State of the Union: Sen McCain

August 3, 2009

Senator John McCain was on CNN’s State of the Union with John King. Discusses the stimulus, healthcare, Iran, Afghanistan, Judge Sotomayor, Sarah Palin, Steroids in baseball and Twitter.


MCCAIN: I think you could say that it is a short-term improvement in the economy. And I’ll be glad to give him credit for that. But the question that I think we should be asking, are the long-term consequences of this unprecedented debts and deficits — are they beneficial to the country? And I think the answer is no.


The stimulus package, I believe, was so large and the deficit and debt problem is so overwhelming that Americans now are very concerned about their children’s futures and the debt we are laying on them. So you’re seeing concern about the debt and the deficit being one of the most, if not the most important issue that Americans feel concerns them. And so I think that has contributed to a lack of progress on health care.


MCCAIN: I think, clearly, by not acting before the August recess, it gives us all more time to have debate and discussion across the country. I think that it’s important that we all recognize we want to fix health care, that it needs to be repaired. The question is — is how.

And the fundamental contradiction we have between the two parties is that we believe the quality of health care is the best in the world and must be preserved. It’s the cost that’s the problem. The Democrats believe that you’ve got to change the entire health care system in America, including the so-called government option, which we believe would be — lead to a government takeover of the health care system in America. That’s why we’ve had so much trouble reconciling differences even though we share a common goal of fixing health care in America.

KING: Is President Obama feared?

MCCAIN: Oh, I think we all recognize, I don’t know if the word is fear, or even in this other instance that as you cited, but there’s no doubt that this is a very effective president of the United States. He’s an excellent communicator. He has sizable majorities in both houses of Congress. So I would never count anybody out in health care or anything else when you have these sizable majorities.


MCCAIN: I’m still going back and forth….I voted against her for the Appeals Court and I’m examining her record on the Appeals Court….You know, I’m really still kind of undecided because there’s no doubt that this is a great American success story. One that would be an inspiration to millions of other Americans, particularly young Hispanic or Latino women. There’s no doubt there’s that side of the discussion, as well.


MCCAIN: I also await General McChrystal’s opinion….But from everything I’ve seen, it looks like the Afghan army has to be increased and significantly. And that’s going to be a huge cost. And I — it appears as if we need more troops, but I’ve continued to be guided by the — to a large degree by the commanders on the ground and their view. Not strictly dictated, but they’re the ones that really have the responsibility to a great extent.

And General Petraeus was right on Iraq and I think General McChrystal will be correct on Afghanistan.

IRAN (he mentions Neda):

MCCAIN: I think it’s clear that there is the beginning of the end of the rule of the radical Muslim clerics that rule Iran. Just yesterday there were more demonstrations. There were seminal events in all of these things, the young woman bleeding to death, Neda, bleeding to death in the street in Tehran was a seminal event.

So I think you’re going to see significant changes in Iran either sooner or later. And so we want to be very careful about our relationship with the Iranians. Time is not on our side. The Israelis are getting more and more impatient. This is a huge national security challenge for the president. And I want to work with him just as much as we can. The whole Middle East could be in very, very serious crisis if — unless something changes.


MCCAIN: …people make decisions, what they think is best for their own future, their state, the country, and their family. And I’m not aware of all of the influences, but I respect Sarah Palin, I appreciate her and her husband enormously. I think she will continue to play a major role in the future of the Republican Party. And I have to respect the decision she made….everybody makes the decisions as to what’s best for themselves and their families. And Sarah, I think, made clearly the best decision. I think she will continue to contribute, I think she’ll continue to be a force.

And I just also continue to kind of be saddened by the fact that there’s still such vicious attacks on her and her family. I mean, it’s — I’ve never seen anything quite like it.

I respect her. I appreciate her. I think she has a role to play in the future….one of the great pleasures in the campaign that I had was spending time with her and Todd and all their children.


MCCAIN: I’m just sick about some of it. I really am. I’m just sick. We tried very hard in Congress as you know, when I was the chairman of the Commerce Committee. We had hearings and all of these things. The thing that bothers me more than anything else very briefly, there’s someone in a lab somewhere trying to develop a substance that won’t be detected by tests. So it’s always going to be a game of catch up. But we’ve got to get these young people to understand, it’ll kill them, it’ll kill them.

And remember John McCain the digital ignoramus who didn’t even know how to send emails? You know the barry attack ad (that Biden said was terrible) with the 70’s suit, thick glasses, disco ball, Rubik’s cube and huge computer and phone?

JOHN KING: The John McCain Twitter account has more than 1.1 million followers. The official White House Twitter account has only about 830,000 as of last count. Is it time to replace the Electoral College with the Twitter count?

MCCAIN: It is a phenomenal way of communicating.

JESSICA YELLIN: How do you like that? John McCain, more Twitter followers than the White House. A new measure of political popularity these days.

Can’t rely on the regular old polls when barry’s numbers are dropping.

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