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Public Statements

FOX News "Hannity & Colmes" - Transcript

Interview

By:
Date:
Location: Coopersburg, PA

MR. HANNITY: Earlier today, I sat down with Senator McCain and Governor Palin on the campaign trail at the headquarters of Lutron Electronics in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania. Let's take a look.

(Begin videotaped interview.)

MR. HANNITY: You just came off your debate last night, Senator. And you just came off your debate last Thursday. Do you critique each other? Do you give each other advice?

SEN. MCCAIN: No. The only advice we give each other is to have fun, two words. And we talk before the debates and just "have fun." And it was obvious that certainly Sarah was having fun in her debate, and I was trying to have fun in mine. And I think we did.

MR. HANNITY: But you did have fun. Was there a moment maybe before the debate where you're nervous, you begin to feel the pressure? It ended up being 70-some-odd million people -- we don't have the numbers from last night -- watching the debate. Was that rolling through your head, or are you just focused on what the mission is?

GOV. PALIN: Just focusing on the mission. And it was helpful, though, that you called me right beforehand. And he said those two words. He said, "have fun."

MR. HANNITY: Have fun.

GOV. PALIN: Have fun.

MR. HANNITY: No pressure. (Laughs.) But while I have you both together, I want to talk about, Governor, we discussed that you two had discussed the role that Governor Palin would play in a McCain administration.

Between the two of you, Senator, we'll start with you, tell us what do you envision for the governor as her role?

SEN. MCCAIN: Well, first of all, she's probably one of the foremost experts in this nation on energy issues. She was responsible for -- make a long story short -- a pipeline, a $40 billion pipeline, bringing natural gas from Alaska down to the lower 48. She has been involved in these issues of energy in many unique ways, including being on the board that oversights the natural gas and oil resources and other resources for the state of Alaska. And so I think there's nobody more qualified to take on our mission of becoming energy independent.

Second, obviously, she's been a great reformers. I still don't think a lot of Americans appreciate what it's like for a Republican to take on an incumbent sitting governor of your own party. It almost never happens. You wait until they retire or whatever it is. So it's clear that she's got a great record of reform.

And finally, you know, those special-needs families. You know, after a debate, you always kind of wish you had said something. And one thing that I wanted to say was that at our town hall meetings we have lots of families show up with children that have autism and other special-needs families. Obviously, Sarah Palin wants to take on that task of helping relieve the burden, find what's causing autism, find a cure for it. So I think that those responsibilities, not only would I like for her to do but she's uniquely qualified to do.

MR. HANNITY: On top of all the other responsibilities of being vice president, and that means national security and all the other issues.

SEN. MCCAIN: Can I just say -- one second?

MR. HANNITY: You could do whatever you want. (Laughs.)

SEN. MCCAIN: Energy is national security. National security is energy. If we don't become independent of foreign oil, we are going to have greater national security challenges.

MR. HANNITY: Well, maybe then I could have you two debate among yourselves on this one point because Governor Palin, you have said you're trying, you're working on Senator McCain on the issue of ANWR. And you said you haven't had success yet, but you're still trying.

GOV. PALIN: The important thing to remember, though, is that we're on the same page in understanding it has to be an all-of-the- above approach to dealing with the energy crisis that we're in. It's gotta be the alternative sources of energy getting plugged into the solution here, certainly the domestic supplies of conventional sources also being tapped into, and then we've got to remind Americans that an effort has got to be even greater today towards conservation because these finite resources that we're dealing with, obviously, you know, once the oil is gone, it's gone. Once the gas is gone, it's gone. And I think our nation has really become kind of spoiled in that arena.

So it's an all-of-the-above approach that he embraces. And that's good. That will lead us to that energy independence as opposed to the other ticket where they have said no, no, no to every domestic solution that has been proposed. And that was kind of perplexing last night listening to Barack Obama's position all of a sudden saying yea to clean coal and perhaps yea to offshore. He's so on record as having opposed, and Senator Biden also having opposed those.

So you know, I think last night, coming away from your debate, too, one of the things that I got out of it was I think Barack Obama is drilling for votes. I don't think that he's too keen on drilling for those sources of energy that we need.

