 

"I don’t want to be ticketed again, no," Kreck said as she swarmed by TV cameras and microphones.

 

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