June 20, 2008 in Nation/World

McCain visits Iowa sites despite governor request

Mike Glover Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa – An aide to Gov. Chet Culver said Thursday that Republican presidential candidate John McCain ignored the governor’s request to cancel a campaign visit amid a massive flood recovery effort in the state.

McCain toured flood-damaged sites in Iowa on Thursday.

Patrick Dillon, Culver’s chief of staff, said the governor was concerned that McCain’s trip would divert local law enforcement from the flood recovery effort to provide security for McCain.

David Roederer, who chairs McCain’s campaign in Iowa, said McCain’s trip didn’t hamper Iowa’s recovery operation. He said McCain proceeded with the visit because the campaign was providing much of its own security.

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama canceled a scheduled visit to Iowa last week at the request of state officials.

“As a courtesy – and as we did for Senator Obama – we privately made an effort to make sure that Senator McCain knew that state and local resources were still being deployed to support the flood fight and that now may not be the best time for a campaign trip,” Dillon said in a statement.

Dillon’s comments came as President Bush toured the state; hundreds of law enforcement officers were diverted from flood recovery to provide security for him.

Culver, who endorsed Obama well before the primary campaign with rival Hillary Rodham Clinton was settled, is expected to be one of Obama’s biggest supporters in Iowa during the general election.

Dillon said the issue was not about the election but about recovering from flooding.

“At the end of the day, it’s not about politics but about what’s best for Iowa,” he said. “We hope any attention brought to the state – from Senator McCain or any other leader – will help bring assistance and enduring commitments to support Iowa’s recovery.”

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