Monday, May 21, 2007

McCain on McCain v. Cornyn

From the senator's opening statement during a blogger conference call (rough transcription, because it's live):

The exchange between myself and my friend John Cornyn has been a bit exaggerated. . . . I’m sorry YouTube wasn’t there to give you a full and complete picture. . . . Sometimes we have tough issues and sometimes we are very frank with each other.

Update: John McCain held one of his semi-regular conference calls with bloggers this afternoon, at the end of which he promised to hold one every week, if necessary. Even though the 30-minute call was postponed twice, and the subject apparently changed from “clean government” to anything goes, I still blew the opportunity to ask a question, since I haven’t yet mastered the art of pressing *1 (the equivalent of pressing the buzzer in Jeopardy).

The bloggers were respectful, but I couldn't help but notice the gulf between their written words and the softness of their spoken questions. Several people asked about last week's immigration bill, and the most memorable line was McCain's sarcastic swipe at Romney for his history of pandering, particularly with respect to Romney's varmint remark.

Here are the questions I prepared:

1. Senator, it’s said that all good war plans include an end game or an exit strategy. Surely, part of that equation includes domestic support for the war. If, in January 2009, say 75% of the American people have decided that the Iraq war is no longer worthwhile, would you bring the troops home, or would you defy popular will? If the latter, what does this say about democracy?

2. Senator, you’ve decided to forgo public campaign subsidies. How do you reconcile this with your oft-repeated position—indeed, perhaps your signature issue—that only public money is noncorruptive? Second, if you are not going to use public financing, why should public financing even exist?

Thanks to Pat Hynes for organizing the call.

Update: Ryan Sager posts McCain's words, which prompts a rather mild response from Romney's spokesman.

Update: Ryan posts audio of the above, and it looks like I wasn't the only one with technical difficulties.

Update (5/26): Ryan posts a full transcript.