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Campaign Monitor

McCain joins Brown for town hall event in Derry

  • Former New Hampshire presidential primary winner, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Az., right, speaks as former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Scott Brown listens during a town hall meeting Monday Aug. 18, 2014 in Derry, N.H. McCain is supporting Brown's bid for a U.S. Senate seat from New Hampshire where he moved to. He's in a primary contest against former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith and former state Sen. Jim Rubens. The winner of the Sept. 9 primary will face Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

    Former New Hampshire presidential primary winner, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Az., right, speaks as former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Scott Brown listens during a town hall meeting Monday Aug. 18, 2014 in Derry, N.H. McCain is supporting Brown's bid for a U.S. Senate seat from New Hampshire where he moved to. He's in a primary contest against former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith and former state Sen. Jim Rubens. The winner of the Sept. 9 primary will face Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

  • Former New Hampshire presidential primary winner, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Az., right and former Republican U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Scott Brown acknowledge supporters as they arrive on stage for a town hall meeting Monday Aug. 18, 2014 in Derry, N.H. McCain is supporting Brown's bid for a U.S. Senate seat from New Hampshire where he moved to. He's in a primary contest against former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith and former state Sen. Jim Rubens. The winner of the Sept. 9 primary will face Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

    Former New Hampshire presidential primary winner, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Az., right and former Republican U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Scott Brown acknowledge supporters as they arrive on stage for a town hall meeting Monday Aug. 18, 2014 in Derry, N.H. McCain is supporting Brown's bid for a U.S. Senate seat from New Hampshire where he moved to. He's in a primary contest against former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith and former state Sen. Jim Rubens. The winner of the Sept. 9 primary will face Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

  • Former New Hampshire presidential primary winner, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Az., right, speaks as former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Scott Brown listens during a town hall meeting Monday Aug. 18, 2014 in Derry, N.H. McCain is supporting Brown's bid for a U.S. Senate seat from New Hampshire where he moved to. He's in a primary contest against former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith and former state Sen. Jim Rubens. The winner of the Sept. 9 primary will face Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

    Former New Hampshire presidential primary winner, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Az., right, speaks as former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Scott Brown listens during a town hall meeting Monday Aug. 18, 2014 in Derry, N.H. McCain is supporting Brown's bid for a U.S. Senate seat from New Hampshire where he moved to. He's in a primary contest against former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith and former state Sen. Jim Rubens. The winner of the Sept. 9 primary will face Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

  • Former New Hampshire presidential primary winner, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Az., right, speaks as former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Scott Brown listens during a town hall meeting Monday Aug. 18, 2014 in Derry, N.H. McCain is supporting Brown's bid for a U.S. Senate seat from New Hampshire where he moved to. He's in a primary contest against former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith and former state Sen. Jim Rubens. The winner of the Sept. 9 primary will face Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
  • Former New Hampshire presidential primary winner, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Az., right and former Republican U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Scott Brown acknowledge supporters as they arrive on stage for a town hall meeting Monday Aug. 18, 2014 in Derry, N.H. McCain is supporting Brown's bid for a U.S. Senate seat from New Hampshire where he moved to. He's in a primary contest against former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith and former state Sen. Jim Rubens. The winner of the Sept. 9 primary will face Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
  • Former New Hampshire presidential primary winner, U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Az., right, speaks as former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Scott Brown listens during a town hall meeting Monday Aug. 18, 2014 in Derry, N.H. McCain is supporting Brown's bid for a U.S. Senate seat from New Hampshire where he moved to. He's in a primary contest against former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith and former state Sen. Jim Rubens. The winner of the Sept. 9 primary will face Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

U.S. Sen. John McCain joined Scott Brown at a town hall meeting focused on foreign policy in Derry yesterday, and the pair answered audience questions on topics ranging from Boko Haram to energy, poverty and Social Security.

They both panned what they called President Obama’s ineffective foreign policy strategy throughout the hourlong event at Pinkerton Academy.

“This president, since he has become president, I have never seen the world in greater turmoil than it is today,” McCain said.

Brown, who hopes to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen this fall, said she, too, often acts as a “rubber stamp” on the president’s “failed” policies.

“We need good leadership,” Brown said. “We have right now a senator . . . who votes 99 percent of the time with” the president.

For the second half of the town hall event, Brown called on members of the audience to ask questions.

Brown bemoaned the country’s current relationship with Israel, in response to a Derry resident’s question about that policy. “Israel is our greatest and best ally in that region,” he said. “It is the worst state of affairs since the creation of Israel between this administration and Israel.” On Iraq, Brown said it is important to deal with the Islamic State, which he said makes “al-Qaida look like Boy Scouts.”

On both subjects, McCain echoed Brown’s words, saying the relationship between the U.S. and Israel has “never been worse” and that the Islamic State is the “biggest threat we have ever faced.”

Several attendees said afterward that McCain – who won two presidential primaries in the state, in 2000 and 2008 – had been a draw for the event.

McCain “is definitely one of those people who can talk the talk and walk the walk,” said Pinkerton student Lauren Batchelder, who said she has always been a fan of the Arizona senator.

Because he supports Brown, she said she “definitely wanted to see what they both had to say.”

“I believe in Scott Brown and particularly John McCain,” said Harry Burnham of Windham. “It was a great opportunity to see the two of them together.” Burnham wouldn’t say who he will vote for in the Sept. 9 Republican primary, where Brown will face Jim Rubens and Bob Smith.

“We’re like all New Hampshire good, hard Granite Staters,” Burnham said. “We’ll reserve that until we get to the booth.”

Yesterday’s event drew nearly 200 attendees from across the state and at least two from Massachusetts, who each identified themselves before asking questions. “Many of us . . . want to see you back in the Senate,” said one man who told Brown he came up from the Bay State for the event.

Aside from the issues, another major theme at the campaign event was the importance of town halls.

Both Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who introduced Brown at the event, and McCain, who has held many of his own town halls in his two separate bids for the presidency, emphasized their importance and tradition in the state.

“When Scott Brown is elected U.S. senator, I look forward to doing town halls with him. I look forward to him doing town halls, because I know he will, to hear directly from you,” said Ayotte, who endorsed Brown earlier this year. “I have had tough town halls . . . but that is what town hall is all about, right?”

The Brown campaign has been hosting a series of the events focused on different subjects, called “New Hampshire Speaks,” and has criticized Shaheen for not holding open town hall meetings during the election.

Yesterday, Shaheen was in Portsmouth with Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, where they led a discussion with residents on women’s economic issues.

(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or at amorris@cmonitor.com.)

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