Sen. Johm McCain opened the call by hoping for a good outcome in the Belgrade situation despite the outbreak of violence at the embassies, and remaked that Putin’s statements are outrageous. He also criticized Barak Obama saying that Obama would talk unconditionally to Raul Castro, since Raul Castro has condemmed people to death, maintained the Cuban prison system and has sponsored terror. “We should be very clear [that we’ll talk] after prisons are emptied, there are free elections, human rights organizations are allowed in, and after his brother has the chance to meet Karl Marx.”
(UPDATE, Saturday, Feb. 23: Reuters noticed, too.)
The rest of the call was questions from the bloggers, namely, Arizona Republic, Jennifer Rubin of Human Events, Matt Lewis, Town Hall, James Joyner of Outside the Beltway, Phillip Klein of American Spectator, Real Clear Politics, Abe Greenwald, Commentary, and myself. (click on the links for those bloggers’ posts on the call)
I asked Sen. McCain what his position was on the Akaka Bill, i.e., the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005. He replied that he had looked at that legistation a couple of years ago, and being a Federalist, believes that the Hawaiians themselves should make decisions in their state. At the time he was very concerned about an issue that was settled at the time of statehood, that is, that native Hawaiians would not be accorded the status of native Americans. The State of Hawaii has come a long way towards helping the education and economic progress of native Hawaiians. He asked me if the legislation would be coming up again, and I stated it can be (see last Tuesday’s podcast).
Se. McCain was very concerned about the passage of that legislation, and the issue seemed to get very hot. He had met with the governor of Hawaii, and then the legislation died in the Senate. If it’s resurrected again, he’ll have to be briefed again, but he’s very concerned if it would.