McCain faces divisive crowd on Syria in town hall - New York News

McCain faces divisive crowd on Syria in town hall

Updated:
PHOENIX -

Senator John McCain held a town hall at the Phoenix Library Thursday about whether the United States should attack Syria – and he caught an earful.

While the senator backs a military strike, a lot of people say the U.S. should stay out.

This was a loud, sweaty, contentious affair, with shouting, heckling, and a lot of raw emotion. People are sharply divided on what to do.

Senator McCain walked into the town hall meeting and the insults started flying.

The senator is saying President Obama is right: America has to attack Syria.

Amid heckling, he said, "You know I just said at the beginning of my remarks we will respect everyone's view."

"Unless we act in my view, in some fashion that would give him [Bashar Assad] a green light to use chemical weapons again -- but also the Iranians who are building nuclear weapons, the North Koreans and others," said Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Many people in the audience are clearly not buying it.

"Why are we not taking care of our own people? 85% of U.S. citizens do not want this third war," said one member of the crowd.

"I cannot fix their home. You cannot come into my home and fix it unless I fix it myself. How can America go into someone else's home to fix it," said another.

Some said a U.S. Military strike is a good idea.

"This is a human being. We have to get rid of whoever did this crime. This is a crime against humanity. Bashar Al Assad is a criminal. And everybody knows, how can we support him?" said one supporter of intervention in Syria.

The senator said American can't afford to stay on the sidelines.

"When we ignore events around the world they sooner or later come home to the doorstep of America," said McCain.

Senator Jeff Flake agrees with Senator McCain. We spoke to him by phone late Thursday afternoon.

"I think if we fail to act on this in some form or fashion it hurts Syrians and really affects our credibility," said Flake.

What if congress votes down military action against Syria? Should the president act on his own and attack? Senator McCain would not speculate on that.

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