McCain Promises an Increase in Women by End of First Term

Jun 14, 2008 7:52pm

ABC News’ Bret Hovell reports: Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., promised today that he would increase the numbers of women in government if he is elected president.

"I assure you, with confidence, at the end of my first term you will see a dramatic increase of women in every part of the government, in my administration," McCain said. "I look you in the eye and I promise."

McCain was answering a question at a "virtual town hall" meeting, which his campaign promoted as an opportunity for presumptive Republican presidential nominee to reach out to independents and Democrats, and aimed at former supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton.

His opening remarks at the event included a long section of praise for Clinton, the Democratic senator who officially suspended her presidential campaign in early June.

"Every place that I go, I’m told that Sen. Clinton inspired millions of young women in this country," McCain said. "And not necessarily young women -– inspired a whole generation of young Americans in this country."

He stressed bipartisanship, and took several opportunities to mention his work with Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy, as well as Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold and North Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan.

McCain’s town hall was not open to the press -– reporters were invited to listen in on a conference call.

"We do many private meetings with potential supporters and offered the media an opportunity to listen to the senator’s remarks," said Brooke Buchanan, a campaign spokeswoman.

Buchanan said that 75 people were in attendance at the campaign’s Arlington, Va., headquarters, and that others participated over the phone.

Not all of McCain’s answers were likely to appeal to moderate voters. He stressed his continued support for the unpopular war in Iraq, and called Roe vs. Wade "a bad decision."

"I think we have to convince people that our view, that the rights of the unborn are as important as rights of the born," McCain said. "Because I think we share the same respect for human life."

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