Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee spoke to members of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce Monday, the day before North Carolina's primary elections.
McCain discussed comprehensive immigration reform, alternative energy, the war in Iraq and the need for students in engineering and agriculture fields.
"We've got to look carefully at education in America," McCain said while responding to a question about the need for engineering and science students in the nation.
According to McCain, the government needs to provide additional incentives to those willing to work in these fields, including scholarships.
McCain emphasized a need for "comprehensive immigration reform."
"We are a Judeo-Christian-valued nation and we must address it in that fashion," he said.
Immigrants are God's children too, he said, so the nation must understand they are coming here for the same reason its forefathers did.
McCain said temporary worker programs are important as well as border security.
"As much technology as we can give the border patrol, the better off we'll be," he said.
McCain said America has the highest-quality healthcare in the world, but there are problems with its affordability and availability.
"I want the families to make the choices on their healthcare," he said.
According to McCain, the Democrats' idea of universal healthcare is not the way to go.
"We saw this movie once back in 1993" when Sen. Clinton pushed for universal healthcare as well, he said.
"We beat it then and we'll beat it again," he said.
Instead of a government-controlled health care system, McCain said he would "give every American family a $5,000 refundable tax credit," so they could choose their own health care plan.
"[I have] no doubt that [the war in Iraq] was mishandled for nearly four years," he said.
The current troop surge is working, he said, and he would rather "lose a campaign than a war."
McCain also said he believed global warming is a real problem, and said the country must be careful in how it manages alternative fuels.
"I'm all for every type of alternative fuel," he said. "But I'm not for distorting the market."
But green energy will bring jobs to the economy, according to McCain.
"It will be an economic boom for America," he said. "Whenever there's innovation in America, prices go down.
As gas prices rise, McCain said a gas tax holiday would be viable, and the idea does not deserve the negative response it has received from economists and Sen. Barack Obama.
"You'd think it was the end of western civilization as we know it, to give low-income [citizens] some help," he said.
Thomas Gibson, a member of the Chamber of Commerce and a businessman in Charlotte, said he agreed with McCain, but there should be a long-term plan too.
"Obamasays [the gas tax holiday] only saves, right now, a small amount of money," he said. "That is going to help out Joe Q. Public. But that alone isn't the answer."
Gibson said he believes McCain one of the few Republican options who would be electable in this election.
"I'm a fiscal conservative and socially moderate," he said. "He best supports my values and my family's values. He's someone who's going to be able to balance our economy and our security as a whole."
Gibson said while the country is not yet in a recession, the economy is getting worse.
"You don't tax your way out of a recession," he said.
McCain emphasized his ability to work alongside Democrats, but closed by saying he had strong differences in policy from the Democratic candidates, Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
The Democratic candidates would bring higher taxes, he said, as well as a date for withdrawal from Iraq, which he said would translate to "chaos" and "genocide," if troops left.
"I look forward to that campaign. I look forward to discussing [these issues] and I'm prepared to win it," he said.
Louis Moore, another member of the Chamber, said is likely to vote for McCain, because he thinks less government makes for a better government, and the Democrats are not supporting that idea.
"There's going to be a stark contrast between [McCain and either Democrat]," he said.