Highlights From Post-Debate Press Conference Call With Senator McCain on "The Stark Choice For Our Nation's Future"
U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ):
"McCain: Thank you, thank you all. I’m going to be very brief remarks. I think that last night’s debate showed the American people that Mitt Romney is fully qualified to serve as commander-in-chief. And that was the objective of the debate of the Romney campaign in this debate and I think he clearly achieved that.
“Just a couple of points. One is that the president’s statement on Iraq accusing Mitt Romney of wanting to keep troops there when he wanted to keep troops there in a failed effort, in fact, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman and I traveled to Iraq to try to help the administration make that happen. So to start out by saying something like that is just really kind of dispiriting because the president wanted to leave a residual force there; he was unable to do that because of his ineptitude.
“As far as sequestration is concerned, I was stunned to hear that sequestration won’t happen. In order for sequestration to be repealed requires passage of legislation, which requires the agreement of Congress. Kind of a hubris and arrogance there that I found stunning, particularly since Lindsay Graham and I and others, including Kelly Ayotte, had been begging the president to sit down with us to avoid what his own Secretary of Defense said would be devastating to our national security.
“I don’t know why the President of the United States feels it necessary to denigrate, and basically insult, his opponent. This line about horses and bayonets, astonishing that he would say such things as that as he did throughout. This is a man who has never known anything about national defense or national security or served in the military. To make a smart remark about horses and bayonets, about planes that fly off aircraft carriers, you know, to me, is not only un-presidential but it shows a lack of maturity along with his lack of judgment.
“Finally, the president has come out with his plan. I urge you to go through that very important document and find any path to a balanced budget, any reductions in spending, any path that would lead this country back to some kind of fiscal solvency. If you find that, please let me know because I’ve had a glance at it and I haven’t found anything except the old retreads and recycling of statements and comments. So, I’d like to answer any questions or comments that you might have and thank you for coming on. I’m here in Jacksonville, Florida with Connie Mack and trying to help him win a Senate seat which I think is very competitive.”
Q & A:
John DiStaso, New Hampshire Union Leader
“The question I have was could you please address the Governor’s and the President’s comments about the relative size of the U.S. Navy, especially as it might relate to the status of shipyards. There are of course many down in Virginia, but there’s also, one up here, as you may know, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which although in Maine plays hundreds of New Hampshire residents.”
Senator John McCain
“Well again, you know, facts are stubborn things. And the fact is that we will have the smallest Navy since 1914 if sequestration takes place. There is a steady reduction and the shipbuilding of the, of our shipyards all over America. We have…quote pivoted to…Asia Pacific and we know that requires more ships and more naval presence. When the President made the statement about “they fly airplanes on and off aircraft carriers,” that was both demeaning to Mitt Romney and it was also showed a degree of ignorance on the part of the president. You do need aircraft carriers and you need submarines and you need naval presence the same way you did back then. And to then justify a steady reduction in shipbuilding, obviously does not, shows a misunderstanding of the size of the challenge we face in the Asian Pacific region. And so, to say, as the president did “well we fly airplanes off of aircraft carriers” and this horses and bayonets statement, is not only bad taste and frankly inappropriate for a president of the United States, but it’s also wrong. We do need more ships in the Asia Pacific region and any military leader will tell you that if we’re going to carry out the strategy which he has advanced. And sequestration, which he cavalierly said quote “won’t happen,” will have a draconian effect on the shipbuilding in Portsmouth, Maine and the other industries such as BAE in New Hampshire as well.”
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