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A Conversation With McCain-Palin Campaign Manager Rick Davis

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From yesterday’s show, a promise of more fireworks ahead, including a rethinking of Jeremiah Wright’s significance after the Lewis/Murtha attacks:

HH: Joined by Rick Davis, campaign chair of McCain-Palin ’08. Mr. Davis, welcome back. The attacks on Joe the Plumber have begun. Are you surprised?

RD: No, I’m not surprised. I mean, it’s unbelievable. John McCain uses Joe the Plumber as a symbol of middle class America, the blue collar working man and his plight against higher taxes. And instead of protecting the middle class and fighting for them, what does the Barack Obama campaign do? Attack them. And I mean, look, we’ve been through this now for a long time with this campaign, and their allies in the liberal media elites. And they hate the middle class. And if you think they’re going to give them a break, you’ve got another thing coming.

HH: Now there are attacks on Joe the Plumber throughout the left-o-sphere and in the MSM. Do you believe the Obama campaign is complicit in those attacks?

RD: Oh, of course they are. I mean, you know, it’s just standard operating procedure with character assassination by the Obama campaign. They do it to everybody associated with our campaign who have anything nice and helpful to offer to us. And it’s just the same thing they’ve done with us, they’re going to poor Joe the Plumber. And let me tell you, America will rally around this guy. Whether it’s Joe the Plumber or Joe the Carpenter or Joe the Floorist or any one of the Joes that are out there, they’re going to rally to his defense, and it’s going to be a groundswell of support for him. This is ridiculous.

HH: Other big story of the day, Jack Murtha, Democratic Congressman close to Obama and Pelosi and Reid, calls all of Western Pennsylvania, half the state, racist. What’s the reaction at McCain-Palin to that one?

RD: We’re just shocked at the, as you describe it, the liberal elites in the media aren’t all over this. I mean, last weekend, Congressman Lewis said the most horrible things about John McCain and Sarah Palin, and our entire campaign and all of our supporters, called them all racist. And it didn’t take long for that to wear off because it’s not only not true, but offensive to most Americans. So what does Murtha do? Jump right back on that train. I think it’s great. It’s going to help us turn out vote in Western Pennsylvania. And I think they ought to just keep it up because it shows American exactly what the next leadership’s going to be under Barack Obama if he’s president. [# More #]

HH: Senator Obama earlier said that in Pennsylvania, and in rural and suburban America generally, they cling to their guns and their God. What else do they have to do? Insult Pittsburgh Steelers fans? I do that all the time, but out of jest. What, are you folks competitive in Pennsylvania after this?

RD: Oh, sure we are, and Murtha’s going to help us get even more competitive. Let me tell you, outside the Philadelphia suburb, there’s not a lot of love for Barack Obama and his allies. And so we’re going to run up the state. And we’re going to continue to be competitive there. We’ve got a great team in Pennsylvania, and look, numbers are flying around all over the place this week. Anybody who thinks they know where this thing stands right now is just blowing smoke. So my attitude is John McCain’s going to be in Pennsylvania, Sarah Palin’s going to be in Pennsylvania. We’re going to continue to campaign actively there. We’ve got lots of money on TV to sell our message of hope for the future, cutting taxes and cutting spending, and getting this country back on track economically, and that’s exactly what’s going to win us that state.

HH: Senator Obama’s scheduled a big infomercial on the eve of one of the World Series games on all the networks. I don’t know, maybe they’ll be advising people how to make money in real estate. But what are you folks going to do to counter that? Will John McCain be making a similar half hour appeal to the American people?

RD: No, shoot. We didn’t break our commitment to the American public to take the government funding, and to continue to raise money from fat cat liberal Democrats like Barack Obama did. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to take our campaign to the people. We’re going to do a lot of interviews that day, we’re going to continue to campaign all the way through his infomercial. And you know what? Look, I think it’s great. I want to get a bumper sticker out there for everybody-spend it all now, Barack. I mean, as far as I’m concerned, he’s going to have spent the most amount of money to get the least amount of vote in this election cycle.

HH: Well, we’ll make a three hour offer to Senator McCain on the day of the infomercial if he’d like to come on and co-host the show.

RD: Oh, I think that would be great. I’d love to offer him that opportunity. That’s exactly what I’m talking about.

HH: Please do. We’ll be here.

RD: You know, America can talk back to this kind of bullying. And if he thinks he’s going to buy the presidency, I think he’s got another thing coming to him.

HH: We’ll hold that day. Now what about Bill Ayers and ACORN? Are they on the table?

RD: Well, of course they’re on the table. I don’t know if you saw what happened today, but ACORN was basically told by the FBI that their entire national organization’s under investigation. You heard it here first. We started attacking the Obama campaign on this nefarious relationship they have with a group that’s been trying to steal eleven states blind and take us into the most corrupt election cycle that we’ve seen in the nation’s history. And it’s not a surprise to me that the FBI said yeah, we’re in on this action, too. We want to take a look at what they’re doing. I asked the Obama campaign today in a release that they ought to clear out the cobwebs. You know, let’s find out what they did with that $850,000 dollars that they paid ACORN. Who was working with them in their hierarchy? Was it a campaign manager? Was there a senior consultant? Was it the candidate himself making calls to ACORN? Are they currently approached by the FBI? Are they under investigation, too? I mean, let’s find out what’s going on, because you know, the one thing we know is that if we don’t ask, they’re not going to tell us.