MR. HANNITY: Well, you had pointed out about Governor (sic) Biden had once said, used the word "raping" the Outer Continental Shelf, proponents of drilling. But last night, you brought up the fact that Senator Obama was against nuclear energy.

SEN. MCCAIN: He says we've got to develop the technology. Go to the United States Navy! We're sailing ships with nuclear power plants. Visit the French, the British, the Japanese. They all reprocess spent nuclear fuel.

What Senator Obama has done, he's very good with words. He's very eloquent. But when you look past it, he has opposed offshore drilling, and he has opposed nuclear power.

I mean, again, one of the things I was trying to stress in the debate last night -- look at the gap between his rhetoric and his record, the most liberal senator in the United States Senate. That's why I urged the people last night go to these websites of the National Taxpayers Union, Citizens Against Government Waste and these other watchdog organizations.

Finally, this may sound a bit gratuitous, but at least because Governor Sarah Palin is so persuasive, I would like to come to Alaska -- I haven't been there in many years anyway -- maybe I'll agree to go visit that area and have a look. (Laughs.)

MR. HANNITY: Are you going to take him moose hunting?

GOV. PALIN: Yeah, let's do that, too, while we're at it.

MR. HANNITY: Would you do that, Senator?

SEN. MCCAIN: We can catch some fish. You know, but moose hunting is fine. (Laughs.)

(Pause videotaped interview.)

(Announcements.

)

(Resume videotaped interview.)

MR. HANNITY: This came up last night, and this came up in your debate here. You used the line last night, which interestingly was a line that Senator Biden used about Senator Obama back when they were debating, and that is the presidency does not lend itself to on-the- job training. That raises the question -- I mean, because it seems to me a narrative has emerged, you know, the same lines that were used in the first debate by Senator Obama were used by Joe Biden in the second debate were used by Senator Obama in the third debate. Do you really believe that Senator Obama is prepared to be president of the United States? Does he have the experience?

SEN. MCCAIN: I don't, but I'll let the American people make a judgment in just 28 days. But I think he lacks the experience and the knowledge and, most importantly, the judgment that he has displayed, the judgment that he displayed over his comments when Russia committed aggression against Georgia and his failure, as I mentioned last night, to acknowledge that he was wrong about the surge. He, in my view, does not have the judgment necessary to lead this country in very difficult times. And his record is replete with those misjudgments, whether it be his comments about that in Afghanistan all Americans are doing is bombing villages and killing innocent civilians.

MR. HANNITY: The exact quote is "air raiding villages and killing civilians."

SEN. MCCAIN: Air raiding villages, I mean, that's so insulting to the men and women who are serving in the military. I think that he should at least retract that statement. But I think the important thing is his world view, his willingness to sit down with Ahmadinejad without precondition or Hugo Chavez or the Castro brothers without precondition, giving them legitimacy, affirming their behavior and attitude towards their own people as well as toward us. It shows a lack of knowledge and experience and, therefore, judgment.

MR. HANNITY: Governor Palin, you had echoed those comments in recent as it was immediately after the debate and you actually -- the phrase that Senator McCain just mentioned, "air raiding villages and killing civilians" -- you said that that should disqualify him, meaning Barack Obama, from being commander in chief.

GOV. PALIN: Because there is such a gross misunderstanding of what our U.S. troops are doing in Afghanistan. What they're doing, of course, is fighting terrorism and protecting us, protecting our country. And you know, they're building schools for the children in Afghanistan so that there is hope and opportunity there. So just that gross misunderstanding of what the United States military's mission is right now is very, very concerning.

SEN. MCCAIN: Could I mention one other point in his record?

MR. HANNITY: Yes, sir.

SEN. MCCAIN: Senator Obama said that he would never vote to cut off the funding for American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. After promising that, he and a handful of others voted that way. Now, both he and Senator Biden said, well, it's the same vote that I cast. I cast a vote against withdrawal and surrender. And I had promised that I would do everything that I could to fight against any resolution that would entail set dates for withdrawal and, therefore, defeat in Iraq. So they're vastly different votes. They're vastly different.

