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Public Statements

Delivers Remarks on His Tax Cut Plan

By:
Date:
Location: Concord, NH

HEADLINE: U.S. SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ) DELIVERS REMARKS ON HIS TAX CUT PLAN; CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE

SPEAKERS:
U.S. SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), REPUBLICAN PARTY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

*** Elapsed Time 00:00, Eastern Time 12:30 ***

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MCCAIN: Thank you very much. Thank you for that warm—thank you for that warm Concord welcome. Thank all of you for being here. And I—and I apologize if some of you have trouble seeing me. I'll try to speak up so that you can hear me. This is sort of a typical Concord Chamber lunch, as I know these are sort of...

(LAUGHTER)

I was just—as you know, we politicians in our desperation try to take credit for whatever happens. As you know, the vice president invented the Internet. I invented television.

(LAUGHTER)

And of course I would take credit for this wonderful weather; I brought it from Arizona. And we have—so without the snow, every day I'm told it's a record. We have so little water in Arizona the trees chase the dogs, so perhaps I have had that experience, bring that climate change with me.

(LAUGHTER)

There's many dear friends and people who I have grown to appreciate and love and admire, Peter Spaulding and so many other dear friends who are here. But I would like to recognize Jennifer Bergovan (ph), because Jennifer (ph), who is here—Jennifer (ph), would you stand please just for a moment—and her daughter Shaun (ph).

Thank you. Thank you, Jennifer (ph).

I met Jennifer (ph) about seven months ago at a Bow Rotary breakfast. She told me that she was a registered Republican. She immediately confessed that she had voted for the other presidential candidate in the last election and was completely turned off by politics, politicians and the whole process.

MCCAIN: We had a long conversation, and I'm very pleased that she's involved. She's involved in our campaign. And Jennifer (ph), I want to thank you very much, not only for your support of me but your reinvolvement in the political process. I thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

I can't—when I see her, I can't help but sort of remember a story that helps maintain my sense of balance, if I may relate it to you very briefly. And it concerns one of my experiences back in my home state of Arizona. When I first ran to replace Barry Goldwater—excuse me, to succeed Barry Goldwater in 1986, there's a woman who's name is Marcella Peters, who was my chairman in Chandler, Arizona. She's president of the Chandler Republican Women's Club and a dear friend and supporter. And after I was elected in 1986 and late in 1987, I received a phone call from Marcella one night about 11:00 at night and she said, "John, I have this terrible problem." I said, "What is it?" She said, "They're changing the garbage pick-up in front of my home from Tuesday morning to Thursday morning, and it's causing me terrific problems. I have Republican Women's Club meeting on Wednesday night. I have to leave early on Thursday morning." We discussed this for about 20 minutes.

Finally I said, "Marcella, why don't you call the mayor of Chandler and discuss this problem with him?" She said, "Oh, no, I wouldn't want to bother an important man like that with an issue this trivial."

(LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: So whenever I'm surrounded by media and some attention and all that, I try to remember Marcella Peters and from whence I came, and the fact that in a very short period of time this phase of this very important process is going to be over.

By the way, I'm very honored to have received today the endorsement of the Portsmouth Herald and the Exeter Newsletter. I'm very pleased to have their endorsements in this campaign.

(APPLAUSE)

I'm honored to be with you. I'm—throughout this campaign, it has been my privilege to meet so many of you— the great people of New Hampshire; to hear your concerns; listen to your ideas; and receive your questions about the issues we face today as Americans and as a nation. It's my honor to join you in the sacred exercise of our freedom, to stand before those whom I asked to serve and answer to you.

Throughout this campaign, I've shared with you why I want to lead our nation, why I want to continue serving our country. I've talked about what I believe is our nation's next patriotic challenge—to defeat the growing cynicism that threatens our democracy. I've learned that many of you share my concern that young people no longer believe in the virtue of public service, and that we who are privileged to serve have only ourselves to blame.

