• AACL

Members of the Albanian American Civic League board attend a reception at the St. Regis Hotel

John Mccain Picked Up A Big Endorsement In New York City, Where Albanians Came To Support Him Once Again


By BEQIR SINA, New York


St. Regis Hotel, New York City— The Albanian American Civic League, led by AACL President Joe DioGuardi, Balkan Affairs Adviser Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi, and Civic League board members, including successful businessmen Agim Aliçkaj, Zef Balaj, David Balaj, Arslan Çekaj, Vincent Saljanin, and Peter Saljanin, came to the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan on Tuesday, January 22, to support John McCain for President. DioGuardi said that: “Here is a hero, a man with great experience in the national security of the United States because of what he has done as a naval commander and what he has done on the armed service committee in the Senate. Now he is running for President but the best reason to support him is that he is a man of character. He told the truth to the people of Michigan—that they are not going to get back their old jobs in the automobile industry—just as he told the truth to the people of South Carolina—that they are not going to get back their old jobs in the textile industry. But, he said that we have to go forward, to find people new jobs in technology and other fields that will make America grow and become better than it was before.” said DioGuardi.


Republican presidential hopeful John McCain picked up a big endorsement in the city from New York Senator Alfonse D’Amato Tuesday. McCain and D’Amato appeared together at a news conference for the announcement before a fundraiser for McCain at the St. Regis in Midtown. “John McCain is a true national treasure, a true hero,” said D’Amato. “Last night I noticed that the Democratic candidates mentioned my name quite frequently. I’m always flattered to be mentioned in a Democratic debate,” said McCain. “But it’s pretty clear that they view me as a formidable opponent and I agree with them.” Two polls released Monday showed McCain pulling ahead of Rudolph Giuliani in the former mayor’s home state of New York. (Another poll released Tuesday showed the men in a virtual tie.)

John McCain’s 24-hour detour from Florida netted $1 million at this Manhattan fund raiser, his campaign said. McCain flew to New York from Fort Walton Beach and was scheduled to return later that evening to Orlando to continue campaigning in Florida for the Republican Primary on January 29.


In a special ceremony inside the U.S. Capitol on September 20, 2006, the Civic League gave their Sixth Annual Balkans Peace Award to Senators Schumer (D-NY) and John McCain (R-AZ) in honor of their historic support for Kosova’s independence and their introduction of S.Res. 521, a bill that “commends Albania for saving every Jew who lived in Albania or who sought asylum there during the Nazi Holocaust.” Albanians also remember with pride that, in February 2000, then Presidential candidate and former POW Senator John McCain addressed a rally in Manhattan to demand the release of Kosova Albanian prisoners in Serbian jails. DioGuardi talking to our newspaper : “First, let me say how proud I am that so many Albanians came to support John McCain. And why is this important? Since 1998 when we had the problems with Milosevic, McCain has supported everything that we have asked him to do for the Albanian people, including to arm the KLA. We are Albanian Americans and need a leader that is going to make this country strong. Who is better than someone who has been in the House of Representatives and the Senate for over 30 years? He was a naval commander during Vietnam, and he was a Prisoner of War (POW) for six years. When the Communists found out his father was the head of the naval fleet in the pacific they wanted to release him immediately. He refused and said that he would only go when my turn comes. And when he bailed out of that jet at 600 miles per hour, he broke both his arms and both his legs and then had little medical help from his Communist captors.


“Now the U.S. economy is sinking, who is the one that has been yelling about the big spending? It’s been John McCain going after the Congressional leaders, even in his own party, for what they call the “earmarks.” This means spending big money for what you want in your district, but may not be good for America, like “the bridge to nowhere” in Alaska that was exposed by John McCain. So I will tell you that as Albanian Americans we need to support John McCain because he has done everything we have asked him to do for Kosova, starting from the beginning in supporting the KLA and now supporting Kosova’s independence. He gave a speech two years ago in Brussels to say that independence is the only answer.”


DioGuardi said further that: “McCain is a great American, and Albanian Americans have to support someone who we can trust, who can tell the truth, who is ready to lead this nation, especially to solve the problems of national security in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was the first one to say let’s put more troops in Iraq for the surge. Now it’s working! He said that, ‘I would rather lose my race for the President than lose this war, because if we lose this war, then were going to see Al Qaeda back in the United States.’


“So I would tell you that Albanian Americans have every reason to support John McCain. I am proud that Albanians came out again tonight for Senator McCain. He knows who we are. In fact, the first thing that he said to me and Shirley when he came into the room at the St. Regis Hotel was ‘Joe, I saw your people in Michigan, and I saw them in South Carolina and New Hampshire.” Albanians are approaching McCain wherever he is and saying that they support him and are working with his friend, former Congressman Joe DioGuardi and his wife, Shirley Cloyes.’”

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