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MSNBC - Interview


Location: Unknown

MS. MITCHELL: Joining me now, Republican Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia, a McCain supporter. Thank you very much for being with us today.

First of all, today the Obama campaign launched a new website intended to compare his energy plans with John McCain's. McCain has, you know, taken on this whole issue of offshore drilling and did it, interestingly enough, only days before going to Santa Barbara, California, which is the center of opposition to offshore drilling in Republican as well as Democratic circles. He got pushback even from some participants -- invited participants in a roundtable yesterday.

Eric, what can he do to try to sell this energy policy which still has -- you know, a lot of people in America are concerned about offshore drilling?

REP. CANTOR: Well, Andrea, I think one thing you're seeing today is, again, John McCain engaging in straight talk with the American people. He is definitely laying out a vision of not only increasing supply, but reducing consumption, promoting our energy independence. And when you contrast that with Barack Obama, who, as we all know, is an extraordinary politician, he is engaged in both sides of each issue, from what I can tell, throughout the course of the campaign.

So, this issue of drilling in the deep waters off the coast of the United States is one that I think most American people support. All the polls that I've seen indicate that 70 percent of the people support that and almost as many believe that that will have an impact on the price at the pump because, frankly, that's what the middle class in America is worried about right now. They're worried about having to pay $60 every time they fill up their tank of gas on this July 4th vacation coming up.

MS. MITCHELL: But John McCain himself acknowledged that it would have a psychological impact on the markets, but not any near-term big impact on the price at the pump. I mean, he was very straight-talking about that only yesterday in California.

REP. CANTOR: No question, Andrea, that any product coming out of this new energy exploration off the coasts will not see the market for 10 years or so, but I do think you're right. And he -- John McCain is right when he says that look, it will send a signal to the world that we're worried about the disparity of long-term supply and demand, and America's going to get serious about producing in our resources because, frankly, we're the only oil-producing country in the world that keeps such a significant amount of its energy resources off limits.

MS. MITCHELL: Now, there's a little bit too much straight- talking, perhaps, from Charlie Black to Fortune Magazine. Here's what McCain campaign manager Rick Davis had to say about this today on Morning Joe.

(Begin video.)

MR. RICK DAVIS: Charlie's not going anywhere and the senator certainly understands that all of us make mistakes in the course of a campaign. And it wouldn't be a campaign if that didn't happen.

(End video.)

MS. MITCHELL: Is there anything wrong in what Charlie Black had to say, which is that Republicans believe that if there were some horrible event on the foreign policy front that that would play to the strengths of the candidate who has more experience on foreign policy?

REP. CANTOR: You know, I think Rick Davis had it right. I mean, there were words that were certainly not meant to convey what Charlie actually conveyed. And I think the point behind Rick's comments was that, you know, we have to talk about the issues that are important. We can compare John McCain's record in Washington on national security issues. And, frankly, when you do that, you look at what Barack Obama stands for and what he's been about for the last three years, which is his entire record on foreign policy, there's no question, I think, in the minds of most Americans who has the record to be the chief executive of this country and the commander of our military.

MS. MITCHELL:, which has this campaign against John McCain and has this new advertisement, which I'm sure you've seen, against his record on the war, is now putting out e-mails demanding that Charlie Black be fired. You don't expect that to happen?

REP. CANTOR: Again, I think, Andrea, we heard Rick Davis talk. I mean, it really is about what's best for this country, and what's best for this country is a president who can talk straight with the American people, as John McCain continues to do, is doing so today. He takes on the issues and provides solutions for the problems facing the people. And you compare that to what's going on on the other side, again, what you saw over the weekend is Barack Obama's flip-flop on this very important question about campaign financing. I mean, it seems that nothing is off limits, it seems that nothing is holy, that he, although, again, a great orator and an incredible politician, is no different than those that he criticizes. And, frankly, we need some straight talk at this point. There are too many challenges facing the middle class in America.

MS. MITCHELL: All right. Congressman Eric Cantor speaking for John McCain today. We thank you very much.

REP. CANTOR: Thank you, Andrea.

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