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McCain Advocates for Religious Freedom


From CBS News' Andante Higgins:

John McCain will reach out to social conservatives today, addressing religious freedom, human trafficking and internet child pornography.

"There is no right more fundamental to a free society than the free practice of religion," McCain will say, according to excerpts provided by the campaign. "Behind walls of prisons and persecuted before our very eyes in places like China, Iran, Burma, Sudan, North Korea and Saudi Arabia are tens-of-thousands of people whose only crime is to worship God in their own way."

McCain has been outspoken on the brutal treatment of monks in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, and of the failure of Myanmar's government to adequately prepare its people for the devastating cyclone that has killed tens of thousands there. "It's not astonishing that the government of Burma didn't even warn the people of the country that the cyclone was going to hit," McCain said. "They live under one of the more oppressive and repressive regimes in all the world."

McCain will also speak about human trafficking in the U.S. and abroad. He calls it "modern day slavery" and will insist that the U.S. work to stop this practice at home and work with other nations to abolish it. "Most of the victims of human trafficking in the United States and in most other places in the world are the most vulnerable among us, destitute women and children who are sold into bondage as sex slaves," he will say.

He will also propose coordinated efforts among state and local enforcement to halt child pornography and child sexual exploitation online. "Child exploitation in any form must be stopped and those responsible must be punished to the maximum extent of the law," he says.

As his Democratic rivals split votes in Indiana and North Carolina last night, McCain attended at $2300 per head fundraiser in Michigan. Former Republican candidate Mitt Romney was scheduled to appear but had a last minute scheduling conflict. The McCain camp has not announced how much was raised, but aides tell CBS News it was a very successful night.

Later today McCain has fundraises scheduled in New York and will appear on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

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