Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Meet The Press: Transcript (8-31-08)

Tim Pawlenty was considered a front runner to be McCain's running mate, until Palin was selected. He makes a strong and exaggerated defense of Palin as the VP pick. Read the complete transcript.

[...]But the fact is that she has been governor less than two years and before that she was a mayor of a town with a population of less than 7,000. Her candidate at the top of the ticket has the bull of a constitution--has the constitution of a bull elephant, but he is a 72-year-old man and a cancer survivor. She will be a heartbeat away from the presidency. This country is engaged in two wars, it's facing a resurgent Russia, a rogue Iran, a financial crisis that may be the greatest since the Great Depression. I think our viewers want to know what's in her background that prepares her for dealing with all that and the possibility that she would have to step up into the Oval Office?

GOV. PAWLENTY: Well, first of all, I think Senator McCain, of course, one of his main attractions and assets and strengths that he's a maverick with a record of reform. She's a maverick with a record of reform. And if you look at her background and I know her a bit as a fellow governor, she's an individual who is smart, she's strong, she's capable, she's dedicated, she's diligent and she has executive experience. She's functioned as a governor, she's the commander in chief of a national guard, she's a former mayor, she's the former chair of an energy commission in Alaska, which is one of the more high-profile issues and operations in Alaska. She's deeply involved in the energy issues, which is really one of the foremost national security issues we have in our country in terms of its connection to transference of wealth to places like the Middle East and Russia and Venezuela. So she is somebody who I think is very capable to be in the executive position. And one last thing, Tom, she's running for vice president. She has as much or more experience as Barack Obama, who's running for president.

MR. BROKAW: But Barack Obama has been before the American people for more than 20 months now. He has debated 20-some times against some very tough opponents. He's participated in one-on-one interviews around the world. He's been vetted, in effect, by the American people, and in most national polls he continues to lead your candidate by a small margin. But people have made some judgments about him and they've not had that same kind of exposure to Sarah Palin. Let me just ask you, quickly, do you think that she would be better on the economy than Mitt Romney, who was a successful entrepreneur and governor of Massachusetts, or better on terrorism than Tom Ridge, the former governor of Pennsylvania, who also ran Homeland Security? Or better, in a lot of matters at the national level, than Joe Lieberman, who is John McCain's close friend from the Democratic Party who's been supporting your party?

GOV. PAWLENTY: Well, one of the objectives here is to be able to relate to and understand and meet and address the needs of average Americans, blue-collar Americans, people who are struggling economically, people who have had a tough time in life. That's a big part of the concern in this election, our economy. It helps to actually have lived that life or walked that walk. And so in addition to her role as governor, being somebody who is dealing with the economy successfully, by the way, in Alaska, she's also somebody who has, has a background, that's, you know, lived the life that, that we talk about. We talk about people sitting around the kitchen table and balancing a budget with a family and having to worry about meeting--making ends meet economically. She and her family have actually done that. I would say that's pretty good preparation for understanding and relating to the economic needs of average Americans.

Obama, Biden on 60 Minutes - Transcript (8-31-08)

Barack Obama and Joe Biden were interviewed together by 60 Minutes. The interview was held Friday. Read the complete transcript/summary.

"Does the fact that he chose as his vice president someone what has less experience than you take that weapon out of his arsenal?" Kroft asked.

"Well, you know, I think that's a good question to address to Senator McCain," Obama replied. "Of course, the issue of experience is going to be relevant. And if I were running against me, that's something that I would try to make an issue of as well. Particularly if I had been in Washington as long as John McCain had."

[...] "She's a life-long member of the NRA. She's a hunter. Her husband's a member of the United Steel Worker Union. Blue collar guy. Got a son on the way to Iraq. It seems like just the kind of person who would appeal to voters in states that you absolutely have to win," Kroft remarked. "And they have to win."

"Well, look, I am happy if this ends up being a referendum on what's going to be good for blue collar workers," Obama said. "I'll put my guy, Joe Biden, up against anybody when it comes to fighting on behalf of those families, because he's been there. He comes out of Scranton, Pennsylvania. He's been fightin' for those folks ever since he got into the Senate. And he hasn't stopped. And he hasn't forgotten where he's come from."

"You know, I think we really underestimate people in the neighborhood. In the neighborhoods I came from, you came from. I really think we underestimate them," Biden remarked. "People get it. I think they're looking for more than whether or not Joe Biden's from Scranton and she hunts. I think that's you know, 'What ya gonna do about it?'"

[...]"Is that one of the reasons you picked Senator Biden?" Kroft asked.

"What reason is that, Steve?" Obama asked.

"You said you've got Joe Biden working for you in Pennsylvania. …States like Pennsylvania," Kroft explained.

"Let me tell you the reason I picked Joe Biden. Number one, he can step in and become president. And I don't think anybody has any doubt about that," Obama said.

