Fox News Channel "Fox News Sunday" - Transcript

Interview

By:  Lindsey Graham
Date: Aug. 3, 2008
Location: Unknown

MR. WALLACE: I'm Chris Wallace and this is "FOX News Sunday."

(Intro music plays.)

A world's words on the campaign trail. Barack Obama and John McCain on the issue of race.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL): (From videotape.) The only strategy they've got in this election is to try to scare you about me. He doesn't look like all the presidents on the dollar bills --

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): (From videotape.) Race will not have any role in my campaign, nor is there any place for it. And I'm disappointed that he's using it.

MR. WALLACE: What effect will negative campaigning have on voters? We'll ask top campaign advisers Lindsey Graham, McCain's closest friend in the Senate, and former Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle, co-chair of the Obama campaign.

Then Congress skips town for a summer break without addressing the energy crisis. How will that play across America? We'll ask our Sunday Gang -- Fred Barnes, Mara Liasson, Bill Kristol, and Juan Williams.

And our Power Player of the Week uses her fame to help stop a global epidemic.

All right now on "FOX News Sunday."

(Intro music ends.)

And hello again from FOX News in Washington. Well, the presidential campaign went negative this week with Barack Obama and John McCain talking more about each other's character than the issues.

Joining us now, top insiders from both camps -- Senator Lindsey Graham, who is McCain's closest ally in Congress, and former Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle, national co-chair of the Obama campaign.

Senators, welcome back to "FOX News Sunday."

MR. DASCHLE: Thank you, Chris.

SEN. GRAHAM: Thank you.

MR. WALLACE: Let's start with the comment that Senator Obama made three times on Wednesday, which started the confrontation over race. Let's watch.

SEN. OBAMA: (From videotape.) So nobody really thinks that -- that Bush or McCain have a real answer for the challenges we face, so what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me. (Laughter.) You know, oh, he's not patriotic enough. He's got a funny name. (Laughter.) You know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills.

MR. WALLACE: Senator Graham, when you see the context and the light-hearted mood, do you really think that Barack Obama was playing racial politics there?

SEN. GRAHAM: Absolutely. Because in June, a month before, and he said and did I mention that they're going to say he's black?

So to say that the Florida speech where he says, they're going to scare you; I'm young, I'm inexperienced, I've got a funny name, and did I mention he's black? Well, John McCain doesn't have a racist bone in his body. And there is no doubt in my mind that what Senator Obama is trying to suggest that he's a victim of something.

And when he mentioned Bush and McCain have no real answers, if you really believe that you're running against a guy with no answers to America's challenges, why won't you debate him? Why won't you go to a town hall, stand in front of the normal people and answer their questions?

So the whole thing is very disturbing. Why won't you allow the American people to look under the hood and test your tires on your ideas? But you say your opponent has no ideas, and you also suggest he's going to say the way he's going to get elected is to talk about your name, the way you look, and John McCain doesn't want to get elected on that.

So the idea he's not interjecting race, quite frankly, is not credible. We went through this in South Carolina. John has an adopted daughter from Bangladesh, the right. They said John McCain had an illegitimate black daughter.

Now, without John doing one thing, they're suggesting that Obama's a victim of John McCain interjecting he looks funny and sounds funny. We're not going to put up with this.

MR. WALLACE: All right.

Senator Daschle, we are going to get to the question of debating in the next segment. But Obama says words matter, and what he said there -- and it was the first time he specifically mentioned -- before, he'd said, they're going to say. For the first time he specifically said, John McCain and George W. Bush are going to try to scare you about the way I look and that I don't look like other presidents.

MR. DASCHLE: It wasn't how he looks. What he was saying, Chris, all along is that Barack Obama has a different resume, a different style, a different approach. He has brought real change to Washington, and --

(Cross talk.)

MR. WALLACE: But Senator -- (inaudible) -- for a second. He said, you know, he doesn't look like all those presidents on the dollar bills.