My friends, I want to be president not to be somebody, but to do something. I want to restore the people's sovereignty over government, renew their confidence in our public institutions, and reform government to meet the demands of a new day. Above all, I want to inspire the next generation of Americans to serve causes greater than their self-interest. That must be our mission if we are to fulfill our destiny and serve the cause our founding fathers called glorious.

I pledge to you that as a candidate and as president, I will always be governed by the principles that have made our nation the greatest force for good on Earth—the values of political and economic freedom, limited government and enlightened citizenship. And these principles will guide my domestic and economic policies.

The American people, not politicians, are responsible for our prosperity.

MCCAIN: They created the surplus, not us. But we will squander the fruits of their labor if we don't use the budget surplus wisely to provide tax relief, starting with families who need it most; protect Social Security and Medicare from bankruptcy; and reduce the mountains of national debt -- $5.6 trillion worth of national debt that we are laying on future generations of young Americans.

Let us be guided by the legacy of Ronald Reagan that empowering free markets and free people is the path to prosperity. Let us learn the lesson of the 1990s, that balancing the budget unleashes the full potential of private initiative. And let us be led by the example of our forefathers that a promise made is a promise kept.

Social Security and tax relief are two national priorities intertwined that one cannot be responsibly discussed without addressing the other. Saving Social Security not only is our solemn obligation, it will also represent the largest, most sustained tax relief ever provided the American worker.

In only 14 years, as the retirement of the baby boom generation is peaking, the Social Security trust fund will begin a plummet into bankruptcy. If we do nothing, we are handing our children a ticking time bomb that will require they pay ever greater payroll taxes just as they are beginning their careers, starting their own families and staking their claim to the American dream.

Our parents bequeathed to us freedom and security paid for in blood. It would be a disgrace if we were to pass on a legacy of debt and broken promises to our children, whose futures we are mortgaging with our indifference and procrastination. What would the greatest generation, those who fought and died at Normandy and Okinawa, say about the dilemma we face? My friends, they would not find the question daunting nor the answer difficult, nor should we. It is time for courage.

I want a brighter future for the next generation, and I believe that true fiscal conservatism can get us there.

MCCAIN: We have much to be optimistic about.

We live in a prosperous time. An exciting year of innovation, with unlimited opportunities for all Americans. Just a few years ago, we saw budget deficits as far as the eye can see. Today we enjoy the prospect of surpluses as far as the eye can see.

And it reminds me of Harry Truman's remark that he was always on the lookout for a one-armed economist because they always say, "On the one hand and on the other hand...."

Surpluses are a tempting thing for politicians. They're easily spent or promised away, often before they even, if ever, materialize. Some would have us squander the surplus on building an even bigger government. They seek a new treasure trove of your money to finance ever-more pork barrel schemes of self-serving politicians.

Others suggest that we should use every penny for tax cuts, forgetting that we have promises to keep and a fleeting opportunity to keep our word without imperiling the economic future of our children and generations to come.

Today I would like to share with you my vision of a new fiscal conservatism for the new century; a vision to lower the burden of taxes on the average American family, strengthen the economic engine that has brought us such great prosperity and keep the promise we made to that greatest generation—that Social Security will forever remain solvent and steadfast.

I will present my ideas with a philosophy that is conservative in all of its elements, for I believe it is the essence of true conservatism to be fiscally responsible. True conservatism both protects the interest of those who pay an overly heavy tax burden today and those who are too young to pay taxes, but not too young to be threatened by a potential failure of a crushing debt of $5.6 trillion and a broken Social Security system.

My first principle is simple; we honor all obligations to current retirees. Second, we will reform the system.

My friends, there's only way to save Social Security without breaking our promises to our children and that is to allow every American to invest some of their Social Security savings privately in higher yielding accounts. I believe a good start would be to let you keep 20 percent of what you pay in payroll taxes in a private retirement account that you control.

MCCAIN: To do what must be done, we must secure the revenue necessary to pay promised benefits while the personal accounts of workers are maturing.

The fact is that saving Social Security surplus alone is not nearly enough to save Social Security. That's why I will reserve 62 percent of the non-Social Security surplus to add funds to protect Social Security, commit 10 percent of the surplus to shore up Medicare and use the rest to begin paying down our national debt and to help fund a series of badly needed tax cuts for America's middle class.

