New Jersey supporters of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) celebrated their candidate’s courage as they enlivened the crowd here at Burlington County Community College in advance of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s appearance.
McCain is campaigning in New Jersey today for the fourth time in five months, according to state Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Mercer), state campaign chair for McCain, who is serving as emcee here in Pemberton.
After receiving a standing ovation from the crowd of 2,000 here packed into the gym, retiring U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton (R-3) made his argument for McCain simple and straightforward.
"We need a president who has the courage to protect America,"Saxton said to applause.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-4) recalled working with McCain when the latter served in the Congress before moving up to the U.S. Senate. Smith noted McCain’s "candor, insight and quick mind."
But there was one defining quality.
"What I admired was his extraordinary courage," said Smith, before reminding the crowd of McCain’s five-and-a-half year imprisonment in the Hanoi Hilton during his Vietnam Service, and his numerous wartime decorations, including the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Distinguished Flying Cross.
"We live in dangerous and difficult times," the congressman said. "The challenge at home and abroad is enormous. We must address the global threat in a world awash with rogue states and terrorists. John McCain is uniquely qualified and equipped to be president and leader of the free world."
Also addressing the crowd was the man who hopes to win Saxton’s congressional seat, Medford Mayor Chris Myers, whom Saxton recognized as a Desert Storm Navy war hero in his own right.