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MSNBC Interview - Transcript


Location: Washington, DC

MS. HALL: And a group of ten Democratic women senators have joined together to prevent female voters from flocking to John McCain now that Hillary Clinton is no longer in the race.

Earlier, I spoke with one of the senators behind it, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland. And for more on the other side of this debate is Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, a McCain supporter.

So congresswoman, talk to me a little bit about this checklist, these Democratic women have put together a checklist of things they believe are of great concern to female voters and will keep them from John McCain. One of the things on there, equal pay and universal health care.

What's your response to this checklist and at least those two items?

REP. BLACKBURN: You know, Tamron, back in the early '70s when I was in college, this was the same list they were toting out then. So all of they've done is pull something out that is over 30 years old. They have slapped women on the top of it and they think that this is a good thing.

Let me tell you what women are talking about when you go talk with them. They are talking about the high cost of fuel and of energy. They are looking ahead as they're planning their budgets and they're looking at what home heating oil is going to cost going into the fall and they're asking what in the world is Congress going to do about that? They are also talking about this incredible tax increase that the Democrats have passed not once, but twice, $683 billion over a five-year period of time and they are saying where in the world do they think they're going to get that money?

MS. HALL: Let me ask you this --

REP. BLACKBURN: We're already spending so much for gas.

MS. HALL: Congresswoman, we're looking at the new Quinnipiac poll that's out today and it shows that Senator Obama is beating Senator McCain in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio when it comes to female voters. What do you believe is the most important thing as far as a message that Senator McCain can send to these women who very well might be on the fence? Separate that they are angry about Hillary Clinton not getting the nomination, but the issues that really matter.

REP. BLACKBURN: The issues that matter to them are the issues of energy, the issues of economics and making certain that our communities and our borders are secure, that our nation is secure.

MS. HALL: How do you tailor that message for women? Because those are issues that men, women, you know, whatever, youth voter, they would be interested in. How do you tailor it to women?

REP. BLACKBURN: Tamron, you have just hit on it. These are issues that are important to everybody, and women want them to be addressed with solutions. They are tired of rhetoric. They want to see some action. They know that John McCain has been right on these economic issues his entire time in the U.S. Senate. They know that he is not going to be there pushing to raise their taxes. They understand. Women are smart. They understand that the more those taxes go up, the less they're going to have in that paycheck when they head home with it at the end of the month.

MS. HALL: What about the issue of the right to choose, a woman's right to choose? Often times, that's the go to point when somebody wants to convince you not to go for a Republican candidate, in this case, obviously, John McCain.

REP. BLACKBURN: Well, and you know what, this is one of those things that comes up over and over and over again and the moral security of this nation is incredibly important. The number one issue with women right now is economics and energy. They want to see action. They want to see problems solved. They don't want flowery rhetoric. They have heard enough flowery rhetoric to just, you know, fill their ears for a long time.

What they want to do is to see somebody that is going to roll up their sleeves; somebody that is going to say let me tell you how we get our arms around this. Let's look at some short-term, some mid- range and some long-range solutions on this energy issue. Let's make certain we do not raise taxes on American families and on American workers.

Let's make certain that the federal government is held accountable and that we look at where we're going to begin to not just cut the rate of growth and spending, but actually cut spending. That's what they want to hear.

MS. HALL: All right, congresswoman. Thank you so much for your time.

REP. BLACKBURN: Thank you very much.

MS. HALL: We're happy we're able to get you in this hour. Thank you.

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