U.S. Sen. John McCain, Republican Party nominee for president, addressed a packed ballroom of restaurant and foodservice professionals attending the 89th annual National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show at McCormick Place in Chicago this week. “I appreciate the hospitality of the National Restaurant Association and of the city of Chicago,” said McCain. “Considering that both of my prospective opponents call this city their home town, I've received a very warm welcome here.” And he surprised attendees by bringing Sen. Joe Leiberman along, referring to him as a friend and ally. "Our relationship far exceeds friendship," he said. "It's what Americans want to see in Washington." Hmmm, does that mean he's considering Lieberman, who shared the Democratic ticket with Al Gore in 2000, as a potential running mate? McCain, who was campaigning for votes, insisted the economic debate between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton was decided “before the first primary vote was cast,” with both candidates seeking a rise in taxes, more regulation of business and to spend more taxpayer money in Washington. “That’s their idea of change,” McCain said, “but it sounds familiar to me.” McCain proposed significant tax reform, a reduction in the corporate tax rate and federal aid to workers, who have been displaced due to outsourcing. “We need to invest in our own country and our workers,” he said. “You do that.” He also vowed to veto any bill that continues to give millions in subsidies to corporate farms and neglects to offer relief to small farmers in rural areas. His speech was interrupted by protestors lurking in the audience. Wearing pink aprons, they stood on chairs and chanted, “End the war, end the war.” McCain didn’t miss a beat and, after they were peacefully escorted from the ballroom, said they had the right to free speech. McCain applauded the restaurant industry, saying, “You in the restaurant and hospitality industry know a thing or two about competition and job creation. You and entrepreneurs like you have created 13 million of them, and in a strong economy your industry would likely create another two million jobs over the next decade. But many of those new plans and new jobs will depend on the choices we make in Washington. The American people want to see Republicans and Democrats working together for the good of this nation.” Now, that would be real change.