Republican presidential contender John McCain is headed for Colombia
Tuesday as part of an effort to show his support for free trade and his
expertise in foreign policy. McCain's Democratic opponent, Senator
Barack Obama, spoke about faith Tuesday as he reached out to a group of
voters generally more supportive of Republican presidential
candidates. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone reports from
Senator McCain's trip includes stops in Colombia and Mexico.
is expected to highlight Colombian efforts against drug trafficking and
his support for a U.S.-Colombian free trade deal that has stalled in
the U.S. Congress.
McCain has criticized Senator Obama for wanting to re-negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.
Tuesday, McCain vowed to stay on the offensive against violent crime in
the United States and promised to appoint federal judges who have what
he called a proven commitment to judicial restraint.
be the kind of judges who believe in giving everyone in a criminal
court their due, justice for the guilty and the innocent, compassion
for the victims, and respect for the men and women of law enforcement,"
For his part, Senator Obama was in Ohio Tuesday,
reaching out to religious voters, a group that has been hesitant to
support recent Democratic presidential candidates.
promised to expand President Bush's program to give federal support to
faith-based charities to battle poverty, a program that some Democrats
"We know that faith and values can be a source of
strength in our own lives," he said. "That is what it has meant to me,
and that is what it has been to so many Americans."
Obama vowed to uphold the traditional separation between church and state in carrying out the programs.
Obama also remains on the defensive over the comments from one of his supporters, retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark.
told the CBS program Face the Nation Sunday that Senator McCain's
military experience in Vietnam did not necessarily qualify him for the
"Well, I do not think that riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president," he said.
McCain was shot down during the Vietnam War and spent 5.5 years as a prisoner of war.
comments drew fire from McCain supporters and even some Democrats, and
Obama was asked about it at a news conference Tuesday in Ohio.
McCain's service is heroic and he deserves out respect for that," he
said. "Now, I have differences with him on policy."
focus on faith came one day after he talked about patriotism, part of a
series of speeches leading up to the U.S. Independence Day holiday on