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Mike Gallagher's Exclusive Interview With John McCain

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

MIKE GALLAGHER: It’s an honor and a privilege to welcome to our show U.S. Senator and Republican Presidential Candidate, a man I hope we can call President Elect in a couple of months, John McCain joins us here on the Mike Gallagher Show, Senator McCain how are you sir?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: I’m fine Mike, thanks very much. Actually I’m exhilarated because of Sarah Palin’s…

GALLAGHER: What a night, what a night. I had a listener from Ohio who writes “Sarah Palin sliced and diced and did it with a smile; she hit it out of the park.” You have to be very pleased with your vice presidential running mates performance last night.

SEN. MCCAIN: I can’t tell you how pleased I am and when you see Sarah Palin unfiltered Americans are really enthusiastic. I just can’t tell you how she really, with her overall disposition and optimism and kind of the thing that America needs now. The spirit and the entrepreneurship and good government that she has represented, I couldn’t be happier and now I’ve got to do as good a job next Tuesday and that’s a tall order.

GALLAGHER: she raised the bar on you all of a sudden

SEN. MCCAIN: Sure did

GALLAGHER: But she is the real deal isn’t she. I mean, that’s the format that’s the medium that was an environment last night where you don’t have Katie Couric trying to play gotcha and list how many newspapers she reads in the morning or recite a bunch of Supreme Court decisions, I mean this is the kind of stuff that Americans are yearning for isn’t it?

SEN. MCCAIN: Exactly, and with respect to the media people, she may not know every single issue in the detail that Joe Biden does, after all he’s been there for about 35 years, but I can also assure that she doesn’t think that Franklin Delano Roosevelt did not address the nation over television. She knows that were gonna have to build some more coal fired plants in American the key is to get the clean coal technology and invest and get that going. She knows what necessary to create jobs. I can’t be more proud of her and the job that she has done and Mike I hope you can get to some of our town hall meetings because the kind of excitement that she ignites, frankly I have not seen before in American politics, and I don’t know how many tens of millions of Americans saw her last night, but now they know why.

GALLAGHER: Well and David Brooks in deed writes in the NY times today “ there are moments when members of a political movement come together as one” and I think that last night was one of those moments senator McCain. I also have to share with you an essay I’ve been reading on the air and people have loved this. It is called “Who am I?” “Who am I? I am under 45 years old, I love the outdoors, I hunt and fish, I am a republican reformer, I have taken on the Republican Party establishment, I have many children, I have a spot on the national ticket as vice president with less than two years in the governor’s office, have you heard of me before now? The answer I am Teddy Roosevelt. [Both Laughing]

SEN. MCCAIN: You know I heard about that somebody, several people have approached me. That’s been getting a lot of currency you reading that

GALLAGHER:I love that

SEN. MCCAIN: And he was a great reformer

GALLAGHER: He was a maverick. I get a kick out of that

GALLAGHER: Senator McCain, let’s talk a little bit about what’s on the table today. There is no question that Americans are upset and frustrated and confused to some degree about this Paulson plan. Let me give you a little bit of audio if you don’t mind…

SEN. MCCAIN: Yeah I hear…

GALLAGHER: From Senator Jim Bunning, let’s play what the good senator from Kentucky and your senate college said about the Paulson plan.

Senator Bunning [taped audio]: The Paulson plan will not help struggling home owners pay their mortgages. The Paulson plan will not bring a stop to the slid in home prices. But the Paulson plan will spend 700 billion dollars of tax payer’s money to prop up and clean up the balance sheets of Wall Street. This massive bailout is not a solution, it is a financial socialism and it’s un-American.

GALLAGHER: Senator McCain, you know me, I’m in the trenches fighting for you everyday, but boy I would have loved it if you would have said no to this plan.

SEN. MCCAIN: Well Mike these are dire straits. The last time you and I remember that was kind of this dire was Enron etc. But it was also when the savings and loan industry collapsed. We had to create the Resolution Trust Corporation and go in and buy up these bad assets and then move forward and it cost the American tax payer. But to have the whole real estate industry in America that the impact of not going in would have been far severe in retrospect, I think most economist are in agreement. But when we saw a 700 point drop in the Dow, that wasn’t just people who are rich on Wall Street and I have no use for them, but it wiped out 1.2 trillion dollars in pension funds, and 401-Ks, and mutual funds, and investments that people have in their retirements.