"Number two is that if I'm in the room making the kinds of tough decisions that the next president's gonna have to make, both on domestic policy and on international policy, then I want the counsel and advice of somebody who's not gonna agree with me a 100 percent of [the] time. In fact, somebody who's independent enough that can push back and give me different perspectives and make sure that I'm catching any blind spots that I have. And Joe Biden doesn't bite his tongue," he continued.

"You've had some differences over pretty substantial issues. Iraq for one," Kroft pointed out.

"Actually, we haven't," Biden said. "Look, Barack was right. He not only got it right about bein' against the war, I got it wrong about underestimating the incompetence of this administration when we gave the president the power we gave him at the time. He knew accurately that even, not even being outside. Maybe it gave you a better perspective. That that meant he was going to war. Bush told me he wasn't going to war. I thought they meant it. You're standing outside. You knew they didn't mean it."

John McCain FOX News Sunday Interview Transcript (8-31-08)

Read the full transcript.

WALLACE: Let's start with your choice of a running mate. Of all the people you could have chosen, of all the Republican leaders you've known for years, straight talk, can you honestly say that Sarah Palin is the best person to put a heartbeat away from the presidency?

MCCAIN: Oh, yes. She's a partner and a soul-mate. She's a reformer. I don't particularly enjoy the label "maverick," but when somebody takes on the old bulls in her own party, runs against an incumbent governor of her own party, stands up against the oil and gas interests, I mean, they really are so vital to the economy of her — of the state of Alaska. I mean, it's remarkable. It's a remarkable person.

And I've watched her record, and I've watched her for many, many years as she — as she implemented ethics and lobbying reforms. And I mean, she led on it. She didn't just vote for it. She led it. I've seen her take on her own party.

Now look, one thing I know is that when you take on your own party in Washington, you pay a price for it. You do. You pay a price for it. And she has taken on the party in her own state. She took on a sitting governor and defeated him.

And so I'm so pleased and proud, because this is a person who will help me reform Washington and change the way they do business. And that's what Americans want.

WALLACE: But let me ask you...


WALLACE: ... about the concerns that a lot of voters, who have never heard of Sarah Palin before yesterday, are asking. Compared to, say, Tom Ridge or Joe Lieberman, why is Governor Palin superior in dealing with national security and foreign policy?

MCCAIN: Look, those people you talk about, Joe, and Tom Ridge, and Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee, they're wonderful people. And I'm grateful for the opportunity that I've had to know them and work with them.

But look, what this brings is a spirit of reform and change that is vital now in our nation's capital. Eighty-four percent of the American people think the country is on the wrong track. In our party, we have corruption.

We have former members of Congress residing in federal prison. So it's not surprising to me that we've seen an incredible invigoration around our party and around the nation. Not just Republicans, but Democrats.

And by the way, in the last day-and-a-half, or whatever it has been, we have raised $4 million on the Internet. I wish I had have taken her a month ago.

[...]WALLACE: You have criticized Obama as being, quote, "dangerously unprepared to be president." In the sense of national security and foreign policy specifically, isn't Sarah Palin even more dangerously unprepared?

MCCAIN: Oh, no. Look, she has got the right judgment. She has got the right judgment. She doesn't think, like Senator Obama does, that Iran is a minor irritant. She knows that the surge worked and succeeded, and she supported that.

Senator Obama still, still to this day refuses to acknowledge that the surge has succeeded. She has been commander-in-chief of the Alaska Guard, that has served back and back (ph). In fact, as you know, she has got a son who is getting ready to go.

But she has had the judgment on these issues and — that Senator Obama has not had in the — he has had all the wrong judgments. And Governor Palin understands these issues, and she understands the challenges that we face.

So she has had 12 years of elected office experience, including traveling to Kuwait, including being involved in these issues. And look, I'm so proud that she has displayed the kind of judgment and she has the experience and judgment as an executive. She has run a huge economy up there in the state of Alaska. Twenty percent of our energy comes from the state of Alaska, and energy is obviously one of the key issues for our nation's security.

WALLACE: But, Senator, you talked about her years of experience. Ten of those years were as a city councilwoman and mayor of a town of 9,800 people. And in terms of foreign policy, in March of 2007, after, two months after the surge had started, she was asked about it, and she said: "I've been focused on state government. I haven't focused on the war in Iraq." Understandable for a governor; not understandable for a vice president.

MCCAIN: Well, by the way, also she was a member of the PTA. I think it's wonderful. But the point is she has been to Kuwait. She has been over there. She has been with her troops, the National Guard that she commands, who had been over there and had the experience. I'm proud of her knowledge of these challenges and issues.

And of course, as governor she has had enormous responsibilities, none of which Senator Obama had. He — when she was in government, he was a community organizer. When she was taking tough positions against her own party, Senator Obama was voting "present" 130 times in the state legislature, on every tough issue whatever it was, while she was taking them on. That's the kind of judgment that I'm confident that we need in Washington.

