U.S. John McCain told Portsmouth area veterans that President Barack Obama's response to the tragedy in Libya shows why he has failed the test of leadership.
McCain said President Obama's "leadership from behind" has created a very unstable and dangerous situation in the Middle East where Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya are now becoming very volatile again. Meanwhile, McCain said the Taliban's latest attack against the U.S. Air Force base outside of Kabul shows that President Obama's decision to withdraw U.S. troops by 2014 is strengthening the enemy.
This is why Mitt Romney needs to elected the next president of the United States, said McCain, the former Republican presidential nominee in 2008 against Obama.
McCain said Romney possesses the same leadership qualities as former President Ronald Reagan who wasn't afraid to say, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall," two years before the Berlin Wall came crashing down with the rest of the the former Soviet Union in 1989 and 1990.
"Mitt Romney has the same instincts as Ronald Reagan," said McCain. He also said the former Massachusetts governor believes in "exceptionalism," which means the president must assert America's place as the leader of the world.
"The president of the United States never talks about success or victory; he talks about withdrawal," McCain said.
"The president does not want to lead and if you don't want to lead, who do you wan to lead, China and Russia?" McCain asked the nearly 100 Portsmouth area voters in the VFW hall.
Nearly two hours before McCain spoke to Portsmouth area veterans, Mike Breen, a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq and a national security expert, and former New Hampshire Attorney General Philip McLaughlin, a Navy veteran, held a news conference at the Obama for America-NH office on Brewery Lane in Portsmouth to stump for President Obama's leadership.
In a prepared statement, Breen said Romney's support among New Hampshire veterans is slipping.
“The reason Mitt Romney’s support among New Hampshire veterans is ‘not where it needs to be’ is because Mitt Romney isn’t focused on veterans and military issues. Romney’s 160-page, 59 point jobs plan did not include a word about veterans – and neither did his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. In response to questions about his speech, Romney said 'when you give a speech, you don’t go through a laundry list," Breen said.
"Mitt Romney’s saber-rattling over Iran and cold-war obsession with Russia might win him support among his party’s neoconservative hawks, but as John McCain admitted today, it’s not winning him support among America’s veterans.”
As president, McCain believes that Romney would be able to work much better with Congress to avoid the deep multi-billion dollar defense cuts that will result from sequestration if Congress and the White House cannot overcome their stalemate by Jan. 2, 2013.
With less than 50 days to go before the Nov. 6 election, McCain stumped for Romney and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 168 in Portsmouth after he reached out to veterans at VFW halls in Nashua and Laconia.
McCain also said he knows how important New Hampshire will be if Romney hopes to win the White House and he implored his fellow veterans to support the Romney-Ryan ticket.
"I love New Hampshire. Outside of Arizona, New Hampshire is my favorite place to be," said McCain.
He said New Hampshire voters take their responsibility as the first in the nation primary very seriously and always ask engaging questions about the most pressing issues at all of the town hall meetings he has held.
"I love the people. I love the spirit and I love the beauty" of New Hampshire, McCain said.
U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta, R-NH, who is running for reelection in the 1st Congressional District against former U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, said Romney deserves to be elected president because he will bring real leadership to the White House when it comes to the budget and foreign policy.
"The job when you get elected is to be an effective leader," Guinta said.
As far as the 2012 Presidential election is concerned, Guinta said voters are tired of seeing the political ads from both parties. "People want to know the truth," he said.
During the town hall forum's question and answer, Arete Pascucci of Andover, Mass., asked McCain when Romney was going to tell voters who he will fix the U.S. economy, deal with Medicare and Social Security and create jobs for the young people coming out of college.
McCain said that Romney has been doing that on the campaign trail, but is not getting good enough coverage from the media. "We don't have symmetry with the media," he said.
McCain said that between now and the next 50 days to election day, Romney will be providing a lot of information about his specific solutions to deal with those and other issues.
When asked by one Portsmouth area voter how Romney can appeal to younger voters, Guinta said the answer lies in getting them more involved.
"If you want to engage young people, elect young people," he said. He said that Romney and Ryan along with every Republican have to make the case to young voters and independent voters that Romney and Ryan have the experience to give young people more opportunities to succeed by creating jobs and lifting the average $51,000 of debt per person off their shoulders and also create a financial environment where it will be easier for young families to buy a home.