Search Form
First, enter a politician or zip code
Now, choose a category

Public Statements

Discusses Various Political Subjects (Interview)

Location: This Week


DONALDSON: Welcome to our program, and Senator McCain, it's good to have you back.

Sen. McCAIN: Thank you.

DONALDSON: It's nice to see you.

Sen. McCAIN: It's nice to be back.

DONALDSON: Congratulations on your win in Michigan and Arizona.

Sen. McCAIN: Thank you very much. And now we go again.

DONALDSON: Well, life moves on.

ROBERTS: That's right.

DONALDSON: And that's the first question. And this Tuesday it's Virginia, it's North Dakota, it's Washington state.

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: Are you going to sweep those three?

Sen. McCAIN: I don't know. We haven't spent much time in North Dakota. Virginia is a little tougher than Washington. It's hard to know. There's a lot of movement going on out there, and since the pollsters have been wrong in almost every one of these races so far, it's hard for me to predict, but I'm confident that there's—there's a level of enthusiasm out there that is quite remarkable, and if we translate that into votes, I'm very confident.

DONALDSON: You've thrown out, what? A couple hundred thousand dollars into Virginia advertising suddenly?

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: You must have a feeling that maybe it's doable?

Sen. McCAIN: Oh, yeah. I think—I think maybe it's doable, and I think that, again, there's movement. I think we can do it. You know, I—look, I predicted that we would win in New Hampshire. I was right. I predicted we'd win South Carolina. I was wrong. I wasn't sure about Michigan, and we won, so I—you're probably asking the wrong guy. There's no doubt that what—what we're seeing in California, Washington, ye--)--Ohio yesterday. Some very significant movement and enthusiasm. Whether that translates into victory or not, I'm confident, but there's too much movement out there.

DONALDSON: Before we get into political questions—Cokie and I both have a couple of questions about the Diallo verdict, and my is what do you think of it? Was the jury right?

Sen. McCAIN: Well, I—I don't like to second-guess our court system, but it was a racially mixed jury. I know that this is a terribly emotional issue, but for me to second-guess what a jury concluded, what is viewed as a free and fair trial, I don't think I can do that.

ROBERTS: Senator, there've been a few political incidents that have come up in the last week or so, and one of them has been about these calls...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: ...that were made in Michigan.

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: And—and when the Catholic voter alerts went out...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: initially said that you didn't know anything about it. You said that on FOX News...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: ... and then on the "Today Show." Here's what you said on the "Today Show."

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: Let's take a look. "The calls that were made that I, that I had anything to do with, although I didn't, I don't know who paid for them, had to do with pointing out that Governor Bush did go to an institution that prohibits racial dating, that is anti-Catholic."

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: Now you take responsibility for those calls.

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: You knew ahead of time that those calls were made by your campaign. Why'd you say that?

Sen. McCAIN: They were not—first of all, they were not comments that Governor Bush was anti-Catholic. The call was that he attended an institution there. My campaign said to me—came to me and said 'We want to make some calls.' I said, 'As long as they are factual and correct, and the same thing that I would say on "The Today Show," or any other program, fine.' Then they were portrayed as some calls that were somehow accusing Governor Bush of being anti-Catholic or—or a bigot, and that's not true, and that's not what—what I take responsibility for. So there were a lot of things going on. Obviously in a campaign, you don't know of everything, but they told me they were making calls that were factually true.

Now, the question was asked to me: was—were you responsible for some calls that accused Governor Bush of being anti-Catholic? And I still am not, and—and—and will not, but I will go on any program and say that Governor Bush went to an institution that clearly has been anti-Catholic, called my dear and wonderful friend—I mean, have done things that—that are really remarkable, including a ban on interracial dating, and so...

ROBERTS: But—but, Senator, you did approve those calls?

Sen. McCAIN: The calls I approved of are the calls that were made. I was asked if we made calls that were anti—that accused Governor Bush...

ROBERTS: So, you're saying that you...

Sen. McCAIN: ...of anti-Catholic...

ROBERTS: ...that the calls were mischaracterized...

Sen. McCAIN: Yes, indeed.

ROBERTS: ...and therefore, you—you denied them because you didn't recognize them.

