Mack teams up with McCain at Tampa campaign stop

TAMPA — In his quest to unseat Florida's Democratic senator, GOP U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV toured the state Tuesday with former presidential candidate John McCain, stopping in Tampa.

"There is a clear choice in this election," Mack told a room full of supporters in a Mitt Romney Victory campaign office on Gandy Boulevard.

It was the final stop on a campaign tour that included Jacksonville and Pensacola and featured U.S. Sen. McCain of Arizona, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee.

With two weeks until Election Day, they drew a distinction between Mack and his opponent, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

"Sen. Nelson has voted for higher taxes 150 times. I've got this litmus test: If you've voted for higher taxes 150 times, it's time for you to go," Mack said.

McCain championed Mack's record as a congressman — a record he said includes voting against the health care law known as Obamacare, the Dodd-Frank regulation on the banking industry, and the automatic budget cuts that would especially affect the military.

"I've been around enough campaigns — winning and losing — to know that this enthusiasm that we're showing right now, it convinces me that Connie Mack will be the next senator from the state of Florida," said McCain.

McCain asked the room to support GOP presidential candidate Romney and Mack with votes, andtheir time.

He encouraged them to use the days before the election to get more voters to the polls, especially Florida's 1.6 million veterans and their families.

"I want to assure you that with a $16 trillion debt, that went from $10 trillion to $16 trillion in four years, with a debt of $51,000 for every man, woman and child in America, with deficits that never end, for Obamacare that will increase the cost of health care dramatically, for all the things that we have seen this administration do, we've got to elect Mitt Romney," he said.

Mack made the case for Romney as well, but reminded the crowd that a Senate majority for Republicans would be important.

"If we work together and win this race, John McCain will have a gavel in his hand in the United States Senate. And Harry Reid will no longer control the agenda," he said.

Mack said that, if elected, he would sponsor legislation for the United States to stop funding the United Nations. He stirred rancor in the crowd over a report that a group affiliated with the U.N. would send poll watchers to the United States for the election.

"The only people who are going to observe our elections in the United States are Americans," he told the cheering crowd.

In a conference after the event, McCain said he wasn't in total agreement with such legislation, but noted he also doesn't agree with everything the U.N. does.

U.S. Sen. John McCain, center, and Rep. Connie Mack greet a crowd at a campaign stop Tuesday in Tampa. “If we work together and win this race, John McCain will have a gavel in his hand in the United States Senate,” Mack said.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times

U.S. Sen. John McCain, center, and Rep. Connie Mack greet a crowd at a campaign stop Tuesday in Tampa. “If we work together and win this race, John McCain will have a gavel in his hand in the United States Senate,” Mack said.

Mack teams up with McCain at Tampa campaign stop 10/23/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 9:22am]

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