Top 10 stories of 2008: No. 9 - McCain presidential campaign highlights Prescott connection
During his 2008 campaign for U.S. president, Sen. John McCain put Prescott in the national spotlight more than once while emphasizing his historical connection to Arizona's territorial capital.
His first public campaign visit came on Saturday, April 5 during his "Service to America" tour, the only stop in Arizona during that tour which highlighted areas with a significant impact on his values.
Then he returned to Prescott on election eve Nov. 3, hoping for another big comeback like the one he had during the Republican primary.
The latter visit was the bigger extravaganza, featuring country western star Hank Williams Jr., Sen. Joe Lieberman and several Congressmen from Arizona and elsewhere. An estimated 10,000 people crowded onto the historic plaza. Protesters generally stood outside the rope lines.
During his 11-minute speech, McCain touched on familiar themes of reining in government waste, his experience in world affairs and his desire to help struggling American families.
"I will keep Americans in their home," McCain said. "We will realize the American dream when I'm president of the United States."
McCain lost the next day to Barack Obama.
During both visits to Prescott this year, McCain spoke on the same county courthouse steps where his U.S. Senate predecessor Barry Goldwater stumped for the job of president on Sept. 3, 1964, before losing in the general election to Lyndon B. Johnson.
During his April visit, McCain offered his perspective on the bipartisanship of two legendary Arizona politicians, Republican Goldwater and Democrat Mo Udall, and pledged to continue their example. Udall, who served Arizona's 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives for 30 years through 1991, also ran for president and lost. Jimmy Carter beat him in the 1976 primary.
McCain highlighted Prescott's role in Arizona's political history during the April visit.
"Prescott is where our beloved Barry Goldwater formally began his Senate campaigns and his campaign for the presidency on the steps of the Yavapai County Courthouse," McCain said at the start his speech. "As his successor and in deference to his tradition, I have ended all my Senate campaigns here.
"Prescott, Arizona's territorial capital, occupies a special place in the history of Arizona, and in the Goldwater legend."
McCain noted how the friendship between the Goldwater and Udall families began with Barry's and Mo's grandfathers Michael and David, the patriarchs of Arizona's most famous Republican and Democratic families.
"The grandsons of Michael and David, despite differences in political parties and philosophies, were very, very close friends," McCain said. "The friendship of Barry Goldwater and Mo Udall was based in their mutual respect for each other's character, devoted service to the state they loved, and patriotism."
Barry Morris Goldwater spent his summers in Prescott while growing up.
Barry's Uncle Morris had the strongest connection to Prescott. After helping with family stores along the Colorado River and in Phoenix, he and his brothers Henry and Baron (Barry's father) opened a Goldwater mercantile store in Prescott in 1876.
Morris served as Prescott's mayor for a combined 20 years. He also held many other political titles.
Barry said Uncle Morris' example of public service had a major influence on him.
Morris Goldwater died in Prescott in 1939 and is buried at the Masonic Cemetery here.
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