Republican presidential contender John McCain spent much of Wednesday
far from the U.S. campaign trail. McCain was in Colombia where he
praised the government of President Alvaro Uribe for its drug
interdiction efforts, but also urged the government to improve its
human rights record. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more
Senator McCain toured a Colombian port by boat
to get a first hand look at the country's efforts to cut down on drug
McCain was interviewed in Colombia by ABC's Good Morning America.
continued flow of drugs from Colombia through Mexico into the United
States is still one of our major challenges to all Americans," said
McCain. "And the Mexican government is struggling right now with
battles against drug cartels. Colombia continues to make progress, but
a large percentage of the amount of cocaine that continues to come into
the United States comes from this country."
McCain will also stop in Mexico on his way back to the United States.
presumptive Republican presidential nominee is also emphasizing his
commitment to free trade during his Latin American tour. McCain
supports a pending free trade agreement between the U.S. and Colombia,
which has stalled in the U.S. Congress because of human rights concerns.
also supports the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and
Canada and has criticized Democrat Barack Obama for wanting to
re-negotiate the trade pact if elected in November.
Obama, meanwhile, was in Colorado Wednesday speaking about the importance of volunteerism and national service.
has proposed expanding government funded national service programs like
Americorps inside the United States, as well as a plan to employ
military veterans in the rapidly expanding field of renewable energy.
Obama also spoke about how his service programs would have an impact overseas.
we are going to grow our foreign service, open consulates that have
been shuttered and double the size of the Peace Corps by 2011 to renew
our diplomacy," said Obama. "We cannot to continue to rely only on our
military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we
have set. We have got to have a civilian national security force that
is just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded."
speech was the latest in a series of events this week focused on
American values. Obama previously touched on patriotism and faith as
he seeks to tie his campaign into some of the ideals of American
citizenship in time for the July 4 Independence Holiday on Friday.
analysts say Obama has been moving steadily toward the middle of the
political spectrum in recent weeks as he tries to counter Republican
critics who say he is too liberal.