Sen. McCAIN: Look, a whole lot of things were going on at the time. I didn't (inaudible) when Ray said were you making anti-Catholic calls that say Governor Bush is anti-Catholic, I said 'No' because we're not, and we didn't.

DONALDSON: Senator, you've said had you been invited to Bob Jones, you would have gone perhaps...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: would have then said in front of them...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: ...that you disagree with their policy. Was there some discussion with your staff during that period of you going to Bob Jones?

Sen. McCAIN: None—NONE serious because there was not—there was no invitation extended...

DONALDSON: Well, excuse me, Senator, none serious?

Sen. McCAIN: me that I know of.

DONALDSON: None serious.

Sen. McCAIN: What's that?

DONALDSON: You said none serious? Was there any discussion?

Sen. McCAIN: Not that I know of. Not at my level. There may have been conversations about—there was a—a professor who teaches a government class there that said would you come and—and talk to my government class, and we said that we would check on that. The fact is, I don't mind going anyplace where people have views that I find hateful or anti-ethical to my views. I'll be glad to go there, but when I go there, I'm going to tell them exactly what I think of them.

DONALDSON: Senator...

Sen. McCAIN: I'm going to tell—and I'm going to tell the people at Bob Jones University that ought to get in out of the 15th Century, and into the 21st Century, and the things that they espouse, including a ban on interracial dating, are personally offensive to me, but, more importantly, offensive to almost all Americans.

DONALDSON: Senator, have you ever been to the Bob Jones campus?

Sen. McCAIN: No.

ROBERTS: Your—one of your great supporters though, Lindsey Graham...

Sen. McCAIN: Mmm.

ROBERTS: ...has an honorary degree from there.

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: You don't condemn him?

Sen. McCAIN: Lindsey Graham has condemned what Bob Jones did during the—what they did at Bob Jones University during this campaign. A professor who put out e-mails, a professor at Bob Jones University who put out e-mails allegedly that I had fathered illegitimate children. This is—this is how bad this campaign got in South Carolina, and when confronted by CNN reporters said, 'Well, can you prove that he didn't?' I mean—so, certainly—certainly Lindsey Graham has voiced his strong disapproval of that kind of activity, and Lindsey Graham's not running for president of the United States.

ROBERTS: But a vote will come up in the Senate, perhaps even this week, condemning Bob Jones. Will you—will you vote for that? That condemnation?

Sen. McCAIN: I hope that's a unanimous vote. I—I can't see...

ROBERTS: Will you come back from the campaign for that?

Sen. McCAIN: If it's necessary to do so, but my views on—on Bob Jones University are—are pretty well known. I don't—I'm sure I have to authenticate them for a recorded vote, but I'd be glad to do that for...

DONALDSON: Senator, you've touched on this, but I want to show you what Governor Bush has said in a press release about what we're talking about and more. He said, "John McCain, in South Carolina, compared me to Bill Clinton and said I was just as untrustworthy. Now, he's paying for calls that call me an anti-Catholic bigot. This is shameful politics being practiced by Senator McCain."

Sen. McCAIN: Sorry. Sorry, Governor. If you look—and I hope you have the transcript there that—of what the phone calls said. It said exactly what is the fact, and that is he went to this university. They had a mandatory attendance of 6,000 students there. At that time he could have said, 'Look, stop this kind of idiocy, this—this cruelty that you are practicing.' Instead, he just gave a normal speech, and that, in my view, is what people should know about. Just as—as...

DONALDSON: Senator...

Sen. McCAIN: ...but—but there was no charge in that—that transcript of those phone calls that said that he was anti Catholic or in anything else, except to point out that people who go to places like that and don't protest their policies, then obviously maybe some people may not think that's a good thing to do.

DONALDSON: Senator, I have another graphic about something you've had to deal with in the last few days...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: ...your famous statement about gooks. Here is one of the things you said. Speaking of his North Vietnamese captors: "I hated the gooks, and I'll hate them for as long as I live."

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: And, elsewhere, you repeated words to those effects and said, 'You may quote me.'

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: So, this is not something you were saying privately.

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: You've taken it back. Why'd you take it back?