A number of plans have been put forth by top experts on how we might implement a private investment plan, addressing the many technicalities and issues involved. These plans provide a menu of options from which we can craft a national approach with a central element of personal investment.

But we know that only a bipartisan answer will work. It's time to abandon the irresponsible political game of making Social Security a partisan issue and meet our common responsibilities—not as Republicans or Democrats, but as servants of the American people.

Democrats will have to stop the issue to scare seniors into voting against Republicans. Republicans will have to resist using Social Security revenues to finance tax cuts. And both parties must stop raiding retirement dollars from the trust fund to waste on new spending.

As president, I will insist on core principles, including fully honoring current benefits—no ifs, ands or buts; guaranteeing that all Social Security tax money can only be used to protect Social Security without exception or excuse; and using private investment accounts that provide choice, flexibility and a responsible safety net.

Social Security has been so grossly politicized that success will require all our best efforts. As president, within my first week in office, I will forward my principles of reform to Congress and ask that they formally endorse them. Once that's accomplished, I will take the congressionally approved principles and ask the Social Security trustees, together with the bipartisan leadership of the House and Senate, to formulate and submit a plan that I will insist be voted on before the end of my first year in office.

Only through an inclusive deliberative bipartisan process can we hope to accomplish the bold reform necessary to address such a deep and abiding threat to our economic security.

MCCAIN: Let's remember that personal choice in investing Social Security dollars would most dramatically benefit lower- and middle- income Americans. As we all know, much of America's wealth has been generated not by earned income, but from investment and savings. That's the case historically, not just during episodic spikes in the stock market. It's time that all Americans share in the great prosperity that we enjoy today.

That goal is at the heart of the tax plan I'm proposing. My commitment to save Social Security will not prevent me from providing substantial tax relief to the millions of Americans who have been overcharged by government for years. Make no mistake, we can afford a tax cut and American taxpayers deserve one, but it must be a tax cut promise that a leader can keep.

As president, I will use the surplus funds we now have combined with money saved from Washington's billions and billions in special interest spending, to begin instituting a flat tax from the bottom up. And this is how I will proceed. I will cut taxes not for the special interests and the big-dollar donors, but for the working men and women of this country.

My plan will be family friendly. I will repeal the indefensible tax penalty that punishes couples who want to get married and don't receive a fair standard deduction. And we'll make it easier for moms to stay home by increasing the family standard deduction. I will slash the inheritance tax that penalizes those who wish to leave the fruits of their labor to their children. I will end the earnings test penalty for seniors that taxes their incomes twice and denies them the self-respect that comes from working.

I will increase the child tax credit so that families, rather than government, can decide how to spend their money. I will permanently ban sales tax on the Internet. We will keep the Internet a magnificent engine of economic opportunity and stop the politicians from making it their favorite tax collection machine of the 21st century.

And I will dramatically increase the number of Americans who qualify for the lowest tax rate of 15 percent, by raising the eligible income to $70,000 per couple.

MCCAIN: This will add over 25 million new taxpayers to the lowest rate.

But we won't stop there. As additional money from a growing economy makes new resources available, we will increase the number of taxpayers included in the 15 percent tax bracket on a march to a flat tax that is paid for, responsible and fair.

My plan is based on a simple premise: The key to increasing American prosperity is savings and investment. My plan will encourage and reward savings and investment. That's why as president I will establish a new family security account into which families can place up to $6,000 tax deferred per year as long as the money is saved for at least one year. The savings and interest can be withdrawn after that period for any purpose without penalty.

These accounts will encourage individuals and families to save and invest for whatever purpose that they decide.

Let's examine several examples. My purpose is not to create a competition, but to illustrate how my plan compares with Governor Bush's for different taxpayers at different levels.

For a single mother earning $40,000 a year and supporting two children, my plan would reduce her taxes from $2,810 to $1,212. That's a 57 percent tax cut. Under Governor Bush's plan, she would pay $1,310.

