John McCain visits California

March 26, 2008 7:19:50 PM PDT
Senator John McCain returns to the Bay Area for the first time since becoming the GOP'S presumptive nominee for president.

Senator McCain began his day in Los Angeles, where he gave a major foreign policy address before heading to Pebble Beach for a fundraiser.

On a day when the violence in Iraq has only intensified and a cease fire is on the brink of unraveling, Senator John McCain addressed the World Affairs Council in Los Angeles.

"Civil war in Iraq could easily descend into genocide, and de-stabilize the entire region as neighboring powers come to the aid of their favored factions," said GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R) Arizona.

Ed Laurance is the Dean of the International Policy School at the Monterey Institute for international studies.

"He's doing the right things for a Republican candidate for president and this is the easiest of things for him to do, is to stay the course for the war in Iraq," said Dean Laurance.

In Basra and Bagdad two days of fighting have killed at least 55 people and wounded 300.

The violence is the result of fighting between Shiite militias and government forces.

In Sadr City and Karbala, hundreds of Shiites took to the streets, demanding the government stop military operations in Basra and other cities.

McCain is flying across California, standing his ground.

"I believe a reckless and premature withdrawal from Iraq will be a terrible defeat for our security interests and our values," said Senator McCain.

Senator McCain brought his message to a fundraising luncheon her in Pebble Beach. It was closed to the media. Supporters paid $2,300 dollars a person to attend the private event.

In Monterey, Democrats and labor leaders had a different message. The surge is not working.

"We have been sold something that is not making us safer, it's not making the region safer. What we really need is a different approach," said Monterery County Democratic Party Chairman Vinz Koller.

Ed Laurance is convinced that more time in Iraq will not necessarily mean more success.

"It's basically we've inserted ourselves into a situation that's going to be very hard to achieve our goals in my view," said Laurance.

As senator McCain moves from fundraiser to fundraiser, any worsening of the Iraq situation is about as welcome as the current economic crisis in the U.S.