MR. HANNITY: Well, and Senator Biden had actually criticized him and said if you vote to cut off the funding, lives would be lost.

SEN. MCCAIN: Yeah. And he also said that Senator Obama took a, quote, "political vote." I agree with Senator Biden. (Laughs.)

MR. HANNITY: One of the things that keeps coming up is the economy, the economy. And maybe both of you can answer this question because it came up in your two debates and your one debate. Ninety- five percent of the American people are not going to see their taxes go up. You spent a lot of time in your debate dealing with that. You spent a lot of time in your debate dealing with that. Is that honest? Is that truthful?

SEN. MCCAIN: Well, first of all, it's not truthful in the respect that 50 percent or 40 percent of the American people, taxpayers, American citizens don't pay federal income taxes. So right there, that, obviously, is wrong. And maybe that means that he just wants to give them a check. But I don't know if you could interpret that as a, quote, "tax cut."

But more importantly, Senator Obama didn't tell nor did he deny last night that his plan raises taxes on small-business income. Small business created 300,000 jobs last year. We lost so far this year, we've lost 700,000-and-some jobs. Small business has created some 300,000 jobs. Eighty-four percent of the workers in America are employed by small business. And he wants to tax 50 percent of small- business income. That kills jobs, that keeps people from hiring.

So with Senator Obama's rhetoric, you always have to, one, look at the rhetoric and, two, look at the fine print.

MR. HANNITY: Do you think -- and I'll ask you, Governor Palin, this -- do you think -- for example, both of you brought up the fact in two of the debates that he keeps saying -- you made a point -- well, wait a minute, you raised taxes 94 times. You had only been in the Senate a short period of time, and you voted to raise taxes on people making $42,000 a year. And now you're saying that no, that's not going to happen for 95 percent of the people. So is this a misnomer? Is this campaign rhetoric? Is he being dishonest, not truthful with the American people?

GOV. PALIN: Voters have got to go to someone's record and see what they have proven already in terms of what they're capable of doing in the future -- 94 times being on the wrong side of the American people and voting for higher taxes. And then he proposing to spend now nearly $1 trillion in new government growth, he doesn't explain how he's going to get the money to pay for that also.

And then two of these three years in the Senate, the nearly $1 million a day in his own requested earmarks for government to spend. That's somebody's record and, you know, it shouldn't be controversial, it shouldn't hurt anybody's feelings or anything else that these type of issues are brought up. It's somebody's record.

Now, that's as opposed to John McCain's record and my record where we have truly that track record that shows the reform, the desire to and the success in putting government back on the side of the people, our small businesses and our families.

SEN. MCCAIN: One additional point.

MR. HANNITY: Sure.

SEN. MCCAIN: When he ran for the United State Senate, he said he supported a middle-income working families tax cut. He never introduced a single piece of legislation to implement that. And instead, he voted 94 times to either increase people's taxes or against tax cuts and voted for a resolution which called for taxing individuals who make as low as $42,000 a year. Again, look at the record.

MR. HANNITY: Now, you brought up in your debate, Senator, that since the time he's been in the Senate, I think you said $1 million of pork a day --

SEN. MCCAIN: Roughly.

MR. HANNITY: -- roughly. Joe Biden last year, I think it was $120 million in pork barrel that he brought back to the state of Delaware. Both of them have pretty much dismissed it saying that's not that much money.

SEN. MCCAIN: The fascinating thing is when he says it's only, quote, "$18 billion." Now, it's a lot more than that. But $18 billion in anybody but an inside-the-Beltway pork barreler would think is a lot of money.

And you know, the other thing that they keep not talking about, Sean, is the corrupting influence. Now, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, we blew the whistle two years ago, a bunch of us. And Fannie and Freddie, with campaign contributions, the same kind of system, were basically gaining and purchasing influence so that the Democrats who were fighting back against any real regulation and bringing under control what a lot of us said was going to be a train wreck.

(Pause videotaped interview.)

(Announcements.)

(Resume videotaped interview.)