For a married couple with a stay-at-home mom and two children earning $40,000, my plan would cut their taxes from $2,270 to $610, assuming they invest $3,000 in my family security account. Without participating in that family security account, they would pay $1,060. Under Governor Bush's plan, they would pay $670.

For a lucky millionaire who is currently paying $325,000 on an income of $1 million, I give a tax of—tax cut of $3,500. Under Governor Bush's plan, the tax cut is worth $50,000.

We have more examples of our tax cuts in our materials. I will pay for my tax cutting with the money saved by eliminating tax in equities and corporate welfare, combined with a responsible share of the surplus. This is the conservative way to cut taxes, rather than based on ever-shifting economic assumptions.

So let the warning go out—let the warning go out—to the army of lobbyists who so stoutly resist our campaign: Every tax dollar now wasted on special breaks for oil companies, ethanol giants, insurance companies and the multitude of other powerful special interests with their armies of lobbyists is now at risk.

MCCAIN: We are going to take that money back, end the corporate welfare bonanza and give tax relief to the American people.

Conservative Americans have always strongly supported tax cuts. We rightly believe that lower taxes lead to economic security and that they are instrumental in transferring power from the government to the individual. My program is a conservative program designed to provide that security to America's working families.

During a recession, the key to economic growth is across-the- board tax cuts, such as those for which Ronald Reagan fought to bring our nation's economy back to fighting strength in the 1980s. During times of economic growth, though taxpayers are able to think about both short-term and long-term economic security, that's why I have proposed a significant tax cut and a strategy to save Social Security to address both those concerns.

Conservatives rightly believe the government should return taxpayers' money to the men and women who've earned it. That's why I proposed a plan to save Social Security that keeps the money out of the hands of politicians and saves it for those whom it belongs. That money isn't going to be spent on government bureaucrats or pork programs. We're going to put it aside to make sure that those who paid into the Social Security system get what they're entitled to. No one's going to touch that money for any other purpose. You've earned it, you'll get it. No ifs, ands or excuses.

My friends, this is a conservative economic plan. It allows a mother, who wants to stay at home with her children, to do so without suffering economically for that laudable decision. It encourages savings so that working families can plan for their future. It saves Social Security and pays down the national debt so that we can honor our commitment to our children and future generations. And it moves us toward a flat tax from the bottom up, not from the top down.

I give you my solemn pledge today that future surpluses will be used to finish our journey and that no bill will pass my desk as president if it puts special interests before the national interests.

MCCAIN: Under my plan, 85 percent of America will pay no tax or have a flat tax at our lowest rate of 15 percent. I want to see that percentage grow so that even more Americans—and more Americans—are in that lowest tax bracket.

Make no mistake, my friends, our path won't be easy; it will take courage. It is far, far easier to promise huge tax cuts based on the hope of never-ending surpluses than it is to end the special interest spending spree that raids our federal budget year after year.

By courage in the pursuit of an honorable cause is the mission of this campaign. I am not afraid to lose. I'm going to tell the truth to the American people.

We're going to tell the truth about Social Security, and I'll lead the way to a safer, stronger system that keeps the promise we made to our parents and fulfills the obligation we have to our children.

We're going to start paying down the debt to protect the interests of those who are too young to vote. And we will cut your taxes and give your family more of your money back.

I began this campaign by calling our citizens to embrace a new patriotic challenge. I continue that call today.

We can adopt this new fiscal conservatism for the new century. We can make the reforms needed to save Social Security and begin paying down the debt. We can give meaningful tax relief by making Washington serve taxpayers first and show the special interests the door.

And if we achieve our goal and lead ourselves to a prouder nation, where the old find security and trust their government and the young find purpose in causes greater than their self-interest, where hope replaces cynicism and pride erases despair, then our national wealth will be far greater than the material things that we enjoy today, and our beloved America will be truly rich in all ways.

Seeking this place for our people is the mission of our campaign and the reason why I run for president. Today I invite you to join our crusade.

Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

I thank you for your kind reception to that rather long speech. One of the things that I've learned in 80-some town hall meetings here in New Hampshire, that the people of New Hampshire not only don't particularly enjoy long speeches, but they also like to ask questions and make comments. And so I would like to be in with you.

Ma'am, yes?

QUESTION: Welcome back to New Hampshire.

MCCAIN: Thank you. It's wonderful to be back.

MCCAIN: As you know, we were all in Michigan last night and it was colder than it is here.

QUESTION: Last night during the Michigan debate (inaudible) shaking hands with George Bush pledging not to (inaudible) negative campaigns. My question to you, are you considering George Bush as your vice presidential (inaudible)?

(LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: Let me say that I have the highest respect and regard for Governor Bush. He's a friend and he's been a fine governor and he's highly qualified to be president of the United States. I believe that I am more prepared and more qualified. And I'm pleased at the level of the debate that we've had on a broad variety of issues. And as I predicted long ago, we are beginning to draw differences on some issues, so—to help Americans decide.

But this issue of negative campaigning is really important because it contributes so much to the cynicism and alienation of voters. As you know, my dear friends, we make it easier and easier for people to vote, yet the voter participation continues to decline. The 1998 election had the lowest voter turnout in history of the 18- to 26-year-olds.

Now, everything in America doesn't go back to the influence of big money and special interests. But let me tell you who funds these—who funds these negative attack ads that are so disgraceful? As you know, probably, there's one that's running now on New Hampshire television that shows Bill Clinton's face morphing into mine.

Now I'm outraged because that's such a terrible picture. I wish they would at least—you know—I—my wife, Cindy, mentioned the other night, she has a much more attractive picture that she'd like to morph into.

But you know, the people who made that ad are the special interest lobbyists in Washington who refuse not only not to run the ad—to stop the ad—but refuse to disclose the source of the money that runs that attack ad. And so I believe that campaign finance reform and getting this soft money—these huge amounts of soft money, these uncontrolled contributions—will take a great step in that direction.

And finally, as I said to you, I want to be president of the United States, but I'm not afraid of losing. And the one thing I'm going to do at the end of this campaign is look back, and there's not going to be anything that I and my supporters will say: Gee, I wish we hadn't done that.

I took a pledge a year ago and I promise you again, I will not have anything to do with negative campaigning. And I hope you, as the people who are playing a large role in determining who the next president of the United States is, the first time you see one, condemn it and reject it.

I thank you very much for your question.

(APPLAUSE)

I forgot to answer the final part. I'm so far behind, for me to contemplate who my vice presidential running mate would be is a bit presumptuous. Every time I look at the amount of money that Governor Bush has raised—the $74 -- $80 million or whatever it is—I'm reminded of the words of Chairman Mao who said it's always darkest before it's totally black.

Thank you.

(LAUGHTER)

Yes sir?

QUESTION: Senator, I've heard you speak before about your ideas about, quote, "bloated" military budgets.

QUESTION: But as a veteran of World War II, I have some grave concerns or deep concerns about our military budgets, and I see a coming battle in the Congress certainly between social services over here (inaudible) and of course the military over here.

MCCAIN: Yes, sir.

QUESTION: I just read in an Air Force magazine, for instance, that two of our 10 supposedly combat-ready divisions have just been downgraded. They are not combat ready—the 10th Mountain and the 1st Division (ph). By the same token, Congress tried to kill the F- 22, our newest fighter, which goes something like $6 million a hawk. And we have six of them now. The Air Force magazine can't seem to make up its mind whether these are test aircraft or whether they're going to be combat aircraft. We have some tremendous problems out there.

The Air Force has just established a new agency within the framework of the Air Force that would be concerned about interplanetary warfare, if you will (inaudible) my word. It seems to me that that would, of course, start another bureaucracy, and we're talking about allotting them money. So there are going to be some tremendous competitions for this whole question of military versus social scientist—social concerns. And I wondered if you'd care to comment on that.

