Read the complete transcript of McCain's interview with George Stephanopoulos.
STEPHANOPOULOS: It looks like Senator Obama is also going to support the deal. He put out a statement this morning, but he said it’s also time now for Washington to show that it gets the urgency of the crisis on Main Street, as well, says Congress has to pass a stimulus plan for the middle class, which extends unemployment benefits, adds infrastructure funding, and sends money to the states to shore up their budgets.
Are you for that, as well?
MCCAIN: I am for keeping taxes low. I am for whatever steps we think we need to be taking right now.
But, first of all, let’s get this off the table. Let’s get this deal done, signed by the president, and get moving, because the real effect of this is going to restore some confidence, and get some credit out there, and get the economic system moving again, which is basically in gridlock today.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You said keep taxes low...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... so not necessarily for another stimulus package?
MCCAIN: I’ll have to look at it. But, look, I’ll be glad to look at anything to help our economy. We did a stimulus package a few months ago, as you well know. It had very little beneficial effect.
I would like to see incentives for businesses to grown and locate. That’s lower taxes. That’s ways of making credit and funds available for them. Of course we have to rebuild our infrastructure.
I’d like to save -- see along with that stimulus package, if it comes up, a commitment that there would be no earmarks. That was one of my criteria also, no earmarks. Stop all the pork-barrel spending.
There were just 2,000 earmarks in the continuing resolution that we just passed.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, that was a...
MCCAIN: The outrageous pork-barrel spending, earmark spending...
STEPHANOPOULOS: That was the vote yesterday to fund the government...
MCCAIN: ... earmark spending goes on.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... through -- through next year, also funded defense through next year. It included loans for the auto companies to help them get through...
MCCAIN: That’s the way they always do. You put in the -- you put in the good deals, and then you put in the pork, as well.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Why didn’t you come in to vote on that?
MCCAIN: I was working on all of the other stuff that I was working on, and contacting people, and working away. But the point is -- the point is, it’s the classic package, where they give you the things you know that you really need in it, and then they load up and lard up the pork. That’s why...
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you would have voted against it had you come in?
MCCAIN: I certainly would have done everything in my power to remove those earmarks. But I may have voted for it if -- I probably would have ended up voting for it, but I decry a system where individual members are -- are faced with taking all this unacceptable, outrageous stuff that has contributed to the largest growth in spending since the Great Society.
We’ve grown government by 40 percent and, by the way, the tripling and quadrupling of pork-barrel projects and earmarks in the -- I can’t tell you how many billions of dollars.
And so we would be faced with a Hobson’s choice there, and it shouldn’t be like that.
MCCAIN: People should be able to vote on separate issues.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You also mentioned this immediate credit crisis we’re facing in the banks. That’s why you feel we have to pass this financial bailout right now.
MCCAIN: With the taxpayers and middle-income Americans of America.