MR. HANNITY: Governor, you in the last couple of days -- this past Saturday, The New York Times came out with an article about the relationship between Senator Obama and a man by the name of Bill Ayers. Bill Ayers takes credit for, of all days, in The New York Times September 11th, 2001, he says, "I don't regret setting bombs. I wish we did more." A man who admits to bombing the Pentagon, the Capitol, New York City police headquarters, whose motto was get all the rich people, break their cars and houses, and go home and kill your parents. We expected this would come up last night in the debate.

It did not. What more do you want to know about this relationship? What does it tell you about Barack Obama?

GOV. PALIN: It tells me again we need to question his judgment. And you know, not only those atrocious activities that Bill Ayers was involved in, but the questions need to be asked, I believe, when did Barack Obama know of his activities? We've heard so many conflicting stories and flip-flopped answers about when he knew the guy. Did he realize that he kicked off his political career in the guy's living room? First it was yes, then it was no. It comes down to, again, judgment and truthfulness and a candidate's character.

MR. HANNITY: This is what we know. We know that he did kick off his political career in his house.

GOV. PALIN: Right.

MR. HANNITY: The year was '95. We know they've sat on multiple boards together. We know they've given speeches together. We know there's been sort of a back-and-forth financially, Ayers contributing to Obama, Obama sort of working some money back through them. What question, Senator, would you like answered as it relates to this relationship? And do you think the American people should care about this?

SEN. MCCAIN: I think they should care about Senator Obama's truthfulness. I don't care much about an old terrorist and his wife who are still unrepentant. By the way, she was as much or more active than Mr. Ayers was. But the point is it's not about them, it's about Senator Obama being candid and straightforward with the American people about their relationship. He has dismissed it by saying he was just a guy in the neighborhood. We know it's much more than that. Let's reveal all of the details of that relationship, and then the American people can make a judgment.

MR. HANNITY: But here's the question. His answer is, well, I hardly knew him, I was 8-years old when he committed these, quote, "despicable acts." That's his answer. But he was in his 30s and 40s when he sat on a board with him, gave speeches with him.

SEN. MCCAIN: And when he was in his living room, yes.

MR. HANNITY: And was in his living room. And I guess my question is, should the American people be concerned that he's capable in a post-9/11 world of fighting terrorism when he is friends with an unrepentant terrorist?

SEN. MCCAIN: Well, I think that's also part of the judgment American people make. But first, I think we ought to have a full and complete examination of the relationship and then the American people can make a judgment. And so far, I think it's very clear that he was a lot more than just a guy in the neighborhood.

MR. HANNITY: Do you think this needs to be asked more in your next debate? Because a lot of us in the media were sitting back thinking because of The New York Times and because of your comments, Governor, is this something that needs to be vetted out?

SEN. MCCAIN: Well, I hope it's vetted out. I think it needs to be vetted out. And I think the American people understand whether Senator Obama has been truthful and candid about his entire relationship with Mr. Ayers and with others, very frankly.

MR. HANNITY: All right, well, let's talk about others.

SEN. MCCAIN: Including the ACORN organization.

MR. HANNITY: Well, we've got -- this is now part of a larger narrative that's emerging. And the Obama campaign seems very, very defensive about this. They don't want any questions, how dare you ask, this is unfair. But he's friends with Father Pfleger, a fairly radical figure in Chicago, Tony Rezko, a convicted slumlord we have in one case, and we know that he spent 20 years in the pews of Reverend Wright, who has said the most outrageous things, including GD America and America's chickens have come home to roost after 9/11. What does that tell you, Governor, about Senator Obama and his radical associations?

GOV. PALIN: It goes right back again to the candidate's judgment and who he would choose to associate himself with in the past, perhaps the present. It makes me question who he would associate himself with in the future.

MR. HANNITY: Yeah. And Americans should be concerned about it.

GOV. PALIN: I'm concerned about it.

MR. HANNITY: In what way?

GOV. PALIN: I'm concerned about it because, again, somebody's track record says so much about who they are and where they want to lead this country.

(Pause videotaped interview.)

(Announcements.)

