WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. – John McCain and Gov. Charlie Crist, R-Fla., campaigned today in Florida in what could be a preview of the Republican ticket in November. Crist has been mentioned as a possible running mate for McCain, who spoke glowingly about him. "I think there are many ways for him to serve the country," McCain said. "But I also know that he committed to serve the state of Florida when he ran to be governor of the state of Florida."
The campaign has indicated they will start an in-depth vice presidential search soon. The VP spot is especially important for McCain, 71, who would be the oldest person ever inaugurated should he become president. "He's still a very young man," McCain said of Crist, who is 51. "The process is really open, but I know that Governor Crist will continue to serve this country in many respects in the future."
Their first stop at Howley's Restaurant and Diner here created chaos as people crowded themselves into all three rooms of the restaurant, while an overflow audience stood around speakers on the patio and in the street. McCain and Crist scooted through the diner shaking hands and signing autographs, including a group of third graders who waited patiently for them.
Even though the next election for McCain isn't for eight months, he still has public campaign events planned. "In order to maintain visibility nationally, it's going to be more difficult, obviously, because I am no longer in a competitive race," he said. "There will understandably be more attention to Senator Obama and Senator Clinton."
When asked if he would meet with Raul Castro of Cuba, McCain turned his answer into a criticism of Obama. "I would not in any way, as Senator Obama wants to do, legitimize an individual who has been responsible for education, repression, political prisons and a gulag," McCain said. "I don't know if [Obama] is naïve or not, I know he is inexperienced."
McCain also weighed in on the attack in Times Square early this morning. "The attack or attempted attack on the recruiting station in times square today was obviously an act that is unacceptable in America," he said. "I know that Mayor Bloomberg as well as other law enforcement agencies are actively working, but we can't allow this kind of thing to happen in America--a place where we are trying to attract young men and women to serve in the military--is an unacceptable situation."