McCain: Senate needs Norton

Candidate Jane Norton presents a pink promotional T-shirt to supporter U.S. Sen. John McCain.

The slayings of 10 aid workers in Afghanistan by the Taliban are a stark reminder of what could happen without American involvement there, U.S. Sen. John McCain said.

McCain stumped Sunday at Mesa State College for Grand Junction native Jane Norton, urging about 150 people to get out the vote in the Republican primary election.

Norton faces Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck in the GOP primary for the U.S. Senate, and the winner will face the victor in the Democratic Party primary pitting Sen. Michael Bennet against former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff.

Buck “has veered toward the isolationist and retreatist wing” of the Republican Party, Norton told supporters gathered on the northwest corner of 12th Street and North Avenue in a campaign stop designed to highlight differences between herself and Buck on the war on terror.

Buck has a “reckless misunderstanding” of the nature of the thinking that resulted in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Norton said.

The killings of the aid workers, for which the Taliban claimed credit, make it clear that the United States shouldn’t leave Afghanistan, McCain said afterwards. Six of the workers were Americans, including a former doctor from Durango.

“Obviously we need to secure the country,” McCain said. Such killings “are what happens if we leave.”

McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, urged supporters to vote for Norton, saying that she would be a valuable ally in the war on terror, dealing with illegal immigration and in repealing the health care legislation passed this year by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama.

“It’s good to be back in Colorado, and thanks for the water,” McCain quipped.

He campaigned on Election Day 2008 in Grand Junction. Norton, a former Colorado lieutenant governor, was chairwoman of his Colorado campaign committee.

He and Norton wouldn’t agree on everything, particularly water, McCain said, but they would work closely to reduce spending, gain more border control and end earmarks in legislation, or spending projects that aren’t heard of or approved by committees.

“It’s corrupting,” McCain said of earmarking. “I’ve seen it.”

McCain listed Norton among several GOP women seeking seats in the Senate, including Carly Fiorina in California.

“Republicans can take control (of Congress) in January, and this will be one of our leaders,” McCain said, pointing to Norton.

McCain and Norton stumped earlier in the day on the Front Range and on Sunday afternoon appeared together at a Norton fundraiser on the Redlands.


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