MR. DASCHLE: Well, he's younger. He's younger, he's --

MR. WALLACE: So that's what he was saying, just that he's younger?

MR. DASCHLE: No, no, no. What -- he has never said that he believes that John McCain is a racist. He's never said anything that he was using race in this effort. You can't quote him. You can't find him saying that.

What he is saying is that he is a different kind of candidate, a different kind of leader, a person who has come to Washington with a different agenda of someone who really does want to be a vehicle for change.

This is change versus the status quo. And when the McCain campaign couldn't get any traction on the issues, they go after him personally. They go after him as a person who really doesn't fit the political mold.

So that's really where, I think, the American people ought to -- deserve more and really expect a higher level of debate than this.

What we ought to be talking about, Chris, are the issues.

MR. WALLACE: Well -- we're going --

MR. DASCHLE: We ought to be talking about energy, we ought to be talking about Iraq and foreign policy, the economy --

MR. WALLACE: We're going to get to those in a moment.

MR. DASCHLE: But we're talking about Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. Who asked about Britney Spears and Paris Hilton? It was John McCain.

MR. WALLACE: But -- may I ask --

MR. DASCHLE: Who ran the ad?

MR. WALLACE: Wait, wait, wait. (Chuckles.) May I just ask Senator Graham a question about that?

Even before the race controversy, Obama -- or rather McCain -- was running one negative ad about Obama. And let's take a look at one attack and Obama's response. Here they are.

(Video clip begins.)

ANNOUNCER: He's the biggest celebrity in the world. (Sound of crowd chanting "Obama!".) But is he ready to lead? He's practicing the politics of the past. John McCain -- same old politics, the same failed policies.

MR. WALLACE: Senator Graham, doesn't Obama have a point that McCain right now is spending more time and more of his money running down Obama than presenting his own plans?

SEN. GRAHAM: John is out there every day, all over the country, at every -- in town hall meetings taking every question anybody can ask him, having his ideas tested --

MR. WALLACE: So why's he running an ad about Britney Spears and Paris Hilton?

SEN. GRAHAM: Because Senator Obama did something no one has ever done that I know of -- go overseas and have a rally in front of 200,000 adoring fans and talk like you're the embodiment of America, that he is, in fact, living off celebrity, not ideas.

And one of the campaign issues is credibility. To say that Barack Obama did not intentionally inject the idea that he was going to be a victim of his name and his race is a lie. You do not go to Florida in June and say, they're going to try to make you afraid of me. He's young, he's inexperienced, he's got a funny name, and did I mention he's black? Well, who the hell is "they"?

Later on, in July, just a couple of days ago, three different times he's going to say Bush -- he said Bush and McCain are going to make you afraid of me. He doesn't -- he's got a funny name; you know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills.

To say that that's not trying to interject the idea that you're a victim of John McCain trying to make fun of your name and your racial background is a lie.

MR. DASCHLE: Chris -- Chris.

SEN. GRAHAM: Now, that needs to be admitted to. We're not going to run a campaign like you did in the primary -- every time somebody brings up a challenge to who you are and what you believe, you're a racist. That's not going to happen in this campaign.

MR. DASCHLE: Well, first of all, again I say John McCain is not a racist. Nobody's ever accused him of being that.

But you've just seen the evidence here. You've just seen exactly what Barack is talking about. If you're going to say that Barack Obama is no better, no different than Britney Spears or Paris Hilton, what is that? That's exactly what Barack is talking about, Chris. That's exactly what Lindsey seems to overlook here.

And we've talked about changing the tone. I can't think of a worse tone than simply going negative and using these kinds of accusations and allegations over and over again.

MR. WALLACE: But Senator --

MR. DASCHLE: And there isn't a thing -- I can't think of a positive thing that John McCain has had to say about Barack Obama for more than two months now --

MR. WALLACE: But Senator Daschle --

MR. DASCHLE: -- virtually since the time he was the nominee.

