Thursday, June 26, 2008 | 8:10 a.m.
THIS IS A PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT OF THE INTERVIEW I CONDUCTED WITH JOHN MCCAIN ON WEDNESDAY:
(Who is the real John McCain – the guy who voted 95 percent with the president or the guy in his first two ads running from George W. Bush like a scalded dog?)
Look at the voting records…..Senator Obama has the most extreme voting record in the Senate and does not have the record of reaching across the aisle
I disagreed with the president on climate change, on the conduct of the war, on detainees, on spending…Obviously there have been disagreements between myself and the president…There has been agreement on many issues……Americans are not getting to know me yesterday…They know me. They know I am a person who reaches across the aisle to get things done, whether it be my favorite Democrat Joe Lieberman or Ted Kennedy, or Bryon Dorgan, or Carl Levin or Russ Feingold. And I have a clear record of getting things done. Americans want that. Senator Obama has no record of that.
(Offshore drilling and change of position---situational principle?)
Gas is 5 dollars a gallon in Santa Barbara…What I am saying is if states agree…… we are in an energy crisis. We have to come up with many ways to try and solve this. My positions on the issues overall have been consistent but I gotta react to the realities of oil…Senator Obama has reversed his positions from the primary to the general….whether it be Ahmadinejad…he is rapidly changing his position on nuclear right now, whether it be on taxes….
(If states rights so important to you on offshore drilling, why isn't it states rights important on betting on college sports and Yucca?)
College betting is obviously an interstate commerce issue
(So Nevada should not have the right to have sports betting?)
The issue has been dead for years
(Despite your efforts, and I thought you were running on effectiveness, so how can it be dead?)
I haven't won on every issue. I didn’t win on immigration reform, but I'll go back at it. And I'm glad I did it.
(So you won't bring college betting back?)
No, I have some fairly high priorities….
(On nuclear waste)
If Yucca Mountain passes all of those tests that need to be passed…but reprocessing is vital, reprocessing has got to be part of it…Senator Obama is against reprocessing, against offshore drilling….he's against everything. The status quo is fine? No.
(But what about what your ally, Lindsey Graham says about more plants: "If you close Yucca, where do you put the waste?" Isn't that a good question?)
Reprocessing Isn’t that a good answer? That's what the Europeans are doing? Have you seen that? Yeah, flash—that's what the Europeans are doing. Hello?
(But Carter and give up on reprocessing, you know why he did that then?)
Yes, because Carter was a lousy president….Thsi is the same guy who kissed Brezhnev….
(What about Harry Reid's opposition to more coal plants here?)
My question is: What do we do? What's the answer? I ask that of Senator Reid and Senator Obama.
(They say renewables?)
Oh, I see. Then find me energy experts who will say renewables are the only answer…you need a variety of things, you need wind, solar… nuclear, clean coal technology…we've got to take this on the way we have taken on challenges in our nation's history. To just say renewables is the answer really flies in the face of what experts say…….we'rte going to build in America lots of power plants in the next 10 to 20 years because of demand. I'm told by experts that it's going to double. So what are we going to do? Build more coal-fired plants? You can’t do that? Build more nuclear? You see people who say, 'No,' as Senator Reid and Senator Obama are doing, at least have an obligation to say what they will do.
(Isn't calling for a gas tax holiday not straight talk but pandering?)
I don’t think so. When I meet a guy who owns two trucks that run on diesel, who says he's going out of business but may not have to if he is spared the 24 and half cent tax,which goes to things like a bridge to nowhere in Alaska.
(Wasn't that a Republican who proposed that?)
As you know, I've taken on Republicans and Democrats. Some of them dislike me intensely and some of them still won't endorse me…..Look all I wanted to do, and I didn't say it was an answer, was give people a little relief from their gas tax for the summer…..it is a fact hat lowest income Americans who drive the farthest drive the largest older cars…those are the people I wanted to give a little break to, that's all….
(What about Reid saying you are temperamentally unsuited to be president and have an explosive temper and everyone knows it?)
That's not unexpected for Senator Reid….He comes up to me all the time and wants to work with me. On the floor, he doesn't seem to be that concerned about it. You cannot make a record like I have accomplished legislatively…and get things done if you have some kind of a problem…..Harry didn’t mind asking me to go to dinner with him and to a a fight a couple of years ago., The only difference is I paid for my tickets; he didn't pay for his…That was rich.
(On the foreclosure bill in Congress)
It is imperfect but I am also saying, and I may not have said this a month ago, we may have to do more.
I don’t know, but we may have to do more….The housing crisis continues to deepen….
(Worried about third Bush term as issue and will every ad show you running away?)
You have to convince people that you have a plan of action. They are going to look at people's record and they should….Bob Dole, a great war hero, was not elected president (but) Americans appreciated his record and love him but he didn’t do as good a job as President Clinton did as to what do for them in the future……
(On why he didn't choose Gov. Jim Gibbons to chair his Nevada campaign?)
I appreciate his support. As you know, the lieutenant governor is our chairman.
(Why snub the governor?)
I didn’t mean to snub him,. I've known the lieutenant governor for 15 years and we've been good friends….I didn't intend to snub him. There are other states where the governor is not the chairman.
(Maybe it's the governor's approval rating and you are running from him like you are from the president?)
(Chuckling) And I stopped beating my wife just a couple of weeks ago….