Look if the stock market tanks it will hurt Wall Street but most of all it hurts Main Street. The second thing is look, credit is drying up. I hear from people all the time, they’re small business people. We had a Small Business woman’s town hall yesterday. A number of women came up and said I can’t get credit; I’ve got to meet my payroll, of 5, 10, 15, 20 employees. The credit thing for Main Street is what is being affected dramatically here. All I can say here, and by the way it was the democrats in congress that when I warned and sponsored legislation to reign in Fannie and Freddy, these same democrats are not the one that are claiming credit for fixing the problems. They were part of the problem and Americans should know that.

GALLAGHER: And I think Americans are hearing that. I am glad in the era of you tube that all this video showing Barney Frank, and Maxine Waters, and Gregory Meeks, and other extolling the virtues of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when people like John McCain were sounding the warning call. I think Americans are getting that message loud and clear and I’m real pleased with that.

GALLAGHER: But I also know how John McCain hates pork. You always have, you have made a career of it, so you can’t like the 450 page of tax breaks for wool producers and wooden arrows for kids in this thing.

SEN. MCCAIN: It’s just, it’s disgraceful. It is an example of what has to be fixed in Washington. And most of the time, as you know, I vote against these pork laden bills and I get blamed. ‘Oh you’re hurting seniors or kids’ to whatever it is. But in this case I do think that we improved protections for taxpayers. The taxpayer will be bailed out first. If, when the economy recovers the taxpayer will be played back first. I do think that oversight has been improved; I do believe that transparency has been improved. I do believe that there have been improvements, several other improvements in this bill. It’s a tough call, but we have to go back and make sure that we have fixed the problem and a lot of that is through transparency and through better oversight, and hold people responsible mike. I understand the angst out there very well.

GALLAGHER: Yeah cause I’m hearing it every day. It’s like 10 -1 saying come on this is not conservatism. My listeners are saying from all over the country, I had Harvard economist on this week who said hey maybe bankruptcy’s the answer instead of a bailout because at least with bankruptcy another company absorbs the company and the markets will rebound.

SEN. MCCAIN: But if people can’t get loans, and that is happening today, if small business people can’t get loans to stay in business, which is exactly what’s happening because people can’t get credit, then we’ve got to, I mean if someone, people can’t get auto loans now to buy a new automobile. This, this system is freezing up. Its basically gridlock and we’ve got to undo it. But again I understand the angst, I hate it but I also think that if we don’t so this now we saw an indication of this a couple of days ago…

GALLAGHER: I know you’ve got to leave sir, but I’ve got to mention something about your vice presidential running mate. Sarah Palin is in Dallas today and I found out that Barack Obama on his website is encouraging people to go out and protest Sarah Palin outside the Fairmont hotel in Dallas. Boy if you want an example between a John McCain candidacy and a Barack Obama candidacy that’s one of them. I don’t ever see you putting on your official website urging people to go out and pick up picket signs urging people to go out and disrupt an Obama or a Joe Biden Event.

SEN. MCCAIN: Well you know they do that and it really, he also said I want you to go out ands get in their faces the other day or something like that and this is the guy who wants to bring the country together, He’s just inexperienced. A lot of it is just do to sheer inexperienced and not understanding the impact of words. It’s just like when he says he will lower taxes for 95% of the American people, he wants to increase spending by 860 billion dollars for 100% of the American people.


SEN. MCCAIN: 860 billion dollars of new spending programs he has proposed and of course he has voted to increase taxes on individuals who make as little of forty two thousand dollars. He talks the talk and he hasn’t walked the walk.

GALLAGHER: Senator John McCain I hope I get to go to Washington in January to attend your inauguration. We’re pulling for you, we’re praying for you, and you keep fighting the good fight Sir.

SEN. MCCAIN: Thank you my fried we will keep fighting and we’ll put our country first and I am so proud of Sarah Palin last night.

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