Gov. Edward Rendell, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Sen. Mel Martinez Interviewed on ABC’s “This Week.” Read the complete transcript.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... talking about William Ayers is going to -- is what it’s going to take to turn it around? Senator Obama has said he deplored what Ayers did when he said he was 8 years old. And he says they are friendly but they have not been especially close.
MARTINEZ: I think the important part is whether they’re truthful charges or not. Not about what Barack Obama did when he was 8 years old, but what occurred when he was 35 -- 38 years old and was initiating his political campaign. It’s about his judgment and who he associated with during those years and right on into his political campaign.
But the bottom line on Florida is that for having spent $13 million, that race is still within the margin of error in all the polls. And in fact, until a few days ago, McCain was well ahead.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Brown, is this issue going to cut in Ohio?
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Well, you have seen a 26-year Senate veteran morph into an angry, desperate candidate in the last few weeks, especially in the last few days. And it just kind of makes me sad, George, that he is -- that John McCain and Sarah Palin are resorting to these tactics when I have done about -- more than 100 roundtables in Ohio, in most of the 88 counties in the last year-and- a-half.
And people are talking about the privatization of Social Security, people are talking about trade, what trade has done to Ohio, 200,000 loss of manufacturing jobs in the last eight years, people want to go and talk about issues and what we do.
They want to see the difference between the two candidates. And I think that’s why polls in Ohio are showing increased support for Barack Obama , because voters are paying attention to the difference on John McCain wanting to privatize Social Security, wants to continue these job-killing trade agreements, wants to privatize health care the same way that he supported the deregulation of the banking system.
On all of these major issues, there is such a sharp contrast between John McCain , who wants to continue the policies we’ve seen in the last eight years, and Barack Obama , who has very different ideas of a very different direction.
BROWN: On all of these major issues, there is such a sharp contrast between John McCain , who wants to continue the policies we’ve seen in the last eight years, and Barack Obama , who has very different ideas of a very different direction.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Pawlenty, it sure does sound -- when Governor Palin says of Obama, this is not a man who sees America as you do, it sure does sound like she is questioning Senator Obama’s patriotism.
GOV. TIM PAWLENTY (R), MINNESOTA: George, I think it goes to the issue of judgment. And you know, this individual, Bill Ayers, is an unrepentant domestic terrorist, and as you noted and as other news organizations have noted, he was involved in the bombing of the Pentagon -- or attempted bombing of the Pentagon, the Capitol, and plans for other domestic terrorism.
Now Barack Obama at the time was 8 or 9 years old, or whatever, but that’s not the point, the point is this same individual, Bill Ayers, hosted some sort of political event at his home for Barack Obama when Barack was running for state legislature in Illinois when he was well into his 30s.
So this isn’t about Senator Obama being 8 years old, this is his judgment when he was starting his political career in Illinois in the mid 1990s. And I think when people realize this is about, you know, 10 years ago, 14 years ago, it goes to the issue of what kind of judgment would allow an unrepentant domestic terrorist to host a political event for your in his home, in the terrorist’s home?
STEPHANOPOULOS: Governor Rendell, what’s your response to that?
GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, let me say this, it is, as Senator Brown said, very said. In March when he became the presumptive nominee, Senator McCain said he would run a decent and honorable campaign. He hasn’t and it’s going to get worse.
First they lied about Senator Obama’s position on taxes, and now they’re starting to do the politics of personal destruction. The American people and here in Pennsylvania, we’re not going to buy that.
The issues are too important, the economy, health care, what’s going on abroad, Social Security. The issues are what people are focusing on and that’s why this has gone bad for the McCain campaign.
And no matter what they talk about, Reverend Wright, Mr. Ayers, you name it, it’s not going to wash because when this country is in trouble, people are focusing on who has got the best plans to get us out of it. And that’s Barack Obama.
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