MR. WALLACE: If I may, McCain, it seemed to me and, I think, to a lot of people, tapped into a growing issue, and that is the issue of whether Obama is arrogant and acting as if he's already president.

I want to show you what he said to House Democrats in a closed caucus this week. Let's put it up on the screen.

This is Obama talking to them, according to someone who was in the meeting -- This is the moment the world is waiting for. I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.

Senator Daschle, wouldn't a little modesty serve Obama well?

MR. DASCHLE: Chris, first of all, that's a third-hand report, and I've never heard Barack Obama use the word "I." Never. In all the time I've been with him, he has not used the word "I." He uses "we." And when he said --

MR. WALLACE: I am a citizen of America. I'm a citizen of the world?

MR. DASCHLE: That's not what he said. I doubt very much.

MR. WALLACE: Well, that's what he said in Berlin. We can get the tape of that, sir.

MR. DASCHLE: He has basically -- what he is saying is that, look, this is an opportunity for us to take this country and this generation on a new course, that we really have to recognize that unless we change, unless we put this country back on a higher level, unless we address the issues of real interest to the American people -- the economy, the environment, the energy crisis we're facing, our precipitous fall from grace around the world -- unless we address that, we're never going to be the kind of American -- will never have the kind of American future we need so badly. That was the message of Barack Obama.

MR. WALLACE: All right. Let me deal with energy. Late Friday Senator Obama said -- who has repeatedly said that he opposes offshore drilling, said that as part of a comprehensive plan, he would now consider that component. Has Obama flipped in his opposition to offshore drilling?

MR. DASCHLE: Barack Obama's always been in favor of offshore drilling, but what he said is let's use first the 68 million acres that are already out there. There is absolutely no reason why we can't begin where we've already got an opportunity. Four million barrels --

MR. WALLACE: But he was talking -- clearly, in this question on Friday, he was talking about expanded offshore drilling.

MR. DASCHLE: Well, what he said is, look, what I propose and what I would support are two different things.

He's not going to lead with something like this, but what he has said is that when Republicans and Democrats come together, Chris, to talk about solving a problem -- and Lindsey's done this on many occasions -- working with Republicans, working with Democrats to try to find compromise, you're going to have to give some.

You're going to have to concede some things to get other things, and that's really what the group of 10 tried to do. They overcame their objections to some things to find the compromise, and that's what Barack was saying we ought to see more of in Washington.

MR. WALLACE: Let me ask Senator Graham about that. Senator McCain flipped on offshore drilling a few weeks ago. What's the difference?

SEN. GRAHAM: Right. Well, he flipped more than a few weeks ago, and he will tell you, I've changed my position; I will now support lifting the moratorium. And John McCain's going to come out with a proposal, John McCain's plan for offshore drilling. He changed his mind because of $4 dollar-a-gallon gas. It's okay to change your mind in politics if it benefits your country.

Now, it's not okay to break your word. If you say you're going to accept public financing, Tom, and you sign a pledge then you change your mind because it gives you an advantage, that's not good.

But I hope that Senator Obama will change his mind about offshore drilling. But this issue of whether or not he's a leader, this is a good test. If you want to be a leader of this nation and solve problems that affect the American people -- and they are so disappointed in their Congress --

We're out of session. We're out of business on energy when we should be in session doing the American people's business. Pick up the phone and tell Nancy Pelosi, who says offshore drilling is a hoax; Harry Reid, who says drilling is a red herring. Call the Congress back in session.

He's the leader of the Party. You're a great guy, you know all these people. Let's get the Congress back in session -- John will come off the campaign trail -- and put Barack Obama's plan for offshore drilling on the table, side-by-side with John McCain's plan for offshore drilling.

Nuclear power, John is for recycling of spent fuel; Senator Obama's not. Let's have a debate and start voting on issues that matter to the American people.