(Resume videotaped interview.)

MR. HANNITY: Senator, your life story is you've spent five and a half years in the "Hanoi Hilton." I think what I read is almost every bone in your body has been broken, and you've been tortured. And by the way, one of the reasons you don't use a computer -- they ran that ad -- is because of your war injuries, and you cannot lift your arms above your shoulder.

SEN. MCCAIN: Yeah, I can do better than that. (Laughs.)

MR. HANNITY: But think of how this war has been politicized through the prism of your experience in Vietnam. The leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, said that the surge has failed, the war is lost. Dick Durbin compared our troops to Nazis. John Kerry said our troops our invading Iraqi's homes in the dark of night, you know, terrorizing women and children. These are verbatim quotes. And Barack Obama said, they're "air raiding villages and killing civilians." So my question is, you know, that's poisonous rhetoric but it goes on. What does it mean? How do you stop that if you're elected president and vice president?

SEN. MCCAIN: Well, we'll show them victory. The American people understand what's at stake here. And the American people have rejected that. And a lot of voters will be making a judgment. When the majority leader of the Senate declares the war lost, then a legitimate question is, who won? Al Qaeda? Who won? So these comments have been reminiscent, in many ways, to some of the rhetoric that was used during the Vietnam War that harmed our veterans so much and harmed their ability to come all the way home. Words matter. Words matter. And when Senator Harry Reid declares that the war is lost, well, our young Americans who are over there putting their lives on the line, that's not right.

MR. HANNITY: All right, last question. Tell us a little bit more about your relationship as it has grown. And I want the inside story about how you decided to ask Governor Palin. And I've got you together, so I want both versions before we let you go.

SEN. MCCAIN: I really was looking for someone who could shake things up in Washington and reform. And very frankly, there are some very wonderful people out there that we had to consider. But I saw this as a real breath of fresh air that would sweep across America and give people inspiration, which Sarah Palin has, which would excite our base. But most of all, that Americans could look forward to reform the way we do business in Washington and restore trust and confidence.

It's not an accident that Sarah Palin is the most popular governor in America. It's not an accident that she has given the people of Alaska money back, that she has cut spending, and that she has done the things that we need to translate to our nation's capital.

MR. HANNITY: Governor, your side of the story? When did you really begin to realize that Senator McCain was seriously thinking about selecting you as VP? And we know you said you didn't blink, but when did you think this may happen?

GOV. PALIN: Oh, you know, really not until we were face to face and I could look him in the eye and see that seriously he was willing to offer this challenge to me, this responsibility that he asked that I would take on. And of course, I was so happy to.

But you know, for these years I've been a big fan of his because of that independent spirit that just courses through your veins. And that's made me admire him. And I knew it was confirmation, it was right on that I was to support him when early on in the presidential race, he had said something in the newspaper that was controversial -- imagine that -- about what was going on in the administration. It was independent was the tone of his comment. And I had been asked about it up in Alaska by the local press, and I said, oh, no, he's spot on, you know, we don't need to keep going down that track, something that the administration was going on. And then I got a call from a Republican member of Congress. And he said, yeah, I understand that you're thinking about supporting McCain, doggonnit let me tell you about the hell he's put me through with earmark reforms. And I said, right on! That's confirmation! He is the guy that I'm going to support.

MR. HANNITY: The polls are tightening. You got Zogby 2 points, a 2-point race today. You got Hotline is a 1-point race today. CBS has you at a 3-point race, and it's even tighter among likely voters. Do you view yourselves as underdogs?

GOV. PALIN: It makes us work even harder. It does.

SEN. MCCAIN: We're the underdogs. She was an underdog when she took on the Republican incumbent governor.

MR. HANNITY: I'm the underdog against Alan Colmes. (Laughter.)

SEN. MCCAIN: I was the underdog throughout the primaries.

MR. HANNITY: That's true.

SEN. MCCAIN: You might recall many declared our candidacy dead. We're glad to be in the underdog role here. It excites and motivates our supporters. It gives independents another look at us. And I'm very happy with where we are, Sean. I couldn't be happier.


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