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Fox News "The O'Reilly Factor" - Transcript

Interview

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O'REILLY: Senator, first of all, are you surprised that the Libyan story hasn't gotten much traction in the media?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Well, I guess "surprise" isn't the word. I'm very, very deeply disappointed. But I guess that I'm not shocked about it. But it sure is reprehensible.

O'REILLY: Do you think it's a protect the President play by the mainstream media or they just don't care about Libya?

MCCAIN: I think it's some combination of that and other factors. But I can tell you, this is a case where four brave Americans lost their lives and probably the most incompetent functioning as far as national security is concerned of any administration in history. It's either that or willfully deceiving the American people or maybe a combination of both.

O'REILLY: Is it enough for the President to say that his administration is investigating and will get to the bottom of it?

MCCAIN: There have been two previous attacks on our consulate. The fact that there were warnings, there is a report out today about a meeting on August 15th and the messages sent on the 16th about the lack of security. This has taken on all the earmarks, Bill, of the classic scandal and cover up. The cover up continues to go on.

Today we know that the counterterrorism security group which is supposed to meet and coordinate the agencies of government when there's an act of terror never met.

And the President should go on television and tell the American people. He was quick to go on television to tell the American people about the raid that got bin Laden. Have you heard any additional information from the President of the United States about this, except that we'll have an investigation? And coincidentally, that investigation will not be completed until after the election.

O'REILLY: Do you believe that President Obama is going to get away with it? Is -- the voters have heard the story. I don't think it's going to resonate anywhere near the economy. So he's pretty much going to get away with all of this?

MCCAIN: Well, I can tell you I'm hearing from veterans all over this country. I have talked to so many and hearing from men and women who are on active duty. They have no trust and no confidence in this President as their Commander-in-chief. Veterans all over America are at a level of anger that I have never seen before.

And I think that may affect voting, at least in a state like Florida where they have 1.6 million veterans. They are aroused and angry in a way I have not seen before.

O'REILLY: That's interesting. So where are we in the presidential race? This time four years ago you were running a little bit behind Barack Obama, but you know, it was still a horse race. What's the difference between now and then?

MCCAIN: I think the biggest now is that the President did not have a record in 2008 to defend. And it still leads me to believe the small number of undecideds which will probably make-or-break this election will probably swing to Mitt Romney at the -- when they go into the ballot booth.
History shows that undecideds generally break for the challenger in close races because they know the incumbent so well.

O'REILLY: I do think this weekend there is going to be a pro-Obama cycle by the mainstream media based upon the economy. That's going to be interesting to watch.

MCCAIN: Oh I think -- I think that and this adoration for four days for him doing his duties as President of this tragedy of the storm, Sandy. And I appreciate the President's work there, but I also think we expect presidents to do that. And I believe that this election should be about jobs and the economy.

O'REILLY: Now, four years ago in the debate you went light on Barack Obama about the Reverend Wright stuff. You didn't bring up a lot of his associations, Rezko and a lot of the Chicago stuff. You basically took the high road.
In the last debate, Mitt Romney did not bring up the Libya stuff to any extent, whereby he could have, making it a bigger story. Was that a mistake by the Governor?

MCCAIN: I feel strongly about Libya, as you know, Bill. My background, my knowledge, my love of the military. I plead guilty. I plead guilty because I went to a refugee camp on a Turkish border and met of young women who had been gang raped some parents who see had their children killed before their eyes. And this President sits back and watches without even lifting a finger like getting weapons to them.

So I'm -- I'm angry and I'm upset. And so maybe Mitt Romney, whose background and very great success that I admire enormously probably may not have as much of an emotional connection but I think he's run a great race, I think he did a great job in the first debate, and I think that I still believe that he's going to win, although we're going to be up late.

O'REILLY: Ok and the reference you just made was to the Syrian situation on the Turkish border where the President has pretty much stepped back from that.

MCCAIN: Yes.

O'REILLY: And we're doing covert --

MCCAIN: And we haven't lifted a finger -- we haven't lifted a finger to help these people.

O'REILLY: And final question here. Think back four years ago. You thought you were going to win. You were campaigning as hard as I've seen anybody ever campaign. Is there any difference between you and Governor Romney on the trail?

MCCAIN: No, I don't think so. I think he's -- he's got a great message. He's got the people inspired. I think this clearly -- that first debate was a seminal moment in American politics much less this campaign. I think he's done a great job.

O'REILLY: Senator, we can't thank you enough. From Fargo, North Dakota, thanks again.

MCCAIN: Thanks for having me on Bill.

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