McCain in Mid-Michigan

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Some of mid-Michigan's most prominent Republicans stood aside to welcome a man with national political prominence.

"John McCain of Arizona," Rep. Joe Schwarz (R-Mich.) announced to a crowd of supporters.

The onetime and perhaps future presidential candidate was addressing the gathering in support of Schwarz, with the GOP primary just months away.

"Joe Schwarz brings unique credentials to the Congress of the United States," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said.

Like McCain, Schwarz is seen as a moderate Republican.

Talking about immigration, Schwarz demonstrated why that perception persists.

"It's not going to be what everyone on the left writes which is a general amnesty ... It's not going to be what people on the right want which is to go out and arrest 11 million people who are here illegally. It'll be something down the middle," Schwarz said.

McCain also emphasizes a down-the-middle approach.

"It's not so much are we moderate or conservative, as much as it is are we willing to reach across the aisle on certain issues of national interest," McCain said.

The two discussed their similar views on other issues, like support for the war in Iraq and criticism of excessive federal spending.

But the one-term congressman predicts the biggest issue in his campaign will be the Michigan economy. He says the federal government can play a role in improving it.

"We have got to re-examine the federal tax structures," Schwarz said.

Despite talk of tax cuts, Schwarz now faces a Republican challenger who claims the congressman isn't conservative enough.

"Both of them are in opposition to the marriage amendment ... On the issue of immigration, Joe Schwarz has come out in support of Sen. Kennedy's (D-Mass.) position ... It fairly clearly defines that Joe Schwarz is a liberal and I'm a conservative," Schwarz challenger Tim Walberg said in a phone interview Saturday evening.

The congressman brushed aside the challenger's complaints.

"I'm a fiscal conservative. Have been all my life. I have the voting record to prove it," Schwarz said.

The public event featuring McCain and Schwarz came after a private fundraiser with an estimated 70 to 80 patrons paying $1,000 to be there.

Now, it's up to the larger pool of voters to decide if Schwarz is worth their vote -- and a second term in Washington.