Transcript of McCain’s Remarks to the Press in Phoenix

McCain Pool Report #1a
7/14/08

I think the actions taken by the Fed on Fannie and Freddie are correct. I hope that the congress will give them the needed authorization. These are very difficult times and a time where Americans need confidence and I hope that these measures will restore some of the necessary confidence in our institutions and preserve the ability of Americans to obtain loans in order to buy a home and be able to afford the mortgage payments that they’re having to make. It’s tough time nowadays. I still hope that we could act on a proposal of mine which would give American homeowners in their primary residence the ability to go down, get a 35-year FHA guaranteed loan in order to be able to make their loan payments.

I was concerned about a couple of steps that the Russian government took in the last several days. One was reducing the energy supplies to Czechoslovakia. Apparently that is in reaction to the Czech’s agreement with us concerning missile defense, and again some of the Russian now announcement they are now retargeting new targets, something they abandoned at the end of the Cold War, is also a concern. So we see the tensions between Russia and their neighbors, as well as Russia and the United States are somewhat increasing. We need to try to do everything we can to lessen those tensions including the tensions between Russia and the country of Georgia.

ON SUPPORT FOR FED’S ACTION, DO YOU SUPPORT PAULSEN’S INCREASED LINE OF CREDIT?

I do.

COULD YOU FLUSH THAT OUT?

I support it.

LIFTING OF OFFSHORE EXECUTIVE BAN…

I think it’s a very important signal to lift the ban on offshore drilling. I know that senator Obama is opposed to lifting the ban on offshore drilling. I believe the states’ should continue to decide. I hope that, as he has on several other issues, that Senator Obama will change his position and now support offshore oil drilling because it’s obviously on the short term, it’s important for us to have out reserves to – as we transition to different kinds of energy we need to have sufficient oil reserves off our coast to either reduce or at least cushion the increased costs of oil. If we can show that we have significant oil reserves off our coasts, that will clearly affect the futures market and affect the price of oil I urge Senator Obama to change his position on this issue.

ON NEW YORKER MAGAZINE COVER…

I just saw a picture of it on television. I don’t – I think it’s totally inappropriate and frankly I understand if Senator Obama and his supporters would find it offensive.

OBAMA’S OP-ED…

I think we need to do whatever is necessary and that could entail more troops. We need to do a lot of things in Afghanistan. A lot of this has to do with Pakistan and the safe haven areas that I have visited in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. But the major point here is that Senator Obama refuses to acknowledge that he was wrong. He said that the surge couldn’t succeed. He said he opposed the increase in troops. The surge has succeeded. We were losing when we put the 30,000 additional troops in with a new strategy. He said it would fail and he still refuses to acknowledge that it is succeeding. I at that very tough time said we needed this increase in troops and I said it would work and it has worked and we are winning. And if we still adopt Senator Obama’s proposal for a set dates for withdrawal, this very fragile success that we have achieved will be jeopardized. Senator Obama was wrong when he said it wouldn’t succeed. He was wrong when he said we’ve lost the war, and he is wrong today when he says that Iraq is not the central battleground. That’s what General Petraeus says and that’s what Osama bin Laden says, that Iraq is the central battleground. We are winning there and his proposals would jeopardize the fragility of the success we’ve achieved. And his refusal to acknowledge that success is remarkable.

IS HIS POSITION ON Iraq CLEAR NOW?

He’s obviously, when you look at his rhetoric where he said that the surge couldn’t succeed and wouldn’t succeed and that we had failed and that he would bring the troops home immediately – yeah he has – been dramatic shifts in his position and you know when you want to talk about some of the minor items about healthcare plans and you wanna talk about some of those other things. If you want to shift positions, but when you shift on an issue of national security where the lives of young Americans are at stake, this really begins to bring into question what position will Senator Obama take that you can plan on him and have the confidence and that he would stick with. He was wrong and he’s wrong now, and I will look forward to seeing his position when he comes back, when he for the first time sits down and gets a briefing from General Petraeus. I don’t – and for the first time ever visits Afghanistan. So I’ll be looking forward to hearing what he has to say when he returns and I hope that, I hope that he will have learned that we will withdraw and we will withdraw with honor and we are succeeding so that we will be able to withdraw.