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McCain proposes League of Democracies

From NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy
MONTEREY, Calif. -- In McCain's first major policy address since locking up the GOP nomination this morning, his campaign did its best to make its candidate look presidential. Using two teleprompters on the wings of the podium, McCain delivered a 30-minute speech that showed how a potential McCain presidency would try to change the shape of U.S. foreign policy.
 
Two new ideas came out of McCain's speech, both focusing on shoring up relations with the country's democratic allies.
 
"We have to strengthen our global alliances as the core of a new global compact -- a League of Democracies -- that can harness the vast influence of the more than one hundred democratic nations around the world to advance our values and defend our shared interests," McCain said, reading from prepared texts.

But during the question-and-answer portion of the event following his speech, McCain expanded on his "League of Democracies" proposal.

VIDEO: John McCain calls for the United States to work more respectfully with democratic allies and live up to its duties as a world leader.
 
"It's not just [a commitment of] mine. President Sarkozy of France is talking about the same thing; Prime Minister Brown of England, Chancellor Merkel is another talking about the same thing," McCain said in response to a question about containing an Iranian nuclear program, arguing that a coalition of democratic countries could be more effective in pressuring the Iranians to abandon their nuclear ambitions.  
 
McCain also floated the idea of a free trade agreement with the European Union, saying in response to an audience member's question that such a proposal would be "very interesting."
 
Speaking to reporters on his campaign plane following the event, McCain admitted that negotiations for such a proposal might be difficult.
 
"You notice that some of their environmental standards and labor standards are higher than ours, not lower," McCain said. "So it would be very interesting to see how those negotiations went and how the opponents of free trade agreements in general react to that."