MR. WALLACE: Senator -- Senator Graham, under that same thinking, why doesn't, as the leader of the Republican Party, why doesn't John McCain call the president and say, call Congress back into special session?

SEN. GRAHAM: I -- I --

MR. DASCHLE: (Off mike.)

MR. WALLACE: But wait, let's let Senator Graham answer that.

SEN. GRAHAM: I think we should. I think we should go back in session. I think --

MR. WALLACE: Is Senator McCain going to call President Bush, as the leader of the Party, the new leader of the Party, and say, call Congress back in special session.

SEN. GRAHAM: I will -- I recommend that he will do that, that we come back off of recess and we take up a comprehensive approach to energy.

And what I would like John to do and Barack Obama to do, if he's for offshore drilling, give us a plan. Where would you drill; how many barrels would you get?

If he wants to be a leader, not a celebrity, pick up the phone -- he's the leader of the Party -- and tell Nancy Pelosi to open the House up for business.

MR. DASCHLE: You know, Chris, we've got to have some equal time here. And I've got to say what we ought to do is get the administration to do what they should have done a long time ago.

They should have opened the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. They should have shown some leadership. You don't have to call Congress back into session. Just what the White House has failed to do over the last eight years is enough to keep them busy for more than six weeks. They're going to have all kinds of responsibilities if they take that responsibility seriously.

And look at what they could do with executive orders. Why aren't we using all of that land that hasn't been drilled so far? Why haven't we begun to open up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, like we should have?

Why haven't we put more emphasis on conservation? Why aren't we looking for solutions here in this country? We have had zero leadership from the Republican White House, and that's exactly what we'll get with another four years of Republican leadership in the White House or in the Congress.

MR. WALLACE: I want to bring up one last area, Senator Graham. Speaking of flip-flops, Senator McCain made a doozy, some would say, this week on Social Security, in the space of just three days.

Let's take a look at what Senator McCain said on Sunday and then what he said on Wednesday. Here it is.

(Begin first video clip.)

SEN. MCCAIN: We all have to sit down together with everything on the table.

Q: So that means payroll tax increases are on the table as well?

SEN. MCCAIN: There is nothing that's off the table.

(Begin second video clip.)

SEN. MCCAIN: I want to look you in the eye. I will not raise your taxes, nor support a tax increase. I will not do it. (Applause.)

MR. WALLACE: Senator Graham, after all that, a conservative columnist in The Wall Street Journal asked the question is John McCain stupid? And he went on, this isn't a flip-flop; it's a sex-change operation.

SEN. GRAHAM: Well, as I understand Senator Obama's approach to Social Security --

MR. WALLACE: Well, I'm asking about Senator McCain's.

SEN. GRAHAM: Well, I am. I am going to tell you.

Senator Obama says that he wants to raise the Social Security tax on all income above 250,000 (dollars), 12.4 percent on all income above 250,000 (dollars), to save Social Security. You can't tax your way into solvency.

Senator McCain believes you cannot tax your way into Social Security solvency. If you want to deal with Social Security, you've got to deal with all the moving parts. That is whether or not you're going to allow young people to invest, have an account in their own name. Do you adjust the age? Do you just reschedule the benefits based on upper-income people?

John is not going to tax our way into solvency, because it will ruin the American economy.

MR. WALLACE: I'm just going to ask you a straight question.

SEN. GRAHAM: However, everything --

(Cross talk.)

MR. WALLACE: On Sunday he said it is -- that the idea of raising the payroll tax --

SEN. GRAHAM: It's raised every year. See, the payroll tax goes up every year based on wage growth.

If we can get a --

MR. WALLACE: He was talking about raising it on the income level as part of the solution --

SEN. GRAHAM: Yeah. That's not a solution. If it's part of in a comprehensive approach. But to raise taxes to save Social Security from bankruptcy won't happen. It's a dumb idea. It won't save Social Security. It'll hurt the economy.

MR. DASCHLE: This is why Lindsey is so good at what he does.

