Saturday, September 13, 2008

Obama, McCain Community Service Forum Transcript (9-11-08)

Both John McCain and Barack Obama were interviewed before an audience at a forum sponsored by TIME and hosted by Columbia University. The topic related to the question of national service and how they further it during their presidencies if elected. Read the full transcript.

Well, look, the— the— I— I think— those are old arguments. Let— let’s look to the future. The fact is that we have to have government. When— a hurricane strikes, as it did— with Katrina— we have to have a FEMA that works, which by the way means that we should be encouraging young people, the best and the brightest, to get involved as civil servants, to pursue careers of public service, so we’ve got people who are trained in fe— federal emergency management who are able to take on the job.

Now, that does not crowd out the Red Cross. That doesn’t crowd out the thousands of church groups that’s went down there. What it means is, is that each— area has a role to play. The Peace Corps— does not crowd out opportunities for— service overseas.

You’ve got churches— and synagogues and mosques all across the country that are per— deeply involved in— efforts to deal with HIV/AIDS and malaria and— all sorts of public health issues. And yet this is a matter where George Bush I think appropriately said we’re gonna make a commitment as the wealthiest nation on earth to deal with the devastation of AIDS.

And his PETFAR (?) program has been highly successful working with not-for-profits, working with governments, working both public and private in order to solve a problem. So there are more than enough problems out there to deal with. And it— what is true is we— we don’t need to set up bureaucracies. So I would— I would distinguish between a government assist in providing people avenues for service and a government bureaucracy in which the notion is, is that the only way that you can serve is through some defined government program.


Senator, as recently as this past Sunday you talked very openly about the fact that Americans should have been asked to do more than go shopping or traveling. What would you have done as president in those circumstances to make people aware of what they should do as Americans after 9/11?


Well, first all, I would have a— called them to serve. I would have created organizations ranging from neighborhood block watch, to making sure that our nuclear power plants are secure, to— immediately proposing the Congressional legislation such as Senator Evan Bayh and I— proposed of service to country to create additional organizations, to expand Americor, expand the Peace Corps, expand the military. Obviously we were facing a new threat.

Obviously we needed to, at that time, take advantage of the unity in the United States of America. We weren’t Republicans on September 11th. We weren’t Democrats. We were Americans. And I think that if we had asked for a concrete plan of action, both on the part of federal, state, and local governments, as well as by the Congress of the United States, as well as, frankly, talking directly to the American people— yeah, the need for us all to— to serve this nation. I think perhaps we—

But, you know, I gotta tell you something, Rick. I— when I travel around this country, that spirit is still there in America. Today we’ve seen Americans respond in a way that only Americans do. And I don’t say that with any sense of superiority over any other group of people.

But I do believe we’re a unique nation and blessed with certain inalienable rights that we wanna extend to the rest of the world. But I think that— (NOISE) that we— we probably still have that opportunity. And when I say this I don’t want you to take it the wrong way. But Americans are so frustrated now with our government. Eight-four percent of the American people think the country’s headed in the wrong direction.

The approval rating is— of Congress is down to nine percent, I believe, down to blood relatives and paid staffers. (LAUGHTER) And— and this is an opportunity. This is an opportunity to lead the nation and talk to the American people and reform our government and ask for more service.

Obama Dover, New Hampshire Speech Transcript (9-12-08)

Read the full transcript of Barack Obama's speech in Dover, New Hampshire Friday.

The good news is that in 53 days, the name George Bush will not be on the ballot. But make no mistake: his policies will. A few weeks ago, John McCain said that the economy is "fundamentally strong," and a few days later George Bush said the same thing. In fact, Senator McCain has said that we made "great progress economically" over the last eight years.

And here's the thing. I think they truly believe it. After all, my opponent said just last night, "It's easy for me to go to Washington and frankly, be somewhat divorced from the day-to-day challenges people have." So from where he and George Bush sit, maybe they just can't see. Maybe they are just that out of touch. But you know the truth, and so do I.

For eight years, we've failed to keep that American promise that if you work hard you can live your American Dream. Under the Bush economic policies that my opponent supported and promises to continue, the average family has seen their income drop by $2,000-a-year, while the cost of everything from gas to groceries has gone up. We have the highest unemployment rate in five years. Home values have plummeted. It's harder to save and it's harder to retire. Those are the day-to-day challenges that people have.

We can't afford four more years of this so-called "progress." We can't afford another President who is so out of touch that he thinks the economy is strong and that change is doing the exact same thing as George Bush.

That's what Senator McCain is offering. More of the discredited theory that if you shower benefits on big corporations, special interests and the wealthiest of the wealthy, it will all come trickling down to the middle class. Well, Dover, how much of that has trickled down to you? How much has trickled down to the Americans who have lost their jobs and their homes? How much has trickled down to the family that can't afford to pay next month's bills or the kids who can't afford college? We've tried this for eight years, and we can't afford to keep trying it for another four.

We can't afford to keep spending $10 billion a month in Iraq while the Iraqi government sits on a surplus. We can't afford more of the same addiction to oil. More of the same health care policy that only works for the healthy and wealthy. More of the same Washington lobbyists who run John McCain's campaign. More of the same Bush-Rove-McCain politics that tries to distract you from policies that are destroying the middle class.

