Politics & Government

Was that a near-gaffe at McCain's K.C. stop?

Sen. John McCain on Thursday renewed his call for a "brief" gasoline tax holiday — and quickly ran into a political fender-bender with his new Missouri campaign chairman, Sen. Kit Bond.

The Republican told an estimated 1,200 people at Kansas City's Union Station that suspending the federal tax on gasoline and diesel fuel would help put millions of dollars into the hands of businesses and lower-income Americans.

Such a holiday, he later told The Kansas City Star, could be justified by cutting wasteful spending: "The most pork barrel-laden aspect of everything we do are the highway bills."

One of the most vocal supporters of past highway bills? Bond, appointed this week as McCain's state chairman.

"Senator Bond and I have strong disagreement — have strong disagreement on pork barrel spending," McCain said. "We have fought on the floor of the Senate, and I think the American people are fed up with earmark, pork barrel spending which has caused corruption."

Bond — who opposes a gas tax holiday — deftly deferred.

"Senator McCain and I agree that wasteful spending should not be tolerated, but what the American people are really fed up with is $4 gas," he said in a statement.

McCain's renewed call for suspending the 18.4 cents-a-gallon federal gas tax came during a wide-ranging, one-hour town hall meeting at Kansas City's historic train depot.

The capacity crowd strained at times to hear McCain through the booming echo of the station’s north waiting room. But audience members applauded warmly and repeatedly as McCain riffed on a variety of topics — abortion, immigration reform, education and health care.

Read the full story at KansasCity.com.