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McCain Makes Fifth Visit to Ohio in Four Months

John McCain emphasized energy and the economy on a Wednesday campaign trip to Portsmouth High School in Ohio. The visit marked McCain's fifth Ohio visit in four months.

Speaking to a crowd of around 1,200 people at the high school's gymnasium, McCain mentioned his Democratic opponent only occasionally during the hour-and-a-half town hall-style meeting.

After outlining his plans for nuclear power, clean coal technology, the need for off-shore drilling and more energy efficient cars, McCain criticized Senator Obama's position on energy.

"My opponent's answer is no: no to more drilling no to nuclear power, no to research prizes that would help solve the problem of affordable electric cars. For a guy whose official seal carried the motto 'Yes We Can,' Senator Obama's agenda sure has a lot of 'no we can't,'" McCain said.

Much of the focus of McCain's message was the worsening economy and rising unemployment.

In response to an audience question about unemployment, McCain responded that job retraining is one solution to the unemployment problem. He also talked about his plan for energy independence, which would build up to 45 nuclear power plants, he said, and create 700,000 new jobs. Pursuing clean coal technology would add another 30,000 jobs, McCain said.

Senator McCain also promised to keep a watchful eye on government spending. He said that if he had been president, he would not have signed into law the recently passed $300 billion farm bill.

"It had $93 million in tax breaks for thoroughbred race horse owners. That's your money. It also had $15 million for asparagus growers. It also has obscene ethanol subsidies that have distorted the market. I opposed that bill, Senator Obama supported it. But I want to assure you I would veto it time after time," McCain stated.

McCain was not pressed to discuss his stance on immigration, which has been a hot button issue among conservative Republicans. When queried about the increasing divorce rate, his response left little doubt about conservative values of his Republican audience.

"We should do everything that we can, and one of those in my view is respect for human life - both the born and the unborn. It's one of the big differences between myself and Senator Obama who voted against - as a member of the Illinois State legislature - voted against a ban on partial birth abortion, one of the most odious things that I have ever heard of," McCain told the crowd.

Following the town hall meeting, Mike Lovenguth, who describes himself as a conservative Republican, said he felt reassured by much of what McCain had to say. Still, it seemed he would be casting a vote against Barack Obama rather than for John McCain.

"Senator Obama is the most liberal senator in the U.S. Senate. Many of his policies, his relationships, his ideas, his beliefs on issues are so extreme, and with Senator McCain you have a moderate Republican where more people can go with what he believes," Lovenguth said.

Prior to the McCain appearance, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland told supporters of presumed Democratic nominee Barack Obama that Ohio is in the fight of its life as voters help decide the race for the White House.