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Interview

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MR. DOOCY: The Democratic Party has announced that Barack Obama will accept the party's nomination in a speech to be given at Denver's 75,000-seat Invesco stadium. The speech will coincide with the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. How will Republicans follow that?

MS. CARLSON: Well, Arizona senator and presidential candidate John McCain joins us live from his headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, this morning. Very good to see you, Senator.

SEN. MCCAIN: Thank you, Gretchen. Good to be with you. Steve.

MR. DOOCY: Thank you, sir.

MS. CARLSON: I am going to get to that question in a moment, but I do want to get to what appears to be one of the headlines of the day with regard to something that President Bill Clinton said while he was in Aspen. Here's what he said, Senator.

He said: It's like, you know, anyone who's ever been a POW for any length of time. You will see that they go along for months or even years and then something will happen that will trigger all those bad dreams.

Your response to that?

SEN. MCCAIN: (Laughs.) I don't know where he gets his expertise. Look, that's -- I don't know how to respond to that except to say that some of the greatest moments in my life was I had the great honor of serving in the company of heroes and observing a thousand acts of courage and compassion and love. And those that I know best and love most are those I had the honor of being led by and served with, who inspired me to do things I never would have been capable of.

MS. CARLSON: But Senator, does it appear that this is a strategy by the Barack Obama campaign? Last week it was Wesley Carlson, and there were others before that, as well. This week it's Bill Clinton. They seem to be attacking your strongest point.

SEN. MCCAIN: Well, you know, they can -- whatever they want to do is fine. I think what Americans care about today is keeping their jobs, a better life, educating their kids, staying in their homes. Americans are hurting right now. We're talking about the economy this week and we're going to create jobs. We're going to keep taxes low. And difference -- Senator Obama wants to raise taxes. I want to keep them low. That's -- that's really what the American people are worried about and that's what we're talking about at the town hall meetings across the country.

MR. DOOCY: Right, and we had -- Senator, we had Steve Forbes on, just about an hour ago. And I know he's --

SEN. MCCAIN: Mm-hmm. He was great.

MR. DOOCY: And he's one of your -- one of your guys in your presidential posse. Anyway, he said that, quote, "Obama's tax plan will destroy America." Because he's pretty sure he's going to raise taxes on almost everybody. And he -- Steve Forbes quoted a resolution where he would have jacked up the tax rate on people earning as little as $32,000 a year.

SEN. MCCAIN: Well, he voted for a budget resolution twice, I think, that Senator Obama did that would have raised people's taxes everywhere. And right now he wants to raise the Social Security tax, capital gains tax, a quiet tax on the, quote, "wealthy." By the way, that's you guys. Watch out. (Laughs.)

MR. DOOCY: (Laughs.)

SEN. MCCAIN: And so -- so, you know, I mean, it's a fundamental difference that Senator Obama and I have. And you couple that with protectionism, his opposition to free trade, then I think you have a very potent mixture there, then. And we're going to be drawing out those differences throughout the campaign.

MS. CARLSON: Senator, in the last week you've had a campaign staff shake-up, so to speak. You now have Steve Schmidt in charge of things there. Going back to the anger question for a moment, I think some Republicans have said that they actually would like to see some of your anger come out. Is that plan with your campaign shake-up?

SEN. MCCAIN: (Chuckles.) Well, first of all, Rick Davis is still our campaign manager. Steve has taken on some more responsibilities, our -- thanks to the fact that we've succeeded. We've had to grow our campaign and grow it dramatically. And everybody's taking on more and more responsibilities. Rick Davis is still the guy in charge. And you know, these are the same people who -- (chuckles) -- by the way, that said that our campaign was dead several times. But that's -- you know, that kind of minutia isn't that important.

But, so -- but your second was --

MS. CARLSON: Well, I think some people want to see -- they're wondering if this shake-up will mean that --

SEN. MCCAIN: Oh. Oh, yeah, anger.

MS. CARLSON: -- you will start attacking Barack Obama.

SEN. MCCAIN: I respect and admire Senator Obama. There's significant differences between us. Do I get angry when we have members of Congress put in $200 million to a bridge to an island in Alaska with 50 people on it?

MR. DOOCY: Yeah.

SEN. MCCAIN: Sure I do.

MR. DOOCY: Right.

SEN. MCCAIN: The American people are angry when we see spending get completely out of control --

MR. DOOCY: Sure.

SEN. MCCAIN: -- when we see corruption that former members of Congress that are now in federal prison, of course. When I investigated Abramoff and people ended up in jail, of course we get angry. Americans are angry now.

MR. DOOCY: Right.

SEN. MCCAIN: It's -- it's a good thing to be angry. And right now they're angry, and they want -- and they want relief, and they want a better future than the one they've got now. And I'm outlining a plan to improve the economy, create jobs and keep their taxes low. (Chuckles.)

MR. DOOCY: Senator, before you go, on the 4th of July, The New York Times had an editorial -- an editorial where they took to task Barack Obama, who's had a bunch of flip-flops recently, regarding FISA, regarding also campaign finance, public financing, stuff like that, guns. We had one of their campaign guys on yesterday, and I asked them about the flip-flops and he said, "We haven't flip-flopped. We've been consistent all along." Wouldn't you call them flip-flops?

SEN. MCCAIN: Oh, I think there's been definitely shifts in position, and one of them is Iraq. And I will be -- wait and see what Senator Obama has to say after he returns, after meeting for the first time, seeking a face-to-face sit-down briefing from General Petraeus and visiting in over 900 days. And I'll be very interested in seeing what he has to say when he returns.

MS. CARLSON: Yeah, because he says that he will potentially change his mind based on what he finds out when he's on the ground there in Iraq.

Senator John McCain, always great to speak with you. We didn't have time to ask you what you grilled on July 4th, but I know you're the master barbecuer, so I'm sure it was good.

SEN. MCCAIN: Ribs, ribs, chicken.

MS. CARLSON: (Laughs.)

MR. DOOCY: Fantastic.

SEN. MCCAIN: Thanks. Thanks a lot.

MR. DOOCY: What's your -- by the way, what's your favorite sauce?

MS. CARLSON: (Laughs.)

SEN. MCCAIN: You know, I'd -- I use a dry rub.

MR. DOOCY: Okay.

SEN. MCCAIN: We'll get into that the next program, I'm sure, but that's what I use.

MR. DOOCY: Now you're just showing off.

MS. CARLSON: (Laughs.)

SEN. MCCAIN: Thanks, gang.

MS. CARLSON: All right.

MR. DOOCY: All right. Thank you very much. John McCain, joining us live from his HQ down in the D.C. area.

END.


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