HH: Let me ask you, you know, Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney in Chicago, is investigating the Chicago Machine. Tony Rezko is convicted, he’s continuing conversations there. Should Senator Obama be forced, obliged to commit to keeping Patrick Fitzgerald in that job if he is indeed elected president?

RD: Absolutely. It’s a complete and total insult if he doesn’t announce between now and election day that if he becomes president, and that thing befalls the nation, that Patrick Fitzgerald should be there as long as there is time and effort to investigate that corrupt Chicago political organization. The Governor’s got problems, Rezko’s got problems. I think that any other politician in America would have been held to a higher standard, and have to explain what their relationships are with these people, but not Barack Obama. Why? Because the liberal media is out there protecting his left flank, and as long as they’re doing that, I think we owe it to ourselves and the nation to make sure that when good, solid people like Patrick Fitzgerald are out there doing the right work for our country that they’re protected, and Obama should go out of his way to do it.

HH: Let’s talk a little bit about Rashid Khalidi, another of Barack Obama’s close friends, also a very close friend with Bill Ayers. Has Rashid Khalidi received enough attention? He’s pretty radical when it comes to the Palestinian cause.

RD: You know, I don’t think any of this stuff has received enough attention. And what’s amazing to me is that there’s nobody other than people like you, Hugh, and our campaign who are asking those questions of Barack Obama. I mean, how many times do you sit in a chair and give an interview and you know, and Ayers never comes up, nor any of these other characters that they hang around? Don’t you think that when we have the least experienced ever to run for president of the United States that simple questions about their friends and who their allies are politically are germane to the political debate? I mean, I just find it amazing that we’re supposed to believe that on his own, without any questions, he has got enough capacity to serve as president. I question that. I don’t think he has the experience to be president. I think it’s a risk at a time when there’s a crisis that’s not worth taking.

HH: Now there is a report in the media, a couple actually, that your campaign is divided over whether or not Jeremiah Wright ought to be an issue in the last three weeks. What is the situation? Will Jeremiah Wright be part of the McCain campaign’s appeal to people to consider Barack Obama in the last three weeks?

RD: Look, John McCain has told us a long time ago before this campaign ever got started, back in May, I think, that from his perspective, he was not going to have his campaign actively involved in using Jeremiah Wright as a wedge in this campaign. Now since then, I must say, when Congressman Lewis calls John McCain and Sarah Palin and his entire group of supporters, fifty million people strong around this country, that we’re all racists and we should be compared to George Wallace and the kind of horrible segregation and evil and horrible politics that was played at that time, you know, that you’ve got to rethink all these things. And so I think we’re in the process of looking at how we’re going to close this campaign. We’ve got 19 days, and we’re taking serious all these issues.

HH: Are there any surprises for McCain-Palin coming from the opposition research department about Barack Obama, stories we haven’t seen, video we haven’t heard, audio that has not been played?

RD: You know, Hugh, I don’t think it’s so much what you haven’t heard, I think it’s a good concentration on the kinds of things you’ve talked about on this show, is that why don’t we talk about the things we do know about? They’re damaging enough, and there’s serious questions to be answered. And I think only at the time when we can actually get Barack Obama to address these issues and start telling the American public what’s really going on with his life and experience in politics are we going to know what kind of president we’re going to have. And I think it’s time for people to start demanding answers.

HH: Rick Davis, there are a handful of radio shows out there, this one, Rush of course, Sean, Prager, Medved, Gallagher, Levin, Bennett, all these…why not use them more? Sarah Palin’s been on this show ten minutes, John McCain a total of twenty. Why not use these platforms?

RD: We’re happy to do it. I mean, we’ve had a very hectic schedule, as you know. We’ve been doing a lot of stuff around these debates with Senator McCain, three debates in four weeks, and we’ve got a very, very brisk schedule. We’re doing four events a day all over the country. But I’m happy to get him on the phone more often. I think your listeners are the kinds of people who want to get fired up and get out there and get people excited about this election cycle and get them out to vote, because there’s probably never another election cycle in our lifetime that’s going to be more important to the future of our country than this one.

HH: Last question, Rick Davis. Last night, John McCain said that Barack Obama’s committed to the policies that marked Hoover as he took us into the Great Depression. Do you believe that to be true? Do you think the American people understand how high taxes and anti-trade lead to depression?

RD: Well, they’re going to know it by the end of the next 19 days. If we do our job right, they’re going to understand that the kind of protectionist policies that Barack Obama has helps take dollars out of our economy, not out of foreign economies. And when they find out that Economics 101 dictates that you don’t raise taxes into a recession, they’re going to find out that the only thing Barack Obama offers is more taxes and more spending by government, that hasn’t been able to manage their own affairs for some time. So yeah, I think that at this stage, it’s very important for the American public to understand there are clear differences on how this country’s going to be governed economically. John McCain believes in free enterprise and capitalism. He believes you keep taxes low and let people use their own money to make the choices they want to make on health care and their businesses. And you’ve got Barack Obama, who basically wants the government to run everything.

HH: Rick Davis, thank you.


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