MCCAIN: I thank you, sir, and I appreciate it, because it's very timely. The day before yesterday there was a study, the results of which appeared on front page of the major newspapers in America. It was a study conducted and they interviewed 25,000 men and women in the military. I'd be glad to get it to you in case you missed it. Basically, the military has not been in this bad shape since the '70s, particularly where our personnel is concerned. It's an absolute disgrace. It's outrageous, and I will try to make my comments to you brief.

We've got to stop spending that money on things we don't need, and we've got to start spending money on things we do need, and that takes a lot of guts, because a lot of the special interests play here. Also, I'll be glad to beat up on President Clinton. I enjoy it. I do it almost every day.

(LAUGHTER)

But I have to tell you this. But I have to tell you this, in full disclosure—interest of full disclosure. The Congress—the Congress has played a reprehensible role in this. I identified $6.5 billion worth of pork— wasteful, unnecessary spending in the last—just the last money bill.

Congress looks at the defense money bills the way that Willie Sutton used to look at banks. We put in $325 million for a helicopter carrier that the military says they don't need. We're buying C-130 aircraft 10 years after the Air Force said they don't want them anymore.

MCCAIN: We're going to have a C-130 aircraft (OFF-MIKE) in America. Meanwhile...

(LAUGHTER)

Meanwhile, 12,000 -- 12,000 -- very proud, young enlisted personnel are on food stamps—on food stamps.

A few months there was a thing on "20/20." It showed these young Marines in uniform at Camp Pendleton over in San Diego lining up for cartons of food. That's disgraceful. That's disgraceful.

So I think we need missile defense systems. I think we need it very badly. And we need to develop it soon and we've got to get the military together.

Yes, I believe we need to have F-22. But I'll tell you what, they've got to get their costs under control too, and we've got to make some tough decisions about the next generation of fighters.

But I want to come back again to these young men and women. We're not treating them well. We're sending them all over the world conducting foreign policy as social work. The military is half the size it was at the time of Desert Storm. They have four times the commitments. Our pilots are getting out faster than we can train them.

Our first priority is the men and women in the military. Give them a decent wage, give them decent housing, give them a decent lifestyle.

The reason why we're keeping them in now is pure patriotism.

So I would argue that that is our first priority, and I'll spend whatever it needs.

And finally, could I thank you, sir, as a member of the greatest generation. Some people here today had my book. I'm not here to hype my book. I would never do such a things as that. It's $24.59...

(LAUGHTER)

... Random House. We're now four months on the best-seller list. I'm so overjoyed, but I wouldn't hype it.

But I've done book tours, signing books. And the most rewarding and wonderful experience perhaps in my life is people like you, sir, that have come, who served and sacrificed in our greatest generation. Sometimes they bring pictures. Some of them bring pictures of my father and my grandfather. It's been very touching to me. And I promise you that your generation is being re-appreciated and appreciated, thanks to "The Greatest Generation," the book by Tom Brokaw, thanks to the movie, "Saving Private Ryan," that I hope every young American will see at the proper time.

That's the good news. The bad news, sir, is that you're leaving us at the rate of 30,000 a month, and we're not taking care of our World War II veterans, we're not giving them the health care and the benefits we promised them. And I promise you, that has to be my first priority.

And I think you for your question.

(APPLAUSE)

QUESTION: Contrary to an article that appeared on the first page of the (inaudible) involving older people with Alzheimers. I personally have talked to you twice and I know your concern (inaudible) with Alzheimers (inaudible) and I wondered if you could certainly dispel that. I am from the Alzheimer association. My father has it too. And I want to tell...

(CROSSTALK)

MCCAIN: I thank you—I thank you very much for that. You know, these campaigns get very rough and very unpleasant. By the way, that's another product of special interest in Washington, funded with undisclosed money.

My friends, what you've got to understand as the attacks come in. I am a threat to the Iron Triangle in Washington, D.C. That's big money, lobbyists and the legislative process. They are scared to death that I will deprive them of their mother's milk, which is all of these huge amounts of money.

I'm honored to have had the support of the senior citizens in my state. I'm honored to have—from time to time engaged in humor with my dear friends. My dearest friend perhaps ever in the Congress of the United States was my dear and beloved friend Morris Udall, who I watched languish with Parkinson's disease for six years.

