Monday, October 20, 2014
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John McCain has lunch at the Down Home Diner; and Rendell protests

The Republican presidential candidate makes a very quick visit to Philadelphia

John McCain has lunch at the Down Home Diner; and Rendell protests

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain and his wife Cindy eat lunch with a group of women at the Down Home Diner today. (Stephan Savoia/AP Photo)
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain and his wife Cindy eat lunch with a group of women at the Down Home Diner today. (Stephan Savoia/AP Photo)

John McCain came to Philadelphia for lunch today. He flew into the airport at 2 p.m., motorcaded into the Down Home Diner in the Reading Terminal Market, ate with seven working women, made a statement, and went back to the airport.

This was a strange event. The candidate's lunch with the women was private. So we have no idea what they talked about. And the statement he made when it was over was largely drowned out by several dozen supporters of Barack Obama chanting "O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma!" They were in the main part of the market, out of sight but certainly not out of earshot.

As best I could hear, McCain said he was glad to have the chance to meet with these women, saluted the role of small business in the economy, and said that his policies were the ones that would help the economy grow.

"Sen. Obama will raise taxes on small business and refuses to drill off-shore...We'll provide a tax cut for every family with a child. We're going to fix the economy and clean up the mess in Washington."

The senator was accompanied by his wife, Cindy, though not by his running mate, Sarah Palin. Earlier in the day, after a rally in Fairfax, Va., Palin left for Alaska; her son is to be ship off to Iraq tomorrow.

McCain shook off the Obama chanting: "We had a great time in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania's a battleground state, as you can tell."

And then he was gone.

Later, Gov. Rendell appeared and vehemently protested McCain's campaign ads. Inquirer staff writer Lisa Helmreich reported: 

  “He should stop misleading the American public and stop distorting Sen. Obama record on taxes,” said Rendell. Speaking outside the Reading Terminal Market,  Rendell, as he has for the last two days, objected to McCain’s claim that Obama will raise American’s taxes. Rendell said Obama’s plan would actually cut the taxes for 95 percent of the American families.
  
He said 75 percent of all Pennsylvanian households would get no tax cut under McCain’s plan.
 
 “That’s why McCain tells lies,” Rendell said. “He has a worse economic plan, but pretends that it would be a good plan. But the McCain tax cuts does not benefit  families.”
 
Rendell said he gave McCain aides a written letter protesting the advertisement, but has not yet received a response from the candidate. “If Sen. McCain is this decent and honorable man that he has said he is…he will stop distorting and stop lying about the Obama tax plan.” 

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Thomas FitzgeraldThomas Fitzgerald joined The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2000, and has covered Harrisburg as well as city, state and national politics for the newspaper. He was a “boy on the bus” in the 2004 presidential campaign and during primary contests in 2000 and 1996.

Nathan Gorenstein has covered politics and government in the city, state and nation for the Inquirer. He's worked in the city hall bureau, had a stint on the business desk, and once covered the suburbs. After serving as assistant regional editor, he was named editor of the "Politics" web site.

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