McCain’s next stop: Aspen |

McCain’s next stop: Aspen

Edward Stoner
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

Mary Altaffer/APRepublican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., left, arrives at Eagle County airport with his wife Cindy, Thursday morning.

EDWARDS, Colo. ” Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain will be in Aspen Thursday afternoon, after wrapping up a fund-raising lunch in Edwards, Colo.

“Everyone is so excited about this,” said Henri Stone, a local resident who heads up the McCain campaign in Eagle County.

McCain headed to Edwards for a $1,000-per-plate luncheon, where about 300 donors were expected to attend.

Avon Mayor Ron Wolfe, one of the donors who planned to attend the event, said he and his wife were going to donate to the Arizona senator’s campaign anyway.

“So we’re going to make a donation, and also have the chance to meet in the next president of the United States up close and personal,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe said McCain is the best candidate to get the U.S. out of Iraq in an appropriate way, and also the best candidate for figuring out a national energy policy.

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“I think McCain is the right person,” Wolfe said. “I don’t think it’s a third Bush term.”

McCain has a few Eagle County connections. Local resident and Vietnam veteran Tom Kirk was a prisoner of war alongside McCain in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.”

Kirk will serve as a delegate at the Republican National Convention, when McCain is expected to accept the party’s nomination, at the beginning of September.

Also, local homeowner Jack Kemp, the Republican vice presidential candidate in 1996, served in the U.S. House of Representatives with McCain in the early ’80s.

Both Kemp and Kirk spoke at a McCain fundraiser, which the candidate didn’t attend, in Beaver Creek last month.

McCain will travel to Aspen after his Edwards appearance, where he will speak at a sold-out engagement at The Aspen Institute at 3 p.m. and attend an evening fundraiser. He’s scheduled to discuss the world economy with institute president and CEO Walter Isaacson.

It’s McCain’s second public appearance in Aspen in as many months. He made a brief stop in Aspen on July 25 to meet with the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan leader was in town for a program at the institute.