I joined Sen. McCain’s bloggers’ call this morning, which he did while waiting to board an airplane.
He first started by talking about his recent speeches, and restating his proposed tax cuts while contrasting them to Obama’s proposed increases in capital gains tax rate and the cap on wages subject to social security taxes: “Anybody who wants to raise taxes during hard times is lacking in understanding of economics.”
He also praised Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, who he visited yesterday. I didn’t have a chance to ask questions (as it turns out both Michael Goldfarb and Jim Geraghty asked the question I had) so I’m linking to the posts of the bloggers who did. most of the comments had to do with the North Carolina ad, and Bill Ayers.
Hugh Hewitt asked what obligation does Obama have
to address the details of his association with Ayers/Dohrn, and what obligations the media had to push for that explanation.
McCain responded by again blasting Obama’s comparison of Ayers and Coburn, and said an apology from Obama was necessary as Coburn actually works to save lives and Ayers had worked to take them. He repeatedly referred to Ayers as an unrepentant terrorist, and expressed surprise that there hasn’t been more discussion about the comparison, or about what an unrepentant terrorist which is what Ayers is. McCain said that Obama had to repudiate Ayers and apologize for ever having had anything to do with an unrepentant terroist. McCain noted that Ayers brags about his organization and is unrepentant about his past, so that Obama can try and persuade the American people or perhaps he can make a case that Mr. Ayers made some contribution, but it was a terrorist organization, and that the media ought to be discussing it.
“It’s just not the tenor of the kind of campaign I want to run. I understand the discussion of Rev. Wright, and he has brought this up by doing media appearances, but there are differences that are mad… There are many differences between our parties and differences between myself and Senator Obama, and I want this race to be about those differences.
McCain mentions Cunningham, and how that too wasn’t in keeping with the kind of campaign he wants to run.
Q: Competing hard in California? Strategy for that?
“I intend to compete in California. I’m a western senator. I understand the issues in a state like that – land, water, the environment. I’m going to travel the state extensively. It cannot be written off again. Gov. Schwarzenegger has proven that as a Republican, even if you have different views, you can win that state.”
Q: Your thoughts on Maliki’s operations in Basra.
McCain notes that Maliki went down there himself. “They had setbacks and had desertions, and we had to provide support. But in last several days, with limited American support, the Iraqi army has taken over whole city of Basra. [Maliki’s] actions seem to have united the government more… The entire Iraqi government said that any group that bears arms against government – and that’s basically Sadr and his army — will not be allowed to partake in next elections… I’m rather pleased. This incident exposed some weaknesses, but they sent a new general and established government control.”
Geraghty’s own question, also on the North Carolina ad,
I asked a follow-up on the North Carolina ad, asking the senator whether his position was that voters could take Obama’s relationship with Jeremiah Wright into account in their voting decision, but that he didn’t feel it was an appropriate issue to run ads on.
McCain: Voters can take into account any issue they feel Is relevant to themselves; I certainly have no control over that. But I have my agenda, and I think this ad is offensive to some and I would like it taken down. I want the best kind of campaign and most positive kind of campaign.
McCain reiterated that he can’t control the N.C. GOP, but he can ask them to take it down.
I asked about Hamas’s endorsement of Barack Obama. McCain bluntly responded, “It’s clear who Hamas wants to be the next President of the United States.” He continued “” will be Hamas’ worst nightmare” and said that he “ever expects” to hear a Hamas official say they want him as President. On the subject of Bill Ayers, McCain displayed none of the hesitancy he has shown about discussing Reverend Wright. He said he was “a bit surprised” the media had not made more of Obama’s association with “an unrepentant terrorist” and Obama’s equation of his relationship with Ayers to his friendship with Senator Tom Coburn. McCain said he was “offended” by the latter and that a “repudiation and apology” are due from Obama to the American people.
Ed Morrissey posts,
Obama withdrew from a debate in North Carolina. Would he be willing to have a “conversation” with Hillary instead? McCain says it’s inappropriate until the Dems have a nominee.
Sen. McCain is going to visit with Huckabee in Arkansas, then travels to Florida, and will get on the bus with the media.