Sen. McCAIN: No, what I said was if I offended anyone by that comment that I would apologize, but I stand by my views, as do my fellow POWs, that there was a few guards and interrogates, and that was the context of the conversation I was having on the Straight Talk Express, about a few people who sadistically tortured, and in some cases murdered, my friends. I will always harbor an intense dislike for them.

Let's put this in the context, though, is that I'm going to want, along with John Kerrey and some others, who fought for the normalization of relations between our two countries, which clearly indicates that I have—harbor no ill-will towards Vietnamese, North or South, but there are a few individuals, just like as the same in World War II, there were some Japanese guards and there were some German people, that still are being sought for war crimes. If I had the chance, I would find "The Bug"...

DONALDSON: ...(Unintelligible)...

Sen. McCAIN: ...and these other people and put them into a war crimes tribunal, and I will call them what my South Vietnamese friends called them because they are not good people...

DONALDSON: Senator, I suppose...

Sen. McCAIN: any stretch of the imagination.

DONALDSON: ...very few Americans would not understand...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: ...your feelings about your North Vietnamese captors. It's the word—it's the work "gooks,"...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: ...that I'm asking you whether...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: take it back, or are going to use it again either in public or private conversation?

Sen. McCAIN: What I said was, and I'll repeat—if I offended anyone by saying that, I apologize, but I will continue to dislike these people intensely and seek their—their appearance before an international war crimes tribunal for what they did in direct violation of the Geneva Convention for the Treatment of Prisoners of War.

DONALDSON: All right, Senator. I comes up in the context of other things...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: ...that you have said, recently...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: ...I'm not going back 10 years, that causes people to wonder about your temperament, frankly.

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: Speaking of Leisure World, you said publically—you joked that it was "Seizure World."

Sen. McCAIN: That was 1986.

DONALDSON: You said about Alzheimers: the nice thing about Alzheimers is you can hide your own Easter eggs. Now, these are public things, Senator...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: I'm not talking about private.

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: You called a nationally-know reporter an idiot before a crowd.

Sen. McCAIN: Oh...

DONALDSON: There may be people that would agree with you. I don't know.

Sen. McCAIN: Come on, Sam. I used...

DONALDSON: There's the Chelsea Clinton—there's the Chelsea Clinton joke, for which you apologized directly to the White House.

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: I raise these because people say is that the way President McCain would speak in public about things?

Sen. McCAIN: Yes. It's just—President McCain will use humor wherever he can. Sometimes it will be poorly done, and sometimes it will get President McCain in trouble, but humor has been a very important part of my life, and it will continue to be—the use of humor. When I said that the reporter was an idiot, I call him Communist and Trotskiits, and they laugh, and I laugh. Most of them have a good sense of humor. What the quote "Seizure World" joke was in 1986, so when you say in the last 10 years, I believe that that's a little longer than that.

I made a terrible mistake when I—and I've apologized profusely for the insensitive—insensitivity that I displayed in talking about the president's daughter, and it was—it was something that I will always regret, but the fact is I will continue to use humor in my life, and in a political campaign, and if it gets me into trouble from time-to-time, yes. So you can count on President McCain to try to use humor to lighten up things and make people enjoy life and, particularly, political campaigns.

DONALDSON: Well, certainly, one of the people that you idolize, I guess, Ronald Reagan, used a lot of humor. We'll come to that in a few moments...

Sen. McCAIN: Thank you.

DONALDSON: ...and we'll be back with more questions with Senator McCain. Cokie will be here, so please stay with us. Announcer: From ABC News, THIS WEEK with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts, brought to you by...

(Commercial break)

ROBERTS: We're back with Senator John McCain.

Senator McCain, this past week, after winning Democratic and independent votes in Michigan, you have been saying that you are a proud Reagan Conservative...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: ...and you have an ad running in California and other places that makes that plain. Let's take a look at this ad, or part of it.

Sen. McCAIN: (From television ad) You can't turn on your TV without seeing an ad for the establishment trying to fool you about me. Here's some straight talk. I'm a proud Reagan Republican. I'll tear up the 44,000-page tax code that benefits special interests...

ROBERTS: Well, let's talk about the taxes.

