On the Trail in Pennsylvania
Over recent weeks, female supporters of John McCain (including myself) have been posting here at BlogHer about issues of concern to women across the country, including improving health care, helping small businesses, and reforming education. Plenty more of that will follow in the coming months, but today I want to take a moment to try to give BlogHers a glimpse behind the scenes of the campaign, from my perspective, as a woman working to elect John McCain. Specifically, I want to tell you a little about a trip I took earlier this week to Pennsylvania — a key state in the upcoming election, and one which John McCain believes he is well-placed to carry.
I do a lot of work to get John McCain’s message out and explain to voters what he is proposing in terms of economic policy, especially. Much of that involves TV, radio, traditional print media, and blog interviews. From time to time it does involve me going on the road, like I did this week for two days, riding on the Straight Talk Express across the Keystone State. Two days was a short period of time to travel from Scranton through to Pittsburgh, with multiple stops in between, and made for an intense trip. That being said, it was worth it to have the opportunity to meet and speak with so many Pennsylvanians of different political stripes and from different walks of life — from the farmer at the county fair to the teacher at a private gathering to the small-business owners at more than one roundtable discussion — who are supporting or seriously considering voting for John McCain.
Many of the Pennsylvanians I spoke to on this trip were women, and many were Democrats and independents, to boot. At our event in Clarks Summit on Monday, for example, about a third of the 75 people in the audience were Democrats. One, who spoke to a local paper before the event started, indicated she was backing John McCain on the basis of his experience. Traveling across the state, I spoke to a lot of people like her, for whom John’s experience was a draw. Certainly, the Pennsylvanians I spoke to were looking for change (of the right kind) — and John’s ability to reform Washington is one of his qualities that I frequently emphasize when speaking on his behalf. But experience is clearly a major concern for many voters in the Keystone State, as is the need to reduce partisan bickering and elect leaders willing to work across party lines and get things done on behalf of the American people.
Several of the other Democrats I met with at the event in Clarks Summit were voters focused on the latter imperative. They told me that in John McCain’s record they have identified a commitment to working across the aisle to get things done, which is a principal driver of their support for John. I agree that John’s record of bipartisanship — working with Democrats ranging from Ted Kennedy to Russ Feingold to Joe Lieberman — to overcome our most difficult challenges is one of the things that most commends him as a leader. Of course, I found it fascinating and encouraging that despite the Obama campaign and the DNC’s efforts to paint John as a partisan political animal, many Pennsylvanians with whom I spoke continue to see him for what he is: a maverick who is willing to stand up to his Party and to his president where warranted and, above all, an authentic leader.
John McCain’s capability as a leader typically has been most strongly associated with his expertise where national security and foreign relations matters are concerned. However, he treats economic issues with the utmost importance and he is actively advocating a pro-growth economic plan that will spur job creation. Those issues were a focal point of the discussion I had with small-business leaders at a roundtable event in Carlisle on Tuesday, where I talked about John’s plans to keep taxes low, maintain free and fair trade, implement a comprehensive “all-of-the-above” energy plan, and reform our health care system. These are critical steps to take if we are to help small businesses, and in turn the millions of Americans employed by them, including in parts of Pennsylvania where times are clearly tough. The more I talk to small-business owners and the workers employed by them, the more I find that what John McCain has to say is resonating.
That was true in Carlisle, but my gut tells me it is true in countless other small towns across the country, as well. I look forward to having more opportunities over the next two and a half months to speak with more Americans about John McCain’s experience, bipartisan record, and ability to lead with regard to the most critical challenges we are facing.
Carly Fiorina is the Victory '08 Chairman for the Republican National Committee, the Chairman and CEO of Fiorina Enterprises and the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Hewlett-Packard Company. She and her husband Frank have two daughters and two granddaughters. They split their time between Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C.