MCCAIN: I will never ever lose my commitment to see that we do whatever we can to cure that terribly pernicious disease.

And on the opposite end of the spectrum is Alzheimer's, because with Parkinson's we know the mind is trapped in the body, and vice versa with Alzheimer's. And anyone who has talked to Nancy Reagan as I have will know the agony of a family who has a family member with Alzheimer's.

So all I can tell you is that my record is clear. My commitment is clear. But as we come closer and closer, as we gain traction in this campaign, expect more lobbyists from Washington in their $1,000 suits to come here and try and destroy this campaign. And I'm ready for them and I'm going to love every minute of it.

Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

MCCAIN: Well, that's a question I'd love to answer.

(LAUGHTER)

Thank you very much. Thank you. Yes, ma'am?

QUESTION: The former Arizona (inaudible) and I think you're going to be elected. And my question is, would you, with respect to diplomacy would you be—think of yourself as a frequent or infrequent traveler abroad?

MCCAIN: I believe that the president of the United States is the leader of the world. We stand economically and militarily as the strongest power in the history of the world or going all the way back to the days of the Roman Empire. Even the British at their height had a continental competitor.

I think the president of the United States should do some traveling, but with the kind of entourages that this president uses, I mean, it's just a disgraceful and obscene waste of the taxpayers' dollar. There was a study about some 3,000, I think; the number was so large that he took on a trip to Africa. I think we can travel a little more modestly.

And I want to tell you this, I will not—I repeat—will not take a campaign contributor on a foreign trip. One of the little scams of the 1996 debasement of every institution of government by the Clinton and Gore campaign— among other things, besides renting out the Lincoln bedroom as if it were Motel 6 and the president being the bellhop, among them being the vice president asking monks and nuns in a Buddhist monastery to betray their vows of poverty and pay him thousands of dollars and spiritually commune with him—by the way, he said he didn't know where he was—and so...

(LAUGHTER)

... is that they sold seats on official trade missions. I have a document from the Democratic National Committee to the White House, said "events to be coordinated with $100,000 donors." One of the—the third line on the list for the White House to coordinate with them is seats on official trade missions. They were selling seats to people who gave $100,000.

That's why I'm so committed to stopping this, and we Republicans—what they did, the vice president said, there's no controlling legal authority. I want to make what they did illegal. I want to make what they did illegal. That's why I can't understand why any Republican would not support making this kind of thing illegal.

And so I want to assure you that I will not take a lot of trips, and the trips that I do I will try and take with some modesty. I can't promise you that I will travel on economy class as I do today. I always enjoy being in zone three on Southwest and sit between two large Americans.

(LAUGHTER)

But I promise you that it will dramatically change. Those peanuts are good, as you know.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: So, I want to, again, thank all of you for being here. I'm finding I say this too much because we've still got 21 says, 7 hours and 3 minutes before the polls close, but it's been a great experience for me. It's been a wonderful experience and one that I will always cherish and one that I will—and could I just end up with one final story for you and then I want to thank you for your patience.

I have—I am so desperate for votes that I have been to Dixville Notch twice—not once, twice—in search of those 29 -- Peter Spaulding and I have been there twice—in search of those 29 registered voters, I've been there twice. The first time I went there, I had the opportunity—both times—the first time I met Mr. Tilletson (ph). We all know Mr. Tilletson (ph), 101 years old, whose idea it was to have this event of people voting and then it being announced and they tell me there were 600 media people there in the '96 election that night.

Anyway, I met Mr. Tilletson (ph), a very wonderful man, and he said to me, he'd met all of these presidential candidates; Ronald Reagan, Morris Udall, Ed Muskie—all of these, and he was telling me about his encounters with them and what he thought of them. I said, "Fine." I said, "Mr. Tilletson (ph), who's your favorite Republican presidential candidate?" He said, "Theodore Roosevelt." So, that gives you the perspective you need in this campaign.

Thank you very much. And thank you all for being here.

(APPLAUSE)

END

NOTES:
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Inaudible - Could not make out what was being said.
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