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: George Bush's tax plan sounds to me like a tax plan Ronald Reagan would love.

Sen. McCAIN: I'm not sure Ronald Reagan would have loved it at this particular period in our economic history. In other words, we have surpluses. We have a period of unprecedented prosperity. Ronald Reagan had a deep sense of obligation, and the Social Security trust fund is in trouble. Medicare's in trouble, and the majority of Americans want us to pay down the debt, and I think that Ronald Reagan, in this particular time, would probably, or will probably support...


Sen. McCAIN: ...the kind of proposals...

ROBERTS: ...the great tax cuts of Ronald Reagan?

Sen. McCAIN: But, at the time, the economy was not in good shape. We needed to stimulate it. Look, if—if our economy takes a down-turn, I'll be the first to say cut marginal tax credits, cut Capital Gains, and let's stimulate the economy. Right now, we've got this enormous opportunity to save Social Security, to put some money in Medicare, and pay down this debt, which we're paying interest on, which is, you know, nearly as much as we pay on defense. So, I think it's very responsible to—to take care of our obligations.

ROBERTS: One other part about that ad...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm..

ROBERTS: How would you be tearing up the tax code—the 44,000-page tax code?

Sen. McCAIN: By...

ROBERTS: I'm seeing a mental image of...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: ...of you tearing it up. How...

Sen. McCAIN: I'm glad you do...

ROBERTS: did you plan to?

Sen. McCAIN: I was trying to get others to grab that same image. What—what I'm saying is that the reason why it's 44,000 pages long is because is because it's full of benefits for special interests and corporate welfare, and I want to eliminate that. One of the ways I want to get money for the working family tax cut is to close those loopholes, and I know there's huge controversy associated with some of those loopholes.

ROBERTS: But the tax code stays there?

Sen. McCAIN: That—that would take the tax code way, way down, so when I say tear it up, I mean get rid of all the special interests, and the loopholes, and the nightmare it's become for average citizens. No average citizen in America today can figure out the tax code.

ROBERTS: Let me ask you a couple of other...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: ...particular California-based questions that...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: with Ronald Reagan. He was very much for off-shore oil drilling. You're not.

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: Reagan? Like Reagan?

Sen. McCAIN: Well, I think again, in the context of the times, people in California have become more and more sensitive to the issue of off-shore oil dr—drilling. I think Ronald Reagan believed...

ROBERTS: But we're at a time of very high oil prices.

Sen. McCAIN: I—I understand that, but let—let me just say that I think that Ronald Reagan believe—I know that he believes—that states should have enormous input into the decisions that directly concern them. This directly concerns the people of California, this decision on off-shore oil drilling. No, off of this coast of Texas, I understand Texans want off-shore oil drilling. That's fine with me. Off Florida, they don't. I think that we should allow these decisions, to some degree to be made—significant degree to be made by the people who are directly affected by them.

ROBERTS: Another California hot issue: auto emissions. Again...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: ...Governor Reagan was not for limiting the auto emissions. You are.

Sen. McCAIN: Well, I—I'm for—for progress to be made. All of us are—are in favor of that. Im—improving technology. Detroit is tell us that there's going to be hybrid engines. There's now battery-powered. I would argue, again, when Ronald Reagan—when pres—when Ronald Reagan was governor of the state of California, they didn't have nearly the amounts of environmental problems that we have in California, and I'm sorry to tell you, in Arizona. A brown cloud hangs over our valley in Phoenix all too often, and so, I think that, with the times...

ROBERTS: I was living in California then, Senator. They had worse environmental problems then than they do now. They've cleaned up a lot of it.

Sen. McCAIN: And they—and they want that to continue. Excuse me, you're right. There—because there has been a dramatic improvement in the scrubbers and the—and the emissions particulates from their power plants. I think they want to see that continue, and I don't—and I don't disagree with that. But, again, the people of California are saying that they want continued...

ROBERTS: All right. Here's one where you have come out on one side...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: ...people of California, we don't know who they're coming out.

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: A proposition that's on the ballot...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: ...the same day that your campaign is, on campaign financing that includes public financing in the proposition. You're for it, even though you say you're not for public financing.

