May 15, 2008

Liveblogging Sen. McCain's Conference Call-Envisioning A First Term

McCain 2013 ad:

Scroll for updates . . .

I joined with several other bloggers in a conference call with Sen. John McCain, and today's topic was the GOP presumptive nominee's vision of how his first term would elapse, something he described in a speech today in Ohio:
John McCain, looking through a crystal ball to 2013 and the end of a prospective first term, sees "spasmodic" but reduced violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden dead or captured and government spending curbed by his ready veto pen.

The Republican presidential contender also envisions April's annual angst replaced by a simpler flat tax, illegal immigrants living humanely under a temporary worker program, and political partisanship stemmed by weekly news conferences and British-style question periods with joint meetings of Congress.

In a speech being delivered Thursday, McCain concedes he cannot make the changes alone, but he wants to outline a specific governing style to show the accomplishments it can achieve.

"I'm not interested in partisanship that serves no other purpose than to gain a temporary advantage over our opponents. This mindless, paralyzing rancor must come to an end. We belong to different parties, not different countries," McCain says in remarks prepared for delivery in the capital city of Ohio, a general election battleground. "There is a time to campaign, and a time to govern. If I'm elected president, the era of the permanent campaign will end; the era of problem solving will begin."

Sen. McCain gave a brief restatement of his Ohio speech--by 2013, we will have won in Iraq.

Jennifer Rubin asked about "appeasement" in the Middle East--McCain: naivete to want to sit down in face-to-face talks with Iran, a terrorist nation

Michael Goldfarb follows up on potential negotiations with Iran--McCain: renounce threats on Israel, nuclear ambitions, weapons shipments to Iraq

Jim Geraghty has another followup--McCain: holding Obama accountable for his misleading, flip-flopping statements on the campaign trail; weekly blogger conference calls even after election (as much as possible)

My question went unasked (lots of people on the conference call, McCain didn't get to it this time around)--what does McCain envision for the "temporary guest worker" program, and how does that help solve the overall illegal immigration problem?

I'm sending a follow-up email, and will post the response.

On Iraq:
"By January 2013, America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure in her freedom. The Iraq War has been won. Iraq is a functioning democracy, although still suffering from the lingering effects of decades of tyranny and centuries of sectarian tension. Violence still occurs, but it is spasmodic and much reduced.

"Civil war has been prevented; militias disbanded; the Iraqi Security Force is professional and competent; Al Qaeda in Iraq has been defeated; and the government of Iraq is capable of imposing its authority in every province of Iraq and defending the integrity of its borders.

"The United States maintains a military presence there, but a much smaller one, and it does not play a direct combat role."
On weekly news conferences and Q&A with Congress:
"I will ask Congress to grant me the privilege of coming before both houses to take questions, and address criticism, much the same as the prime minister of Great Britain appears regularly before the House of Commons," McCain said in excerpts of a speech he is to deliver later in Columbus, Ohio.
And some Republicans are flocking to McCain's brand ahead of the next election:
Soul searching Republicans are turning to an unlikely savior, one-time party heretic and now presumptive White House nominee John McCain, as they try to stave off an electoral disaster.

Stung by the Democratic seizure of three staunch conservative seats in Congress, Republican lawmakers fear a shellacking in November's general election, after losing control of both chambers of Congress in 2006.

The rise of McCain as their champion is not without irony, since the 71-year-old Arizona senator has quarreled with his own party for years on issues as diverse as immigration, campaign finance reform and global warming.

But it is precisely that independent streak that is drawing Republicans to his coattails, hoping he can cleanse them of the stain of gridlocked Washington.

Eric Cantor, Republican chief deputy whip in the House of Representatives, told reporters that the McCain brand was healthier than that of his party.

"John McCain is a demonstrated vote getter among independents, and his message and what he will be able to do in this election is extremely important."

House Republican minority leader John Boehner told Fox News that with McCain at the top of the ticket, his demoralized party might spring a surprise in November.

"I think that we're going to do a lot better than people think," Boehner said.

"John McCain appeals to almost all Republicans. He also appeals to a wide array of independents and conservative Democrats."

Michelle Malkin remains unconvinced.

I'll post other reactions as they come in this afternoon.

Amanda Carpenter has more--Sen. McCain dubs Sen. Obama's foreign policy "unacceptable".

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