Transcript: TIME's interview with Sarah Palin

This interview was done on August 14th, almost 2 weeks before she was picked by McCain. Read the entire transcript.

TIME: What got you involved in politics.

Palin: I studied journalism in college and always had an interest in the newsroom, which was of course so often focused on politics and government. I studied sports reporting, and that's how I started off in journalism. But even earlier than that, my dad was an elementary school teacher, so often our dinner-table conversations were about current events and about those things that an elementary school teacher teaches students — much about government and much about our nation, and so I had ingrained in me an interest in our government, how things worked. And then from there I just became more interested in more practical steps that I could take... [I] started off running for city council when I was very young in the town [Wasilla] where I had grown up and was elected to two terms on the city council. And then I realized to be really able to make a difference — not just being one of six of a body but to make a difference — I would have to run for the top dog position, and so I ran for mayor and was elected mayor for two terms.

Then from there I was appointed an oil and gas commissioner in the state of Alaska, on the Alaska oil and gas conservation commission, had decided that there were changes, positive changes, that had to be ushered into our state government, decided to run for governor and did so, was successful, and here we are.

How old were you when you ran for city council??

I think was 27 or 28, and then was elected mayor when I was 32.

Did being younger and being a woman gives you a better perspective on politics and government than a more traditional politician?

What's more of a challenge for me over the years being in elected office has been more the age issue rather than a gender issue. I've totally ignored the issues that have potentially been affecting me when it comes to gender because I was raised in a family where, you know, gender wasn't going to be an issue. The girls did what the boys did. Apparently in Alaska that's quite commonplace. You're out there hunting and fishing. My parents were coaches, so I was involved in sports all my life. So I knew that as woman I could do whatever the men were doing. Also that's just part of Alaskan life.

But the age issue I think was more significant in my career than the gender issue. Your resume not being as fat as your opponent's in a race, perhaps [but] being able to capitalize on that... being able to to use that in campaigns — I don't have 30 years of political experience under my belt ... that's a good thing, that's a healthy thing. That means my perspective is fresher, more in touch with the people I will be serving. I would use that as an advantage. I've certainly never been part of a good old boy club. That I would use in a campaign. And that's been good.

Maria Bartiromo Interviews Sarah Palin: Transcript (8-25-08)

The interview was held days before Sarah Palin was picked by John McCain to be his running mate. Read the entire transcript.

Despite all the talk of unity at the Democratic Convention, there still seems to be real residual anger among Hillary Clinton supporters. How do you think the GOP can attract women disenchanted with the Democrats?

And they should be disenchanted because, you know, I'm looking at Barack [Obama] and looking at the choice he made, and I think: "Geez, he should have chosen Hillary." But I'm glad he didn't. For the sake of the Republican agenda, I'm glad that he didn't. I think that perhaps this is an opportunity for the Republican Party to manifest its [convention] plank that says we respect equality, and gender is not an issue in someone's ability and their capabilities and their opportunities in America.

Let the GOP be the party, then, that can embrace that and manifest that. But you know, Hillary ran an awesome campaign. She made women proud. She doesn't represent what I would like to see in the White House, but as a woman looking at a woman candidate, I was proud that Hillary shattered some ceilings.

Bartiromo: After eight years of a Republican in the White House, the economy is the top concern of voters across the country. Why should Americans trust the GOP to get this economy and the markets back on track?

Palin: Because capitalism still works. The free marketplace and competition still work. I believe, though, we need to get more of the special interests and the undue influence out of the policy making that perhaps we've seen in the past. I say that based on my own experience here in the state of Alaska, where the oil industry had some corrupting influence on our lawmakers. And a few of our lawmakers are serving federal prison time right now for being bought with oil service company dollars and bribes. And it's been a great learning ground for me here to see what can happen when that undue influence is allowed to set policy and affect votes. It's unacceptable, it's atrocious, and on a federal level, we got to get that out of there, too.

Gulf Coast Residents flee ahead of Powerful Gustav

How ironic that the hurricane is impacting the Republican convention. Bush has already said that he won't attend (McCain is probably happy about that news), along with other prominent Republicans. You won't hear much talk about offshore drilling from those who do attend the convention.

Hurricane Gustav charged across the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday as residents fled New Orleans and the National Guard prepared to patrol evacuated neighborhoods in a city still recovering three years after Katrina.

Gustav dropped from a Category 4 to a Category 3 storm overnight, but forecasters warned it could gain strength from the gulf's warm waters before making landfall as early as Monday.

Long before Mayor Ray Nagin's mandatory evacuation order took effect Sunday morning for the city's vulnerable West Bank, residents were already streaming out of New Orleans and other communities along the Gulf Coast. Bumper-to-bumper traffic was reported in nearly every direction out of New Orleans, and on Bourbon Street, where the party seemingly never ends, only stragglers toting luggage were sporadically seen on the sidewalks.

- For more information on Hurricane Gustav, or if you want to share info/comments on this disaster, visit The People's Platform site.