ROCK HILL, S.C. – Republican presidential candidate John McCain brought his "No Surrender" campaign tour to early voting South Carolina on Saturday, urging people to pressure Congress to stay the course in Iraq.
He told a crowd of about 200 in the northern part of the state that they should call and write their lawmakers, including wavering Republicans, to support the military by telling legislators they "want to stand up for these young men and women" rather than set a date for surrender in Iraq.
The Arizona senator brought with him a copy of a newspaper advertisement bought by the group MoveOn.org that charged Iraq war commander Gen. David Petraeus with "cooking the books" on the Iraq war. It also played on his name by asking, "General Petraeus or General Betray Us?"
"My friends, that is a disgraceful thing," said McCain, a staunch war supporter, as he held up the ad for the crowd at a Veterans of Foreign Wars post.
He said terrorists blow up cars with children in them. "If they'll kill their kids, what will they do to our kids?" he said.
McCain appeared with his wife, Cindy, who was on crutches and wearing a brace because of a recent knee injury. He planned to take part in a rally and parade in Florence later in the day as part of a slew of campaign events he was to hold in the state through Monday.
Supporters said McCain, a Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war, was inspiring.
"I want to shake the hand of the person I'm going to vote for," said Betty Hunt, 66, of Rock Hill, as she waited to greet the senator after his speech. "He's a true person. He don't put on airs."
State Attorney General Henry McMaster, a longtime McCain supporter, appeared with the senator, and got a nod from the candidate with a reference to the state's 2010 gubernatorial elections. "He'd make a great governor," McCain said.