PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – Arizona Senator John McCain today formally entered the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination in New Hampshire, saying he was the most experienced candidate in the field.
“We face formidable challenges, but I’m not afraid of them. I’m prepared for them. I’m not the youngest candidate, but I am the most experienced,” McCain said in front of a crowd of about 300.
While McCain has said previously he would be a candidate, the formal announcement comes at a time when he is trying to jump-start his campaign. Over the course of the past year one Republican rival, Mitt Romney, raised more campaign funds McCain did in the first three months of this year. Another Republican candidate, Rudy Giuliani, has surpassed McCain in polls nation-wide.
The announcement in Portsmouth kicks off his announcement tour that will also take him to Iowa, South Carolina and Arizona.
In his 30 minute speech he discussed Iraq, government spending, securing entitlement programs, and tax cuts.
While he was joined by many who remain supporters from his 2000 campaign, many in the crowd said they were there out of curiosity to see a big political event in their hometown.
Among those was 24-year-old Joanne Pratt who walked from her downtown Portsmouth advertising firm to watch McCain.
“I think certain parts of what he said were interesting, but I wasn’t really sure what to think in the first place,” said Pratt.