SEN. GRAHAM: And that's the big difference between him and Obama.

MR. DASCHLE: This is the most gaffe-prone presidential race I think we've seen in a long, long time. And it takes a Lindsey, as good as he is, to try to explain it.

You can't explain away a gaffe of that magnitude. The Wall Street Journal is right. We don't know what we're going to get with John McCain. The more he talks, the less certain we are about any of the positions he's taken.

MR. WALLACE: All right. We have to take a quick break here, but when we come back we'll discuss the latest on Iran, in debates, and the choice of vice presidential running mates. Back in a moment.

(Announcements.)

MR. WALLACE: And we're back now with our presidential campaign insiders, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and former Democratic Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

Well, the news out of Iraq this week is that five American troops were killed in combat in July, by far the lowest monthly total of the war. President Bush cut tours of duty from 15 months to a year. Talks about more troops possibly coming home soon.

Senator Daschle, I know -- I don't want to go backward to the surge and getting into Iraq originally. Going forward, what is the difference between Obama and McCain and how they will end U.S. involvement in Iraq?

MR. DASCHLE: Well, Chris, we really don't know John McCain's position. He's had several of them. First he said it's 100 years that we may have to be there; then he said, you know, maybe 16 months is a reasonable period of time. So I don't know what his latest position is.

But what Barack Obama has said from the very beginning is that we have to be consistent. We have to begin drawing down the troops. Let's put the kind of pressure on a diplomatic surge that could make a big difference in bringing about the desired result.

That's really what the bipartisan policy commission had proposed, and I'm very pleased to see that not only has the Maliki government, but even the Bush administration now acknowledged that that time frame may be realistic. So that's what Barack has said.

But the key here is not Iraq alone. The key is to look at the larger issue, to look at our foreign policy challenges and the things that we have to do in Afghanistan, the things we have to do worldwide to fight the war on terror and the other things that have to be done.

MR. WALLACE: Well, let's -- let me bring in Senator Graham. What do you see as the difference, at this point, going forward, between Obama and McCain on ending U.S. involvement in Iraq?

SEN. GRAHAM: That Senator McCain will make sure to listen to General Petraeus. General Petraeus has earned American people's trust, and any commander-in-chief, quite frankly, Tom, that doesn't listen closely to what General Petraeus and Admiral Mullen has to say are making a huge mistake.

And here's what they tell us -- We want to withdraw troops based on conditions on the ground. That when we move a brigade out in the future and draw down our troops, that the enemy will not be able to take the land that we paid such a heavy price to gain, that we will sit down in collaboration with the Iraqi government, the Iraqi military, and withdraw our troops based on conditions. And we want them home tomorrow, if we could bring them.

But this issue says all you need to know about this campaign. When Iraq was about to fall apart, when John McCain said, argued with his own administration, told Rumsfeld he was wrong, got accused by Republicans, Tom, of being disloyal, being the only voice out there that this policy's going to fail, we don't have enough troops.

Every Democrat, including Harry Reid, said the war was lost. John McCain said, we've got to send more troops. Senator Obama said that won't help; it will hurt.

John was right about the surge. He risked his own career, and he's right about how to go forward -- listen to General Petraeus.

MR. WALLACE: Senator Daschle, you talk about looking at the whole region. Iran's president said yesterday that that country will not give up, quote, a single iota of our nuclear rights -- ignoring a deadline set by the U.S. and all of our allies around the world for ending its nuclear program.

What would President Obama do now about Iran?

MR. DASCHLE: Well, he has been consistent from the very beginning on this, Chris. What he has said is that this -- that Iran does pose very serious threats to the region and to us, that we have to take these threats very seriously. But that the first step shouldn't be bombing the country or a military confrontation.

The first steps ought to be real effort at dialogue and bringing -- ratcheting up the pressure. That's exactly now what the Bush administration is doing. The Bush administration and others ridiculed and criticized Barack for taking that position; we've got Bill Burns actually making overtures now in Iraq (sic).

