Republican presidential candidate John McCain took a midday tour of flood damage in Columbus Junction Thursday. McCain told reporters he was surprised by the extent of the damage.
"The senior citizens facility, right here, is underwater," McCain said. "Obviously that’s one of the community’s pride projects, taking care of our senior citizens. There’s going to be a need for long-term assistance as well as short-term assistance."
McCain complimented city leaders and residents in Columbus Junction for how they pitched in to help one another in the flood fight. "Frankly I’m very moved by the fact that…as they were mounting this effort to protect this town, there was a ton…a minute of sandbags being filled and placed to try to prevent this kind of damage," McCain said. "That’s volunteerism and participation at its best."
McCain stopped in Iowa on his way to a campaign appearance in Minnesota and made note of the national campaign news of the day, that Democratic rival Barack Obama was opting not to take up to $85 million taxpayer-dollars for his campaign. McCain accused Obama of breaking a promise to participate in the "public financing" system.
"(Obama has) motivated lots of people and millions of people have placed their confidence in him and his word, that his word is good and it’s very clear now that at least in this instance — and this is a big deal; it’s a big deal — he has completely reversed himself not on his word to me, but to the committment he made to the American people," McCain said. "That’s disturbing."
The Obama campaign says the public financing system has been so "gamed and exploited" by Republicans that "it is effectively broken." Obama has set private fundraising records throughout the campaign, with more than one-and-a-half million donors — most of whom gave small checks and can write another check without bumping up against contribution limits.
McCain plans to take the $85 million in taxpayer-financing for his general election campaign.