Ernst stumps with McCain


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Arizona Sen. John McCain returned to Iowa’s cutthroat political grounds Wednesday on an aggressive eight-stop tour where he signaled a three-pronged effort to elect the state’s Republican U.S. Senate candidate, denounce national Democratic leadership, and outline his plan to extinguish the growing threat of Islamic extremist group, ISIS.

The 78-year old senator, who has largely been an opponent of the two-term Obama administration, reinforced his support for state Sen. Joni Ernst Wednesday morning to a nearly packed room in the Coralville American Legion.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am to [soon] have someone on the [Senate] Arms Services Committee,” McCain told the crowd of approximately 60 about Ernst.

Both McCain and Ernst are outspoken proponents of the Second Amendment, and McCain said Ernst would be a critical player on the committee that is largely charged at guiding legislative oversight of the Defense Department.

According to a new Quinnipiac University poll released today, Ernst leads Democratic adversary Rep. Bruce Braley by 4-percentage points in the race to succeed retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin.

Harkin’s soon-to-be-open seat is one of a handful that both Democrats and Republicans have been vying to snag in Iowa, a state that has quickly become one of the most competitive, money-hungry 2014 midterm election environments.

The 10-minute address by the soft-speaking McCain heavily centered on attacks against Braley, whom Ernst dubbed as “wishy-washy” in regards to federal Veterans Affairs support and President Obama’s “reckless” foreign policy.

“ISIS is on the move,” McCain said. “They control land the size of Arizona. My friends, they want to come in and kill us.”

In an interview with The Daily Iowan following the nearly hourlong rally, McCain affirmed that he has no plans to re-seek the presidency after previous failed attempts, most recently coming in 2008 as the GOP nominee.

He was quick to laugh off such aspirations, proclaiming he is happier with his focus turned away from the White House.

“After I lost, I slept like a baby,” he said.

Instead, McCain honed in on a multistep plan to squash ISIS, which included implementing a no-fly zone in the Middle East, making Syria a war-buffer zone, and supplying the Free Syrian Army with American weapons.

That Free Army has been actively working to defend border towns against ISIS militants over the past several days, according to several national and international news outlets.

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