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm. I am for anything that improves the present situation where the governor of California comes up with $ 6.5 million, now $ 13 million in his first half year...

ROBERTS: Including public financing?

Sen. McCAIN: No. What this is is it pays for some vouchers that would then be e—allowed to—for a candidate to...

ROBERTS: But that's taxpayer money.

Sen. McCAIN:—to—to purchase free television time. I'm against public financing, but I'm more against the present system where everything is out of control. So Secretary of State Bill Jones has got an—has got a proposal. I support that one as well. I'm not going to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. If one section of it—of a campaign finance proposal isn't what I really want, but yet there is campaign finance reform overall, then I will support it. I'm not going to allow the—the—the perfect to be the enemy of the good...

ROBERTS: Mm-hmm. Even when it includes public financing.

Sen. McCAIN: It's a very small aspect of it, and again, it includes a whole bunch of provisions that I would strongly support, and I also support the secretary of State, Bill Jones's proposal which doesn't have public financing. Which would I prefer? Probably his, but I prefer either one of the present ones as opposed to the situation right now which is just totally out of control.

ROBERTS: One other issue that is hot in California always...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: the issue of—of gay rights.

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: You voted against the anti-discrimination bill against gays which was defeated by one vote.

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: You attended the Oregon Citizens Alliance fundraiser where this group that is anti-gay...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: ...made money off your appearance.

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: Is that something that you wish you hadn't done?

Sen. McCAIN: I went there and told those people that they should practice tolerance. I told them that they should be people who rejected discriminatory practices...

ROBERTS: But they made money off your appearance. People had pictures taken with you where they could make an extra hundred dollars for having their picture taken.

Sen. McCAIN: I think the point is that I went there, and the money that they raised was miniscule, but my message to them is what they needed to hear, and I'll go most anywhere to tell people where I disagree with them, and try and show them the truth of the way that they should go.

ROBERTS: If they shouldn't be discriminatory, why did you vote against the bill?

Sen. McCAIN: The bill itself was a bill concerning the rec—the legal recognition of gay marriages. I am...

ROBERTS: No, no, no! Not the Defense of Marriage Act. The Anti-discrimination Against Gays Act.

Sen. McCAIN: The Anti-discrimination Against...


Sen. McCAIN: ...Gay Act? Ga—I am opposed to discrimination against anybody under any circumstances. That particular bill did not contain that. I contained a whole lot of other provisions that the majority of the United States Senate voted against.

ROBERTS: Well, 50 senators...

Sen. McCAIN: Yes.

ROBERTS: ...voted against.

Sen. McCAIN: Yes.

ROBERTS: Forty-nine voted for. A very close vote.

Sen. McCAIN: Very close vote, yes.

ROBERTS: We will have more when we come back with Senator John McCain. Sam will have some questions. Stay with us.

(Commercial break)

DONALDSON: We're back with Senator John McCain. Hey, are you getting any sleep?

Sen. McCAIN: Not a lot. Not a lot. Let me just return and say, I have always opposed discrimination of every kind. I support the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in the military, but my record of 18 years—I don't—I'm not still clear about exactly what you're talking about on the vote, but I am—it is clear that I've opposed discrimination of every—of any kind and I've actively worked against it.

DONALDSON: Well, I think that vote, if my notes were correct, was in 1996. We—we'll check that, Senator.

Sen. McCAIN: Yes.

DONALDSON: Having asked you are you getting any sleep, now let's get back to the questions. You said earlier, about the Diallo case, you—you would not second-guess...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: ...the jury. You say you agree with the jury's verdict, or simply that you're not going to take a stand?

Sen. McCAIN: I'm saying that, unless there was some clear evidence that there was a distortion of the judicial process in this case, that it was some unfairness practiced, that there was some way that we could prove that these—these individuals did not receive a fair trail, then I'm not going to second guess them.

DONALDSON: OK, so you agreed...

Sen. McCAIN: Yeah.

DONALDSON: ...with the verdict as long as those caveats are met?

Sen. McCAIN: Absolutely.

DONALDSON: All right, Senator, you—what—if you've infuriated your fellow senators...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: ...because of campaign finance reform, you've infuriated a lot of them because of your attack on pork barrel politics.