MR. WALLACE: Undersecretary of State.

MR. DASCHLE: And we've set up an interest section in Iran. That's exactly what Barack Obama has advocated.

MR. WALLACE: Senator Graham?

SEN. GRAHAM: Well, all I can tell you is that thank God that Senator Obama wasn't making policy on Iraq. He doesn't understand to this day, Tom, that if you lose in Iraq it's a big loss in the greater war. If you had lost in Iraq, the biggest winner would have been Iran, the topic we're talking about.

They were ready to fill the vacuum of a failed state in Iraq. Al Qaeda would have claimed victory (and/in ?) every moderate force in the world --

(Cross talk.)

MR. WALLACE: All right. But what would President McCain do now on Iraq?

SEN. GRAHAM: It's about moderation and extremism. The question for the world, is Iran an extremist regime? Are they trying to develop peaceful nuclear power or a nuclear weapon?

I believe deeply that we're on a collision course with Iran, that the Europeans, the Russians and the Chinese need to help us more. Because you're right; we need to make sure sanctions work.

But here's what John McCain understands -- don't elevate the tyrant. He would never sit down with Ahmadinejad without preconditions, because that is the worst thing you could do.

Barack Obama's judgment on Iran has been terrible. He would empower the very forces we're trying to control by elevating them in the world's eyes. So there's a huge difference here.

MR. DASCHLE: Well, there's a huge difference even in terms of knowledge, of working knowledge. I mean, we -- I think John understands now that Iraq doesn't have a common border with Pakistan and the difference between Sunni and Shi'a.

And I think that we can go and argue the case going all the way back from the beginning here -- was Iraq a mistake or not? Barack Obama will continue to insist it was a mistake.

MR. WALLACE: We're not -- I don't want to go down that route.

MR. DASCHLE: Well, but Lindsey is saying that --

(Cross talk.)

MR. WALLACE: I know, but I'm the host. I don't --

MR. DASCHLE: I'd love to have that debate. As long as you --

(Cross talk.)

MR. WALLACE: Okay. We do have limited time. I do want to ask you, Senator Daschle, because there obviously are some sharp differences between these two candidates.

Yesterday, the Obama camp accepted the three standard presidential debates and said it is, quote, "likely" that those will be the only debates in this campaign. Whatever happened -- and this is a question that Senator Graham brought up in the first segment -- whatever happened to all the talk about debating any time, anywhere?

MR. DASCHLE: Well, Chris, we have offered -- counter offered -- John had suggested some ideas for town hall meetings. We counter offered with some other ideas, and said that we'd be happy to negotiate. We never got a response back, so we don't know whether that was a legitimate request for some dialogue and some real possibilities for negotiating more --

MR. WALLACE: Does the Obama camp -- are they willing to have more than the three presidential debates post-convention?

MR. DASCHLE: Well, at this point we're really down to convention time, and then we've got two months. So you can't -- there really isn't a lot of time for additional debates now. But a month ago or two months ago when we counter-proposed ideas, there was all kinds of opportunities.

No one should criticize Barack Obama about debate. I don't know of any candidate, John McCain included, that has had more debates in this election than has Barack Obama. Twenty-one or 22 debates in the primary. He's going to have at least three additional debates now in the general. He's offered to have -- he had offered to have even more debates beyond that.

So Barack Obama understands the importance of debates and has had more than his share.

MR. WALLACE: Senator Graham, briefly, because I want to move on to something else.

SEN. GRAHAM: Well, let's just be real honest. To suggest that John McCain has not tried to have debates with Barack Obama, hasn't been talking about it constantly, is just ridiculous.

Barack Obama said nobody really -- so nobody really thinks Bush or McCain have a real answer for the challenges we face. We have been begging the guy to debate us. He doesn't want to come into a town hall meeting and take questions.

