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.