John McCain on the campaign trail, five days out
HH: Joined by the next president of the United States, Senator John McCain. Senator, welcome back. The Los Angeles Times has a video. Do you have any idea what Senator Obama says on it?
JM: You know, I don’t, Hugh, and may I just say first, thanks for everything, thanks for informing the American people, and thanks for the combat we’ve had over the years, and the discussion which I think has helped informed America, and I’m grateful for you. Let me just say, why don’t we all find out what the Los Angeles Times has. Suppose that there was a tape supposedly out there that Sarah Palin and I had been at a dinner, an event with some neo-Nazi outfit, and a newspaper had it. What do you think the reaction would be, huh? So I just think we ought to see it, we ought to hear about it, and we ought to know about it. And we should call on the Obama campaign to tell the L.A. Times to release it.
HH: Should Senator Obama himself make that statement and demand it be released, Senator McCain?
JM: Of course not. Of course not. Of course not. Of course not. We should say that he should, and he should if he wants the American people to be fully informed. Look, I haven’t seen it. I only hear about it. I hear that our old friend, Mr. Ayers, is in the video, but I don’t know. But it seems to me the American people deserve to know before they decide next Tuesday.
HH: Senator McCain, Joe the Plumber was attacked by David Gergen and Rick Sanchez on CNN on Tuesday night and yesterday for daring to have an opinion on Israel. Are you surprised by the attacks on Joe the Plumber?
JM: You know, it’s really been interesting, Hugh, and kind of saddening that a guy who’s standing in his driveway, asked a question, doesn’t like the answer because it’s got to do with the most revealing aspect of Senator Obama that he wants to “spread the wealth around”, take the money from one group of Americans and give it to another, and he’s attacked by these media elites. And the Obama campaign, and as I’m sure, I hope our listeners know, his records have been accessed by state officials according to published reports. You know, they’re trying to intimidate people into not asking questions that are tough.
HH: The Mason-Dixon poll this afternoon, Senator, shows the gap has narrowed considerably in Pennsylvania. Are you going back to PA before campaign’s end?
JM: Oh, yeah. Yeah, we’re going to be back there, and we’ve just been in Ohio. And I guarantee you this, Hugh. We have had some of the most enthusiastic rallies we’ve ever had. I guarantee you we win Ohio. And I am confident about Pennsylvania. I am confident. When you look at the Fox News poll today where we are two or three points down, whichever it is, I’ve forgotten, we’re closing it, and we’re closing it fast. And I have never felt better in this campaign, and I think we’re going to be a little bit behind until the polls open next Tuesday. But we’re going to win.
HH: I was with Senator Lieberman last night. He said you’re campaigning as hard as you ever have. Do you expect to do what Al Gore did in 2000, go around the clock? Or are you going to take the George Bush model in 2000 when the President went back to Texas and Gore closed on him? What are you going to do?
JM: We’re going to do both, but you know, in this day and age, Hugh, I want to come on your show, I want to come on all the shows. I want to do a lot of electronic stuff, because we can get on, by satellite, as you know, both TV and we can do this on radio, so that we can travel, and at the same time, I just did, a little while just before the rally, seven local news stations in the battleground states. So we’re going to do both, but I guarantee you, I’ll be working until the last poll closes. And I’ll be working 18, 20 hours a day, and I have not felt better than I’ve felt, frankly, in the last day or two. And I think you’re seeing that in the polls.
HH: Senator, last question.
HH: Lots of stories about the al Qaeda video tonight, and about Iranian nukes in the papers. We don’t know what it will be, but a phone is indeed going to ring at 3:00 in the morning in the next four years in the White House. What’s the difference between how you and Senator Obama will respond to that call?
JM: Well, I think Senator Biden, the gift that keeps on giving, said it best. He said it best. And I’d love for you to play the tape for our listeners, Hugh, the whole tape. He said now mark my words, he will be tested, this young president will be tested with an international crisis. And then he went on to say you’ve got to stick with him, because you won’t like the way he handles it. I mean, you know, you can’t make that up, can you?
HH: No, no.
JM: And Hugh, listen, again, you and I will have our differences in the future. It’s healthy debate we’ve had over the years. I thank you for what you’re doing for me, and for this campaign, but most importantly, for informing Americans. That’s what they need. And then they can make their own judgment.
HH: Senator McCain, good luck on the rest of the five days, and I look forward to talking to you before the close, and good luck in Pennsylvania. Get back up there in the land where Jack Murtha says it’s all rednecks and racists. I’m sure it’s not, and you’ll tell them that.
JM: Isn’t that amazing?
End of interview.