Sen. McCAIN: Worse than campaign financing.

DONALDSON: I want to show you some of the things that I believe you've opposed over the years...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: states where you're now going to face...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: ...preliminaries.

Sen. McCAIN: Sure.

DONALDSON: For instances: McCain opposes Pacific Salmon Restoration Fund and the dredging of...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: ...that important river up there. McCain opposed $ 500,000 for a national veterans cemetery inspection to look to see whether we need more. McCain opposes Amtrak subsidies.

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: Do we have that right?

Sen. McCAIN: Well, what you've got wrong is the reason why I oppose them. I oppose them...

DONALDSON: That's why you're here to tell us.

Sen. McCAIN: Yeah. Right. The reason why I oppose them is because the virtues or the vices associated with a particular program. I can't judge those. I don't have that kind of knowledge and information. The reason why I oppose them is because they were stuck in appropriations bills, sometimes in conference, without any vote, without any input, without any comparison, with any of the virtues or competition with any other project.

I was accl—I was asked about a cancer study that I had opposed in some state. I can't remember which—which one it was now. I said, 'Look, I don't think that we shouldn't have op—we shouldn't have supported that, but we have a cancer cluster down in Nogales, Arizona. Should we have competed for that money openly, fairly, through the normal process of budget requests, authorization of appropriations? I'm opposing these pork barrel or ear-marked spending, not because of the virtues of the projects, but the way that they distort the entire process.

Look, the last bill we passed last November, which the Citizens Against Government Waste called the worst pork barrel bill in history, which I opposed, and Governor Bush said he would support and sign, was full of those things. They may have been good. They may have been bad...

DONALDSON: So it was the...

Sen. McCAIN: ...but I never got the opportunity to see whether they were or not.

DONALDSON: So that—so that...

Sen. McCAIN: They were based on congressional power rather than the virtues of the projects themselves.

DONALDSON: That was the process.

Sen. McCAIN: Yes.

DONALDSON: You've explained that...

Sen. McCAIN: Yes.

DONALDSON: ...but certainly in the case of Amtrak, you have a long record of opposing subsidies to Amtrak.

Sen. McCAIN: I...

DONALDSON: Just the process?

Sen. McCAIN: ...I am—I've been opposed to a—to a continuous expenditure of money that has not been successful in bring about what they have said—the Amtrak people have said that they would do and that is make it a profitable operation.

DONALDSON: But, Senator, New York would...

Sen. McCAIN: Yeah.

DONALDSON: ...New York commuters would—would die without Amtrak. What are you saying?

Sen. McCAIN: New York commuters deserve not having your tax dollars used to subsidize a continuously-losing proposition, and they deserve that, and so do the voters of Arizona, and the voters of Utah, and the voters of Oregon that never get to ride Amtrak, but their tax dollars are going to...

DONALDSON: Well, would President McCain insist, if he could, that Amtrak be self-sufficient or else go out of business?

Sen. McCAIN: Amtrak has already said that they would. We passed a law that says that Amtrak has to do that or go out of business, so, yeah, I would ask them to comply with the law.

DONALDSON: All right. Senator—Senator, you support China's entry into the WTO?

Sen. McCAIN: Yes.

DONALDSON: Now, the Bush campaign is saying that you oppose the Foreign Sales Corporations. Now, let me just see if I understand what that is. The WTO has reaffirmed a ruling that the US tax code should be rewritten to eliminate Foreign Sales Corporations, which was a Reagan device to try...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: even the playing field. At the moment, that makes us a little even with our competitors when it comes to—European competitors when it comes to the taxes.

Sen. McCAIN: Do we want to be like the Europeans? Please!

DONALDSON: Well, do you oppose...

Sen. McCAIN: Please! I mean, do we want to be like the Europeans?

DONALDSON: ...since you're opposed to everyone, and I'm not an authority...

Sen. McCAIN: And subsidize—and subsidize our products? Look we're spending millions of dollars...

DONALDSON: ...but do you oppose this...

Sen. McCAIN: We're spen—we're spending millions of dollars to help McDonald's sell—and I love McDonalds...