We've tried that way. It won't work. And yet Senator McCain stubbornly holds to it. The only change he offers is completing the Bush agenda. Privatizing your Social Security. Taxing your health benefits. And another $200 billion of budget-busting tax breaks for corporations like Exxon-Mobil that have just turned in the greatest profits in history, while you can barely afford to fill up a tank of gas.

Sarah Palin 20/20 Interview Transcript (9-12-08)

This is part 2 of Governor Palin's interview with ABC's Charles Gibson, but as part of a profile done on the '20/20' news program. Read the full transcript.

GIBSON: I -- I saw you quoted somewhere as speaking rather admiringly of -- of Mrs. Clinton, Senator Clinton, during the primary campaign. Do you think Obama should have picked her?

PALIN: I think he’s regretting not picking her now. I do. What determination and grit and even grace through some tough shots that were fired her way. She -- she handled those well.

[...]Governor John McCain and you are now talking about the GOP as a party of change. We’ve got a very sick economy. Tell me the three principle things you would do to change the Bush economic policies.

PALIN: And you’re right. Our economy is weak right now, and we have got to strengthen it. And government can play an appropriate role in helping to strengthen the economy.

We need to put government back on the side of the people and make sure that it is not government solely looked at for all the solutions, for one.

Let me tell you what I did here in the city of Wasilla and then as governor of Alaska. What I did as a city council member then, and then as mayor, was come in, and we cut personal property taxes in Wasilla. We cut small business inventory taxes.

GIBSON: You raised the sales tax.

PALIN: No, well, we had a two percent sales tax. And when people came to local government and said, “We want a sports arena here,” I said, “That’s fine, and I want a sports arena also, but we’re going to have to pay for it.”

GIBSON: I didn’t want to get off into Wasilla, but you came into the city with a debt-free city and left it with considerable millions of dollars of debt, didn’t you?

PALIN: A $13 million sports arena that we bonded for, but, see, we put government on the side of the people by asking them if that’s what they wanted. It was a question on the ballot, and they got to vote yes or no. So that’s what we did.

We eliminated small business inventory taxes. I eliminated things like business license renewal fees on our small businesses. Those economic indicators of success on a local level should provide to America that worldview that I have of what we can do on a local level, and then a state level, where we just suspended our fuel tax in our state also.

Get taxes under control, but at the same time we’re cutting taxes, you got to reduce the growth of government.

GIBSON: Well, I want to come back to the question. I want to know, because you’ve advertised yourselves now as the party of change. I want to know what you would change in the Bush economic principles.

What you said to me at the beginning I don’t think anybody in the Bush administration would disagree with. What do you change in the Bush economic plans?

PALIN: We have got to make sure that we reform the oversight also of the agencies, including the quasi-government agencies like Freddie and Fannie, those things that have created an atmosphere here in America where people are fearful of losing their homes.

People are looking at job loss. People are looking at unaffordable health care for their families. We have got to reform the oversight of these agencies that have such control over Americans’ pocketbooks.

McCain on 'The View' Transcript (9-12-08)

John McCain appeared on the TV talk program, 'The View' friday. Here is a partial transcript and videos. (2nd transcript) (FOXNews analysis) (Huffington Post)

Whoopi: Do you believe in the Separation of Church of State?

McCain: Sure, but God has a plan for the world and people can believe want they want. I happen to be spiritual. P.S. In God We Trust.

[...]ELISABETH HASSELBECK: There has also been a question burning amongst voters and actually our viewers, and that is the question of Roe v. Wade. And as president, if you were, no softballs coming from me, even though you have my vote. Would you as president work to overturn that? And then would Sarah Palin be working to overturn Roe v. Wade?

SENATOR JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): I think what we would be doing is appointing or nominating justices to the United States Supreme Court and other courts who strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States. We would not impose a litmus test on any issue because that’s not fair to the American people. But they would have to have a clear record of strict interpretation.

BARBARA WALTERS: That’s kind of the other way of saying people who would want to overturn Roe v. Wade.

McCAIN: That, that, well, that is saying that, I believe Roe v. Wade was a very bad decision, Barbara. [audience groans] I think it was a bad decision. I thought other, I thought other decisions of the United States Supreme Court were bad decisions. But I want people on the Court who, quote, "do interpret" and not just on the issue of Roe v. Wade, but on other issues.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Do I have to be worried about becoming a slave again?

McCAIN: My interpretation of the Constitution of the United States is that the United States Supreme Court enforces the Constitution of the United States and does not legislate nor invent areas that are responsibilities, according to the Constitution, of the legislative branch.

HASSELBECK: So it was in how the law came up, it was in how Roe v. Wade came apart was the issue. You, you want it to be through the Constitution from the people not from the bench.

McCAIN: And I believe that if Roe v. Wade were overturned, then the states would make these decisions.


McCAIN: Yes?

GOLDBERG: Can you just, and I don’t want to misinterpret what you’re saying. Did you say you wanted strict Constitutionalists? Because that, that-

McCAIN: No, I want people who interpret the Constitution of the United States the way our founding fathers envision-...