Haverhill, NH (CNSNews.com) - As Arizona Senator John McCain climbs in the polls, contributors are showing him the money: the Republican presidential hopeful raised more than $1 million last week, his biggest fund-raising success to date.
Most of that money came from fundraisers in Virginia and South Carolina and from direct mail and Internet solicitations. McCain'scampaign says more than 8,000 people contributed an average of $121 apiece last week.
By the end of the year, McCain will have raised around $13 million --almost twice the amount he gathered during the first nine months of 1999. With an additional $2 million transferred from his Senate campaign and more than $5 million in federal matching funds, McCain expects to boost his total campaign war chest to $20-million-plus.
On Sunday, the Arizona Senator told a New Hampshire audience he will consider naming Texas Governor George W Bush as his running mate, if he upsets the current GOP front-runner for the presidential nomination.
"I think he would make a fine vice president," McCain said in response to a question at a town hall meeting in Haverhill Sunday.
However, the Arizona Senator did not dismiss the possibility of naming Elizabeth Dole as his running mate. "I think she deserves consideration."
Repeating something he recently mentioned, McCain said retired Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Colin Powell would be his choice for secretary of state.
McCain used the stop in Haverhill, as well as an appearance before an overflow crowd in Burlington, Vermont, to discuss foreign policy and military preparedness, topics with which he feels very comfortable.
In a meeting hall filled with veterans, McCain told a questioner, he supports a missile defense system, but he said the problem lies with the generals and admirals in the Pentagon and the on-going squabbling between services. "I'd get those guys together, bang their heads and say, 'Look guys, the American people are losing confidence in your ability to develop a system.'"
Asked about the nuclear test ban treaty, recently voted down by Congress, McCain cited five former secretaries of state who argued the treaty could not be verified. "It never should have been voted on...it was embarrassing to the institution of the presidency."
McCain insisted the vote only highlighted the poisoned relationship between President Clinton and Congress. "There are too many Republicans who hate Bill Clinton...we've got to understand, we need to act in the national interest."
McCain's foreign policy pronouncements were well received by the gathering, which included a large number of World War II and Vietnam era veterans.
"I like his stands on the military. It's wrong to use the nation's Armed Forces as social workers who happen to carry guns," said Paul Martin, a Vietnam veteran who served two tours in that conflict. "John McCain also understands a great deal about sacrifice, something too many people just don't get."
"I like the fact that he speaks frankly and will tell you things you don't want to hear, but need to know, "said Sandra Carlyle of Burlington. "I really hate the pre-rehearsed answers so many of these guys give, and I think Mr. Bush doesn't have what it takes to do this job.
Asked about his abortion stand, a topic that appears to make McCain uncomfortable, the senator said he is pro-life, but he warned the issue has become dangerously polarized. McCain said both sides should be able to find some common ground on related issues, including adoption and foster care.
"The issue has been gripped by both sides of the spectrum, who have turned a cause into a business," he said.