I don't kwon -- I can't translate Obama-speak. I have no idea of what he's saying or what he means. Soaring rhetoric, feel-good persona, ever-changing positions. The reason we're not in town hall meetings testing these two candidates is because Barack Obama doesn't want to be tested.

MR. DASCHLE: And if you believe that, Chris -- that's crazy.

SEN. GRAHAM: That's why we're not having these debates, and to say that it's John's fault, that John's interjected race, that John doesn't want to debate, that John doesn't understand the Mid-East is absolutely ridiculous. And that's why we're going to win this race.

We're not afraid of our ideas. We're ready to be asked questions by anybody in this country with him standing right there beside us -- let him give his answers, look under the hood, check the tires.

But no, he's running out the clock. He's trying to say that John McCain is George Bush, and he won't challenge his own party to solve any nation's problems. Have the House and the Senate go back in session.

MR. WALLACE: Okay. Okay. All right.

MR. DASCHLE: You know, when you're behind you make statements like that and hope people will believe.

SEN. GRAHAM: Lead! Lead! Just don't talk. Lead. Get your hands dirty.

MR. WALLACE: Okay. We've got a couple of minutes left. I want to cover two last areas. Vice president, obviously we're getting down to the short strokes on that. Senator Daschle, given his brief time in national politics, does Senator Obama need to pick someone who has more foreign policy experience?

MR. DASCHLE: Chris, from the very beginning what he has said is that it's judgment, not experience. You look at Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, and that makes the case against experience, in my view.

I think that you've got to take people that have good chemistry, that'd make a good president. We're looking for judgment first and foremost; that's the most important issue.

MR. WALLACE: Senator Graham, given all of McCain's talk about Obama's inexperience, can he pick a governor who will have even fewer foreign policy credentials than Obama?

SEN. GRAHAM: I think John is well positioned to tell the American people, without having to blink or to be confusing, that I'm ready to be commander-in-chief.

The big difference in this campaign is John McCain is the best- prepared person to be commander-in-chief since -- Eisenhower. Senator Obama is the worst-prepared person to be commander-in-chief at a time of war in the history of America.

John needs to pick a running mate he feels comfortable with, that could take over if something happened to him. He'll put the country first, above all other considerations, on this issue as well as others.

MR. WALLACE: All right. We have about a minute left. Senator Daschle, I have to ask you about another piece of news.

Back in 2001 an envelope containing anthrax was sent to your office. Now the late suspect in the federal investigation has committed suicide. Have federal authorities briefed you about this investigation and whether the case is closed?

MR. DASCHLE: Chris, they haven't. And I think the American people deserve more of an accounting on this investigation and some appreciation of how to bring this to closure.

I don't know anything about the most recent development, and that's unfortunate. I think all of us -- not only those of us directly affected, but all of us need to know more than we do today.

MR. WALLACE: Do you think, given the fact that this gentleman committed suicide this last week, that there was a federal investigation, that it's been a reasonable amount of time, or do you think that they should have gotten in touch with you already?

MR. DASCHLE: Well, I think that it's -- from the very beginning I've had real concerns about the quality of the investigation. Given the fact that they already paid somebody else $5 million for the mistakes they must have made gives you some indication of the overall caliber and quality of the investigation.

And I'm hopeful that someday soon we'll have the answers we deserve.

MR. WALLACE: And what's you reaction to what -- if only through newspapers and media -- what you have learned so far about this scientist, Bruce Ivens?

MR. DASCHLE: Well, unfortunately, it doesn't bring anything to closure. And we don't know. This probably further complicates their ability to get to the facts.

I don't have any idea how close they were of accusing him, of indicting him. I don't know whether this is just another false track and that -- a real diversion from where they need to be.

We don't know, and they aren't telling us.

MR. WALLACE: Senator Daschle, Senator Graham, we want to thank you both so much for coming in and talking about a lot of issues with us. Please come back, both of you.

MR. DASCHLE: Thanks, Chris.

SEN. GRAHAM: Thank you.