Wednesday, October 22, 2008

John McCain on CNN's 'Situation Room': Transcript (10-22-08)

McCain was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN. Read the complete transcript.

BLITZER: Let's talk about Issue No. 1, as we call it, the economy. Colin Powell was pretty biting in his criticism. He said you were a little unsure of how to deal with the economic crisis. You seem to have, he said, a different approach. He sensed you didn't have a complete grasp of the economic crisis the American people are going through right now. I wonder if you'd like to respond to Secretary Powell.

MCCAIN: Except to say that I'm happy to have the endorsement and support and belief of five former secretaries of state, Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, Jim Baker, Larry Eagleburger and Gen. Al Haig, and over 200 retired military generals and admirals that have supported my campaign.

I respect Gen. Powell, but I respectfully disagree. I especially disagree when he said the comments that he made about Gov. [Sarah] Palin, the most popular governor in America, a governor who knows energy issues, $40 billion pipeline reformer, took on the governor of her own party. And I hope that sometime Gen. Powell will take time out of his busy schedule to meet with her. I know she'd be pleased to meet with him.

BLITZER: But on the economic issues, his criticism was that you were going back and forth on some of the specific issues, and he didn't like that. He thought that Sen. Obama had a consistency in his approach.

MCCAIN: Well, all I can do is laugh. We've been very consistent about cutting spending, cutting taxes and the fundamentals of our economic message.

Sen. Obama's been all over the place, including wanting to "raise taxes on only the rich," 95 percent -- a tax cut for 95 percent of Americans, when 40 percent of them pay no federal income taxes as it is. You know, whatever it is he's changed with -- look at the positions that he held on tax increases when he was first running in the primary, and look at them now. They're vastly different.

And the fundamental difference -- and maybe Secretary Powell agrees with him; I don't know -- but to spread the wealth around is certainly not something that I would ever do, that I would ever do.

BLITZER: Do you agree with Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, who said this week -- he said that it's now a good time for a second economic stimulus package, seeming to join hands with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Is it a good time to do that, to come up with another $150 billion stimulus package?

MCCAIN: I would be glad to look at anything that could be helpful to our economy. I respect Ben Bernanke. I'm sick and tired, and the American people are sick and tired of the pork barrel spending. Why don't we cancel the $18 billion in pork barrel projects that we put in last year at a minimum and use some of that money to help stimulate the economy as well? Instead of bridges to nowhere and projectors and planetariums such as Sen. Obama asked for -- he asked for nearly $1 billion in pork barrel projects. Why don't we ask him to make sure that money that was given to pork barrel projects back to helping American families? And then I think that Americans would be more likely to support such a thing.

Approval rating of Congress at 9 percent. No wonder. We've got a $10 trillion debt to our kids, $500 billion to China. We don't want to continue that spending practices, and Americans are sick and tired of it.

Chris Matthews on the Bachmann, Palin Controversies: Transcript (10-21-08)

Read the complete transcript of the Chris Matthews show ('Hardball') in where Pat Buchanan tries to defend Sarah Palin's absurd statement on the role of the Vice President vis a vis the Senate. They also discuss the repercussions of Bachman's controversial statement questioning the patriotism of Barack Obama.

MATTHEWS: Pat, you`re laughing. And, if it was anybody else, you would be jumping on them like a vulture.

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Come on. She`s talking to second- and third-graders.


MATTHEWS: She`s talking like a second-grader.


BUCHANAN: Chris...


MATTHEWS: What did -- what did -- what did she mean? What did she mean?

BUCHANAN: What is this hostility to this woman?

MATTHEWS: No, what did she mean? Don`t get into the personal stuff here, Pat.

BUCHANAN: Well, I`m not.


MATTHEWS: What did she mean? She`s up for the vice president of the United States.

BUCHANAN: She probably -- my guess is, she meant that she`s going to work with the Republican caucus to try to change policy, kids, and make the country better. Clearly, Reid is going to run the Senate. He may have 60 votes. She ain`t going to be able to do it.

