The live streaming of this press conference is sponsored by Orion Code automated trading software.
Re: Iraq War Supplemental
Watch this space for updates….
[Ed. Note: McCain is a very quick talker and my connection wasn’t great so this is not even close to being an exact transcript and should not be quoted as such. I’ll update it as much as possible when other bloggers get it up. If you were on the call and would like to update anything below – shoot me a note.]
10:03 AM: McCain’s modern media guy, Patrick Hynes opened the call. “Welcome.”
:04: Senator McCain said, “I hope to answer more then a few questions. I think we have about a half an hour here if anyone wants to stay that long.” (McCain always has a good one-liner…)
:05: Talking about Iraq – reiterate what I said on the floor of the Senate yesterday and today on talk show outlets.
:06: “Harry Reid said we should not spill one additional drop of blood. If you believe that then you should cut off funding and bring the troops home now.”
:07: “Respond to any questions, comments, or insults you may have.”
:07: First question from Erick Erickson of Redstate. “Who are some of the Democrats who are problems on this bill?”
:09 Second question from Robert Bluey….
:10 McCain cuts in: “We’ll do these calls regularly and I invite you jerks to come on the bus with us and we’ll have some fun.” (McCain is extremely comfortable with bloggers — has a very likable/joking tone which goes over well.)
:10 Bluey: Is there anything you’re doing to reach out to Hagel to get him back to your position?
:10 McCain: “I’m very disappointed. My views and positions on the issues are from a lifetime of experiences not just what happened 30 years ago. Everything I view does not rely on my experiences in Vietnam. That’s where Chuck and I have disagreement. We lost in Vietnam but they didn’t follow us home. That’s a huge difference.”
:12 Next question… Jim Antle of American Spectator. “How do we break this stalemate?”
:12 McCain: We have to do it through public opinion. We should be able to come up with a compromise but someone has to tell me where we compromise between withdraw and not withdraw. Look, if they want to cut off funding – fine!
:14 Kim Priestap from Wizbang: “What do you think the Democrats will do next?”
:15 McCain: I don’t know. They are being lead by MoveOn.org. I don’t know what their strategy will be. I think they just want a big win. I think they are going to be poll-driven to some degree.
:15 Priestap: The Dems seem to be between a rock and a hard place.
:17 Ryan Sager of NY Sun: Does McCain-Feingold need to be updated with regard to the Internet?
:17 McCain: I would be reluctant to do anything that could stop what’s happening on the Internet. It’s a marvelous change in the whole landscape to provide information to Americans. Young people are getting involved in the political process. Answer is no.
:18 Phil Klein with American Spectator: MISSED HIS QUESTION
:19 McCain: Why would it take five months to get five brigades to Baghdad? There are people that want us out….
:20 Chris Stewart with GreenMountainPolitics1 (?): “I was on the bus with you Senator. Where do you go to get your information on Iraq?”
:21 McCain: I get my information from the Pentagon, from Fred Kagan… I have quite a network of people that have daily contact with people who have contact with people on the ground.
:22 Stewart: “Where can average voter get information?”
:23 McCain: “I’m going to suggest that Fred starts a blog/website and start posting the information as soon as he has it. You have stimulated me to do so.
:23 James Joyner with Outside The Beltway: “I’m looking at the polls… Why do you think people are calling for a conservative. How do you think you’ve got such a bad wrap with conservatives?”
:24 McCain: “Because life isn’t fair. Some of it is ‘too old, too tired’ but we’re effectively countering that by getting on the bus…getting to the town hall meetings. I may be wrong but I think Rudy Giuliani is held with great regard by the American public because of his magnificent performance on September 11. I’m happy where we are. I’m unhappy with my fundraising – but that is my fault. On Fred Thompson… Why shouldn’t he have high approval ratings? He’s already been President 3-4 times…”
:26 Skip Murphy from GraniteGrok… Question about Iran.
:27 McCain: I hope that our pro-Israel friends understand. This is a radical group of very dangerous people. If they required nuclear weapons they would handle them recklessly. They’ve gotta understand that their actions…
:29 Murphy follow-up: Does sending somebody in to talk, will that really help?
:29 McCain: First of all, it wouldn’t be a negotiation. It would be a message from me as POTUS telling them what would happen. I would do it quietly. Don’t get me wrong… I’m not saying we’re going to war, I’m saying that we will not allow Iran to destroy Israel.
:32 Douglas Lambert with GraniteGrok… “I think it’s quite courageous for a President in a modern era to not screen questions… You don’t see that from someone like Hillary or some of the others…”
:33 McCain: Well we’re going to keep doing it.
:35 Missed Lambert’s question…
:36 McCain: (he answered the question) Well look folks, I’m sorry but I have to go. I think next time we need a full-hour to discuss all of the issues and I’ll tell my staff to start scheduling these on a regular basis so that you all can start planning on them. Thank you all.
Well, I didn’t ask a question, but when I do, it’ll be: “Senator McCain, I’ve encouraged senior staff in The White House to have President Bush hold a bloggers conference call as a way to send a clear signal of their importance to the American people. They’ve told me that it will likely never happen. My question to you sir is if you were to be elected as POTUS, would you promise to us that you would continue to keep the conversation going with the blogosphere?”
UPDATE 11:36 AM: Eyeon08 and Matt Lewis have more on the call.