Sunday, September 7, 2008

Transcript: Rick Davis on 'FOX News Sunday' (9-7-08)

Read the full transcript of John McCain's campaign manager's interview with Chris Wallace.

WALLACE: Well, as a matter of personal privilege, I'm going to give you the opportunity to respond to David Axelrod, who said, you know, for all this talk about wait till we come in and shake the lobbyists, but the campaign team of McCain is filled with lobbyists or, in your case, former lobbyists. How do you respond?

DAVIS: Oh, I think that, you know, it's just more of the same from David Axelrod. I mean, they've been running against ghosts of the past all along. And I think it just shows that they don't really have anything to talk about.

If they want to run against Rick Davis or our campaign staff, let them. I think it's hilarious. I think it's a wonderful distraction from the real issues that we're trying to debate.

WALLACE: But aren't you vastly exaggerating her record as a reformer? Take a look. As mayor of Wasilla, she hired a Washington lobbyist and got $27 million in earmarks.

And in her less than two years as governor, Alaska has asked for $589 million in pork barrel projects. Her record as a reformer, particularly on the issue of earmarks, is far from clean.

DAVIS: Well, let's be clear about this. When she was mayor of Wasilla, there were already people in place who were getting those grants from the federal government. And small towns do a lot of that kind of activity because mayors...

WALLACE: She hired a Washington lobbyist who was supposed to...

DAVIS: ... mayors...


DAVIS: ... already involved in that, and so...

WALLACE: She hired a — she...

DAVIS: But let me also point out these...

WALLACE: ... she did hire a lobbyist.

DAVIS: ... these pork barrel projects that you talk about — these were not projects that she tried to get. These were projects that the Republican establishment in Alaska, who she campaigned against and beat many times over — were the ones picking those grants up.

Let me remind you, she vetoed more bills. She cut back on more pork barrel spending in the state legislature than any previous governor. She converted that legislature into reform because she passed ethics reforms and corruption reforms.

She railed against the establishment in Alaska and was able to accomplish great things like passing a significant energy bill that allowed them to create a natural gas pipeline.

These are all things that a true reformer is able to accomplish. So you know, I don't disagree with the fact that these — there were pork barrel projects coming to Alaska, but not from her. Within the state legislature, she beat back those efforts.

WALLACE: Wait a minute. First of all...

DAVIS: She's not a federal...

WALLACE: ... as governor, Alaska — during her 1.5 years, 2 years as governor, Alaska continued to get more federal money for pork barrel projects per capita than any state in the country.

DAVIS: Yeah.

WALLACE: And she was...


WALLACE: This works better...

DAVIS: Sure.

WALLACE: ... if I get to ask the question.


WALLACE: And she supported the "bridge to nowhere," and it was only after the federal government dropped it out and killed it, the Congress killed it, that she then opposed it. And in fact, she still got the money for the approach, the ramp, to the "bridge to nowhere."

DAVIS: Congress didn't beat back the "bridge to nowhere." That funding...

WALLACE: I know, but she accepted the money.

DAVIS: That funding was in the grant, and she said, "I'm not spending that money." And what they did — they took a $500 million bridge and she turned it into a $2 million ferry. And that's what she did on her own without any help from anybody else.

WALLACE: Well, actually, it was Congress that killed the money for the "bridge to nowhere."

John McCain Face The Nation Transcript (9-7-08)

Read the Full transcript (pdf) of John McCain's appearance on CBS' Face The Nation.

Schieffer: Let's start right in with what you were talking about the other night. You did something really extraordinary at that convention. I've never been at a political convention where I heard a candidate get up and not only go after the other party, but go after your own party. You even said at one point your party had lost its way. You said that Washington has to change, and you're the one that can change it. But that's going to be a tall order, isn't it? I mean, because normally it's out in the wilderness, it's the group that's out that says, "Throw the bums out." You're saying it was your party that was part of the problem and that you can be the agent of change. How do you convince people of that?

Sen. McCAIN: Well, Bob, I think we have to show them my record. I think we have to show them that I took on the big spenders, I did campaign finance reform, I reached across the aisle to Democrats. And obviously, I was very unpopular in some parts of my own party, whether it be on the issue of climate change, or against Rumsfeld's strategy and the president's strategy in Iraq, or whether it be on campaign finance reform or a number of other issues that I have fought against the, quote, special interests. And the point is real. We now have former members of Congress
residing in federal prison. So it was corruption. And I guess I'll say again what I said, we came to Washington to change Washington--we came to power to change Washington, and Washington changed us. And I real--I understand--but I--the challenge. But I have to make a strong case that we're going to bring about that change, and it's the right kind of change. And I know we're going to be talking about my running mate, but I think I got the right kind of running mate who has that record also.

SCHIEFFER: We'll get to that in just a minute. But let me ask you just some specifics on how you're going to do it. Are you going to try to form some sort of unity government? Are you going to try to have Democrats within your administration as well as Republicans?

Sen. McCAIN: You have to. You have to. Look at the approval rating of both Republicans and Democrats now. Look at the loss of trust and confidence. When we do all the town hall meetings and people say, "I've lost all trust and confidence in government," they don't say, "I've lost confidence in Republicans, Democrats." They've lost confidence in everybody. And the way you restore it is obviously to have a very bipartisan approach. But they're in gridlock now. We all know that. They're going to go on to session tomorrow, actually, and they're going to be gridlocked for a month, and then they're going to go out. Whether it be energy or whether it be
passing the necessary appropriations bills, whatever it is. And then the American people will-frankly, who are hurting more, are going to be more disillusioned, if that's possible.

SCHIEFFER: So you're going to have Democrats in the White House?

Sen. McCAIN: Sure.