MATTHEWS: No, wait a minute. Wait a minute. Wait a minute.

BUCHANAN: She made a mistake.

MATTHEWS: The vice president of the United States is the legislative leader of the Senate?


MATTHEWS: Don`t you have to be a senator?

BUCHANAN: Look, she`s the president of the Senate.

MATTHEWS: No, but she`s not a senator.

BUCHANAN: No, she`s the president of the Senate.


MATTHEWS: If you`re not a senator, you`re not a member of the Senate.

BUCHANAN: You`re the president of the Senate.

MATTHEWS: What`s her role? What`s her role?

BUCHANAN: The president of the Senate.

MATTHEWS: Presides.

BUCHANAN: You haven`t read the Constitution.

MATTHEWS: Presides over the Constitution -- over the Senate.


MATTHEWS: That`s the only role, has no role, except to break ties.

BUCHANAN: Well, no, look, she`s the president of the Senate of the United States.

MATTHEWS: We`re not getting anywhere, Pat.

BUCHANAN: Well, you know, I`m saying...

MATTHEWS: You`re saying she has a legislative role?

BUCHANAN: I`m saying she`s the president of the Senate.

MATTHEWS: Does she have any legislative role?


BUCHANAN: Not unless she can get the Republicans and Democrats to work with her.

MATTHEWS: When in history has a vice president been given a legislative authority over the majority or the minority or any senator in the United States Senate?

BUCHANAN: Chris, she`s talking to second-graders.


Let me tell you why this is a serious question here. Because, when she was talking to Katie Couric and answering questions, she talked in a language I have never heard about some flexibility within the Constitution, Mark, about some new authority for the vice president, which has never been understood before.

Now, maybe this derives from the sense that the people around Dick Cheney have about the role of the vice president, but I have never heard anybody say the vice president has legislative authority of any kind or any consequence. It`s extraordinary for her to teach people -- she`s got a teaching role. She`s telling those kids something that`s wrong. She`s not talking down to them. She`s giving them wrong information.

The vice president of the United States has two roles, to succeed the president, if that`s a necessity, and to preside over the Senate and break ties. And that`s it, under the Constitution.


MATTHEWS: To argue that it has a legislative authority within the grasps of the vice president is unconstitutional. Am I right or wrong?

Olbermann: Palin not Smarter than a Third Grader (Transcript, 10-21-08)

Keith Olbermann, on 'Countdown,' gives a 'special comment' blasting Sarah Palin's incredible assertion that the Vice President is in charge of the Senate. Read the show's complete transcript.

Good point. So tonight, as promised, a Campaign Comment on the continuing adventures of Governor Sarah Palin in the big leagues or "Are You Smarter Than A Third Grader.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Finally governor, we`ve been trying to engage some local grade schoolers for the last few elections. We do a feature called `questions from the third grade.` Brandon Garcia wants to know, "What does the Vice President do?"

PALIN: That`s something that Piper would ask me, as a second grader, also. That`s a great question, Brandon, and a Vice President has a really great job, because not only are they there to support the President agenda, they`re like a team member, the teammate to that President. But also, they`re in charge of the United States Senate. So if they want to, they can really get in there with the Senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom. And it`s a great job and I look forward to having that job.


OLBERMANN: Oh! I`m so sorry, Governor. The correct answer can be found in the Constitution of the United States.

Article One, Section Three: "The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided." So, the Vice President is not in charge of Jack, Governor, let alone in charge of the Senate. And you are not smarter than a third-grader.

On the one level, it is hilarious and entertaining that the Republican nominee cannot correctly answer the question "What Does The Vice President Do?" I mean, that first reference to the Vice President comes not 600 words into the Constitution. And the other meaty references are pretty simple to remember.

Article Two, Section One: "In case of the removal of the President from Office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said Office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President."

There`s also the 20th Amendment: you`re done on January 20th, and the 25th Amendment: if the President`s incapacitated, you`re the acting Pres.

