McCain assails pork-barrel spending

White House hopeful Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) Monday vowed to fight wasteful government spending if elected president.

In his second major policy address in a week, McCain said Republicans, after winning control of Congress, “forgot who we were: tight-fisted stewards of the federal treasury who keep our priorities straight.”

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The senator, who has a long history of fighting government waste, said spending has gone from irresponsible to indefensible, claiming “pork-barrel politics balkanizes America into competing interests groups just as race-based or religion-based or class-based politics do.”

McCain vowed to use the veto power often to fight pork-barrel spending.

“Give me the pen, and I’ll use it,” the senator said at a speech to the Economic Club of Memphis. “I won’t just talk about it or threaten it, or use it once and put it back in the drawer to gather dust. Give me the pen, and I’ll veto every single pork-barrel bill Congress sends me, and if they keep sending them to me, I’ll use the bully pulpit to make the people who are wasting your money famous.”

McCain also said he would reform entitlement programs, calling the Social Security program “unsustainable,” and promised to reduce trade barriers to keep America prosperous.