Monday, July 24, 2006

McCain on the Daily Show again

Senator John McCain (R–AZ) was the guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart again tonight, discussing the war in Iraq, the Bush administration, immigration, and other topical issues. Here is what they had to say:


Jon Stewart: I want to ask you this — it's a serious question: President Bush has been very clear that, through his leadership he has made the world safer. I believe he said that exact sentence. My question to you is simply this: how much safer can the world afford to have him make us?

John McCain: Before I call in my two attorneys.... That was a previous show, when the Straight Talk Express was going some place — anyway, before I respond to that, did I hear, did you hear, that our political futures are together?

Stewart: McCain–Stewart? That's true.

McCain: I can't lose.

Stewart: Yes, you can.

McCain: Well, we've sewn up the vegetarian, libertarian ...

Stewart: Don't dodge the question. Come back, come back.

McCain: ... fascist, (What?!) Yeah, the fascist.

Stewart: How do you get my demographics? (Surveillance.) George W. Bush (Here we go!) — is he — you know these guys. Dick Cheney said about a year ago the insurgency is in its last throes, and then about a month or two ago he was given a chance to take that back and he said [imitates The Penguin from Batman] "I stick by it." So, he sticks by it. Is he, I mean, is he an idiot? Why would he say, "I stick by it"?

McCain: Should I tell you when I stop beating my wife?

Stewart: No, no! Help me appreciate what I'm not seeing in the subtleties, the nuance of their leadership.

McCain: A lot of mistakes have been made in Iraq. (Do they know that?) I think so. (You do think so? They just won't publicly say it.) I think they know that things are very tough. They're very tough, very difficult, mistakes have been made, but I think the stakes are still such that we need to win, and I know — we had a debate in the Senate a few weeks ago, to decide whether to withdraw and set a time for withdrawal, or to see if we can't carry this thing off. It's a near thing. It's very tough. I know this is a comedy show, but ...

Stewart: No, no, no, I'm happy to talk about it. (It's a tough slog.) When they say stay the course, what does that mean?

McCain: It means a government that functions, it means economic improvement, it means an Iraqi military and police that can take over the responsibility — I know it's tough, it's frustrating ...

Stewart: Here's what I don't get: the President has said previously we would never give another country a veto over our security. But when he says things like, "When Iraq stands up, we'll stand down," doesn't that give all of our power over to a government that (a) doesn't even really seem to like us a whole lot, and (b) its country doesn't seem to like it a whole lot? I mean, isn't he giving away, by saying, "Oh, when they stand up, we'll stand down" — shouldn't he say, "You're standing up on this day, and we're standing down"?

McCain: I think what he's saying is that we have to have Iraqi military and police that are capable of enforcing the law and order and suppressing this insurgency. It's an insurgency now. Insurgencies are very tough, and it also is a rise in sectarian violence, but if we fail, if we fail (I get that part.) — you get that part. That part of it is what's concerning me.

Stewart: But the idea is still, democracy, as it flowers, will then create a safe haven for, I guess, Jesus to come back — I don't really know what his plan is. I don't know what he's thinking, quite frankly. But my thought is —

McCain: I don't always, but I don't think it's that.

Stewart: Thank you. That actually, I gotta tell ya, that makes me feel a little better. But it does strike me as, you know, they don't have the credibility any more that their judgment in the situation is correct, so I keep wondering, why do they keep saying to us, "And this keeps showing why you need to keep us in power" and consolidating all the government's power into an Executive Branch that's made nothing but mistakes?

McCain: I think the President has stated on several occasions, some pretty good speeches, the fact that we have made mistakes, that, if we had it to do over again, we'd do a lot of things differently, and I think he has tried to emphasize this is very tough, very, very tough (You believe he has learned somewhat?) — I think he has learned, I do, and again, what's at stake here is really incredible.

Stewart: Listen, I know it breaks your heart. I know you're very sad about it and very tenacious, and I do respect that, and I know you're trying to be delicate and obviously loyalty means a great deal to you. Thank God, obviously, I don't have that issue, so I can say, "These guys seem like fucking idiots to me!" We're gonna come back and talk a little bit more about other things....

[commercial break]

Stewart: We're talking with Senator John McCain (His running mate) — my running mate.

McCain: I think Secretary of Education would be a nice post, don't you? Think of the things the children would learn.

Stewart: You know what? That's what YouTube is for. (Tubes, tubes!) Tubes. Senator [Ted] Stevens (R–AK) — he is in charge of the Commerce Committee. Obviously net neutrality is a big issue in front of the Senate. He is regulating the Internet, and he was very explicit that the Internet is not a dump truck, but in fact a series of tubes.

McCain: And I saw also this program, how long it took to get through those tubes.

Stewart: It's tough. Especially when you're passing, let's say (they're clogged) — horses or things like that. (Naked dolls and poker chips, like you had.) When you listen to your colleagues, your esteemed colleagues, and I know that the talk on the Senate is Robert's Rules of Order and everybody says, "my distinguished colleague from..." (the distinguished gentleman or gentlewoman from..., yes) Do you ever think to yourself, where are these people from? You know, privately, can you pull Senator Stevens aside and go, "It's not really literally tubes"?

McCain: I wouldn't want to disillusion him.

Stewart: That may be the greatest answer I've heard on this. Are you reaching a frustration point in Washington? Have you gotten to the point where — have you lost your will to....

McCain: No, there's a great deal that we can do and must do, and one of 'em is this immigration reform. I know that you've discussed it in the past. By the way, our reporter in Beirut, the fly-fishing jacket was very nice. (You notice, it's the same one many of our other reporters wear.) Well, you know, it gets a little warm with those real flak jackets on, but anyway.... (You know how hot it gets in Beirut this time of year.) We've gotta fix immigration, it's broken, our borders are broken, but we have to fix it in a comprehensive fashion.

Stewart: Do you trust in the Congressional body's ability to do any work at this point, or is it so polluted and toxic right now that there needs to be some kind of filtering and cleaning before anything's really going to get done?

McCain: First of all, I appreciate the President's leadership on this issue. He's right, and that's because we agree, obviously. (So that's one. Okay.) But no, the President's been excellent on this issue. We need to sit down and talk it out, Republicans and Democrats, we need to raise the level of debate, we've gotta stop accusing each other of being disloyal — I'm serious. (No, I appreciate that.) We've gotta have a respectful debate and dialogue on this issue.

Stewart: I believe we will see that happen — when there's peace in the Middle East. All right.

McCain: There's 500 years per inch. [referring to a sketch earlier in the show about the "road map for peace"]

Stewart: I appreciate your coming by. Senator John McCain!
I also have the transcript of their April 5, 2006, interview, and the transcript of their April 24, 2007 interview.

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