It`s so simple, really, one could memorize those four points pretty easily. It wouldn`t take long.

Brandon Garcia could do it in the third grade, probably. So, on the one level, this is pretty damn silly. The Sarah Palin material, as Tina Fey might be able to say, just writes itself. As it does, it makes stupid mistakes, but it still writes itself.

Except there are two very serious aspects to this. Governor, do you really think you`d be "in charge of the United States Senate?" Do you really want to suggest that you think if you "want to" you "can really get in there with the Senators and make a lot of good policy changes?"

We`re just wrapping up eight years of a Vice President who had no clue what his damned job consisted of, couldn`t even correctly find his governmental branch with both hands. The last thing anybody in this country wants, Republican or Democrat, is another buccaneer in there, making it up as they go along, and, in your case, presuming you can stride in to the Senate and change policy if you want to!

Besides which, Governor, exactly how on Earth could you not have the correct answer by now? It`s not like this is the first time you`ve been asked about the Vice Presidency and gone all Miss South Carolina on us.


LARRY KUDLOW, CNBC ANCHOR: Is this police-flap state investigation going to disqualify you from becoming Senator McCain`s vice presidential candidate?

PALIN: As for that VP talk all the time, I`ll tell you, I still can`t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day? I`m used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration. We want to make sure that that VP slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we`re trying to accomplish up here for the rest of the U.S., before I can even start addressing that question.


OLBERMANN: That was on the 31st of July on cNBC, Governor. Even giving you the biggest benefit of the doubt, that your later claim that that was just a lame attempt at a joke, you couldn`t come up with the correct job description on the second try? What am I saying? The third try!


GWEN IFILL, PBS ANCHOR: Governor, you said in July that someone would have to explain to you exactly what it is the vice president does every day.

PALIN: In my comment there, it was a lame attempt at a joke and yours was a lame attempt at a joke, too, I guess, because nobody got it. Of course we know what a vice president does. And that`s not only to preside over the Senate, and will take that position very seriously also. I`m thankful that the Constitution would allow a bit more authority given to the vice president, also, if that vice president so chose to exert it in working with the Senate, and making sure that we are supportive of the president`s policies, and making sure too that our president understands what our strengths are.


OLBERMANN: No! No, Governor, the Constitution does not allow "a bit more authority" "if the vice president so chose to exert it in working with the Senate." You would not be some kind of Senatorial hall monitor. You would not be a Veto, or a Censor, or a Balance.

And even if you think you would somehow obtain those powers from somebody, don`t pretend the Constitution will give them to you!


PALIN: Thankfully, our founders were wise enough to say, we have this position and it`s Constitutional. Vice presidents will be able to be -- not only the position flexible, but it`s going to be sort of those other duties as assigned by the president. It`s a simple thing. I don`t think that was a gaff at all in stating what the truth is. And that is we`ve got flexibility in the position. The president will be directing in a lot of respects what the vice president does. The vice president, of course, is not a member -- or a part of the Legislative Branch, except to oversee the Senate. That alone provides a tremendous amount of flexibility and authority if that vice president so chose to use it.


OLBERMANN: You`re wrong! The word flexibility appears nowhere near the Constitution. You`ve memorized everything else, Governor. You couldn`t memorize the job description in three months? Four tries? I mean, I`d like my President and Vice President to have memorized the Constitution, and to abide by it. Or at least, I`d like them to know more about the Constitution than I do, or than Brandon Garcia does in the third grade. Maybe I`m raising the bar too high, but at least wait until you achieve office before trying to seize power extra-Constitutionally!

"The founders," governor, were not George Bush and Dick Cheney! Give me something to work with here, Governor, or go home! And please don`t forget to take your lovely parting gifts with you, including the home version of the vice president game.

That`s COUNTDOWN for this the 2,001st day since the declaration of independence -- declaration of mission accomplished -- might as well have been the declaration of independence in Iraq. I`m Keith Olbermann, good night and good luck.