DONALDSON: But, Senator...

Sen. McCAIN: ...don't get me wrong.

DONALDSON: I want you to...

Sen. McCAIN: To help them sell hamburgers overseas.

DONALDSON: ...I want you to give your reasons, but I want to first understand, do you...

Sen. McCAIN: But don't you understand...

DONALDSON: Do you favor eliminating...

Sen. McCAIN: ...I'm not in favor of subsidizing major corporations that the most productive worker and the most proficient economy in the world is the United States of America, and that we should then break down barriers to our products and allow them to compete with us because we're the most competitive economy in the world? Don't you understand the—the—the principles of free trade?

DONALDSON: But, Sir—I may understand, or not understand...

Sen. McCAIN: Yeah.

DONALDSON: I'm not the brightest person...

Sen. McCAIN: Yeah. Sure.

DONALDSON: the world...

Sen. McCAIN: Well, that's true.

DONALDSON: ...but major corporations in this country—I agree with you. You can call me what you like.

Sen. McCAIN: No, you're—you're very bright.

DONALDSON: Major corporations in this country would disagree with you by saying that we have to have a level playing field.

Sen. McCAIN: Sure.

DONALDSON: If you eliminate this, the Europeans...

Sen. McCAIN: When did you not hear an argument that they have a level playing field? Sam, please, we can compete on—with anybody in any market in the world because our products and our workers are the most productive. The answer is not to subsidize with taxpayer's dollars these major corporations and companies. The answer is to say to every country, 'Allow our products into your country, and then we'll allow your products into ours, and we'll compete on a level playing field.' It's an insult to the American worker when we say we have to give you extra help and subsidize you when you're the best worker in the world. That's what—this is the whole principle, I think, that I—I strongly adhere to is free trade.

DONALDSON: I certainly...

Sen. McCAIN: Anti-protectionism.

DONALDSON: I certainly feel instructed.

Sen. McCAIN: Thank you.

DONALDSON: Our time is about up.

ROBERTS: Right, there's one...

DONALDSON: I have one more question...

Sen. McCAIN: Sure, Sam.

DONALDSON: One more.

Sen. McCAIN: Sure.

DONALDSON: Do you have a question?

ROBERTS: Yeah, but I—go ahead. Then I want to come back around...

DONALDSON: I was going to ask you about Kosovo. Now there seems to be a feeling that we need more people there, the community does.

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

DONALDSON: Would you be in favor of sending more Americans forces to Kosovo to keep the peace?

Sen. McCAIN: I would not, and I—and the Europeans have got to shoulder more of this burden, including in Bosnia, and they've got to understand that they are wealthy countries, they have a lot of money. Their con—their spending on defense continues to decline. Spend some more money on defense, guys, and take care of a problem that is primarily a European problem.


ROBERTS: Senator, since you brought it back up...

Sen. McCAIN: Yes.

DONALDSON: ...I'm coming back around to it.

Sen. McCAIN: OK.

ROBERTS: It was the Employment Non-Discrimination Act...

Sen. McCAIN: Yes.

ROBERTS: ...that applied to Civ--1964 Civil Rights Act to homo—homosexuals, gays...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

ROBERTS: ...lesbians.

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm. Oh...

ROBERTS: Is that the same?

Sen. McCAIN: ...that's clear.

ROBERTS: But the same...

Sen. McCAIN: Yeah, I don't—I don't believe that they belong in a special category. I think that the present laws that clearly prevent a discrimination of any kind certainly applies to gays and homosexuals as well. That's why I voted the way that I did. I think that enforcement of existing law could work rather than passing special laws for special categories of people. Thank you...

ROBERTS: Clearing that up.

Sen. McCAIN: ...for helping me clear up...

ROBERTS: Thank you, Senator.

DONALDSON: All right. Thank you so much...

Sen. McCAIN: I've enj—I've enjoyed my interrogation.

DONALDSON: ...for being with us.

Sen. McCAIN: It's been a lot of fun.

DONALDSON: I hope you'll come back.

Sen. McCAIN: Thank you. Love it.

Skip to top

Help us stay free for all your Fellow Americans

Just $5 from everyone reading this would do it.

Back to top