SCHIEFFER: Will you have Democrats in your Cabinet?

Sen. McCAIN: Yeah, of course.

[...]SCHIEFFER: Charles Krauthammer, the very conservative columnist...

SCHIEFFER: ...said the other day that the only constitutional job of the vice president is to be ready to become president at a moment's notice, and he said flatly, "She is not ready." How do you answer him?

Sen. McCAIN: Well, let me say first that, in all due respect to any commentator, this is the most popular governor in America. She has a clear record of doing what Americans want first and uppermost, reform. Reform. She's not only talked about it, but she's done it. And she took on the people in her own party. She took on a sitting governor of her own party and she reformed--and they passed ethics and lobbying reform. And they--and she gave money back to the taxpayers and they cut spending. They did the things the Americans want--she did the things they--that Americans want most. So in all due respect to any of the critics, what we want is the change in
Washington. Who better in the political landscape could do that than Governor Sarah Palin, whose whole life had been engaged in that, taking them on and winning? I've taking them on and won less than she has.

SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just quote him again.

Sen. McCAIN: Sure.

SCHIEFFER: These are his words, not mine.

Sen. McCAIN: Sure. Oh, I understand.

SCHIEFFER: He says, "Barack Obama is the least qualified presidential candidate in living memory."

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

SCHIEFFER: But he says when you picked Palin...

Sen. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

SCHIEFFER: ...the case against Obama, that case evaporates.

Sen. McCAIN: Well, again, I--again, in respect to many of the critics--and I understand that criticism, it's part of the business. But I also would like to say that she's not only excited our base that you pointed out, she's excited Americans all over this country. We've been campaigning together, the electricity has been incredible. And I'd like to say it's all because of a charisma injection on the part of John McCain, but it's not. They're excited about this reformer, this lifetime member of the NRA, the person who's a point guard. She has it. I mean--and I'm sure
that Governor Palin has failings and I'm sure she's made mistakes, because she's had a long career, from city council to mayor to governor. But the fact is she's kind of what Americans have been looking for. And again, in all due respect to any critic, I think being mayor is a very important job nowadays, especially the way America's hurting. There's people who are mayors right now who are saying, "Hey, there's an abandoned house over on this street, the people have left it. What are we going to do?" You know, "How are we going to provide people with the goods and services they need with declining budgets?" So all I can say is I think that her experience and her background not only qualifies her, but brings to Washington a kind of an energy and a fresh wind that maybe is necessary in our nation's capital.

Joe Biden Meet The Press Transcript (9-7-08)

Read the full transcript of VP pick Joe Biden's appearance on Meet The Press:

MR. BROKAW: the Republican National Convention. And when she used that line, being a mayor is like being a community organizer except you have actual responsibilities, you said, "Pretty good line."

SEN. BIDEN: Yeah, it was a great line.

MR. BROKAW: She had a number of good lines.

SEN. BIDEN: She had a number of good ones. Look, she's a smart, tough politician, and so I, I think she's going to be very formidable. But you know, eventually she's going to have to sit in front of you like I'm doing and have done. Eventually she's going to have to answer questions and not be sequestered. Eventually she's going to have to answer questions about her record.

[...]MR. BROKAW: conventional terms. Make it tougher debating her than it would, say, Mitt Romney or Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania?

SEN. BIDEN: Well, in, in the sense I know Mitt Romney and know his positions, and I know Tom Ridge and I really respect them. And--but you know, I, I've debated an awful lot of tough, smart women. A woman who's a judge here in our superior court was one of my toughest opponents ever for the Senate. And there's a lot of very tough, smart women in the United States Senate I debate every day. So in that sense it's not new. But what is new is I have no idea what her policies are. I assume they're the same as John's. I just don't know.

[...]MR. BROKAW: Or John McCain said, but the conditions are in place, and Anbar province, where you have been, where there had been so much difficulty, the Iraqis now have taken over that province. We have brigades that have Sunnis and Shia serving side by side...

SEN. BIDEN: Not many.

MR. BROKAW: ...fighting the terrorists. But it's a process, and it's beginning, and the surge made that possible, did it not?

SEN. BIDEN: No. The surge helped make that--what made is possible in Anbar province is they did what I'd suggested two and a half years ago: gave local control. They turned over and they said to the Sunnis in Anbar province, "We promise you, don't worry, you're not going to have any Shia in here. There's going to be no national forces in here. We're going to train your forces to help you fight al-Qaeda." And that you--what you had was the awakening. The awakening was not an awakening by us, it was an awakening of the Sunnis in Anbar province willing to fight.

MR. BROKAW: Cooperating with the Shia.

SEN. BIDEN: Willing to fight. Cooperating with--no, they weren't cooperating with Shiite. They didn't cooperate with the Shiites.

MR. BROKAW: Once the awakening got under way.

SEN. BIDEN: No, no, no. No, they didn't cooperate with the Shiites. It's still--it's a big problem, Tom. You got--we're paying 300 bucks a month to each of those guys. Now the problem has been and the, and the promise was made by Maliki that they would be integrated into the overall military. That's a process that is beginning in fits and starts now, but it's far from over. Far from--look, the bottom line here is that it's--let's--the surge is over. Here's the real point. Whether or not the surge worked is almost irrelevant now. We're in a new deal. What is the administration doing? They're doing what Barack Obama has suggested over 14 months ago, turn responsibility over and draw down our troops. We're about to get a deal from the president of the United States and Maliki, the head of the Iraqi government, that's going to land on my desk as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee saying we're going to set a timeline to draw down our forces. The only guy in America out of step is John McCain. John McCain's saying no timeline. They've signed on to Barack Obama's proposal.