The ever-popular bar/bat mitzvah location for my friends of middle school days, the Jewish Community Center on Dahlia St. takes a break from such festivities to host John McCain today starting at 10 am.
McCain is in town holding a town hall meeting to discuss his health care plan. McCain’s position on the issue contrasts sharply with his Democratic rivals who have both called for differing levels of universal health care coverage—Barack Obama advocating mandatory coverage for children while aiming for universal insurance, Hillary Clinton requiring insurance for everyone. Both would pay for their plans by rolling back President Bush’s tax cuts for households making over $250,000 a year. McCain believes in the competition of a free-market system and encourages tax credits for individuals to purchase their own plans. He insists that a tax increase will not be necessary.
McCain was last in town in March for a fundraiser at the Denver Athletic Club with former Massachusetts governor and onetime GOP rival Mitt Romney.
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The choice of the JCC is a notable one for McCain, who is courting the traditionally-Democratic leaning Jewish vote with his staunch support of Israel. Polls taken after the Pennsylvania Democratic primary suggest that Clinton carried over 60 percent of the Jewish vote, giving credence to the reports that Obama continues to lack the support of establishment Jewish leaders. Eying Obama’s late condemnation of Jimmy Carter’s trip to the Middle East to meet with Hamas and his controversial former pastor Jeremiah Wright’s remarks that some believe cast Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan in a too-positive light, McCain sees an opening and hopes to strengthen his appeal amongst independents to include the Jewish community at large.
The choice of Colorado is also a notable one for McCain, who will have to play strong defense in the state to prevent it from falling into Democratic hands come November. Colorado’s nine electoral votes have long been targeted by the Democratic National Committee as key pickups in a state that epitomizes the western “purple” trend of growing urban centers and Latino populations who have bolstered Democratic registrations. As he looks forward to see a Democratic governor and State House, the Democratic National Convention arriving in August and the race for a highly prized open senate seat neck-and-neck, McCain may be making a few more trips to the Mile High City before November.
-- Joe Horton