Arizona Sen. and 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain says in an exclusive NewsmaxTV interview that President Obama’s failure to support anti-government protesters in Iran in 2009 is “one of the huge mistakes in history.”
He also charges that Obama’s policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and his cuts to the military, have left the country “in the greatest peril” since the Jimmy Carter presidency.
Turning to politics, McCain — who has endorsed Mitt Romney for president — predicts that Republicans will retake the White House no matter who wins the GOP nomination.
McCain spoke with Newsmax from South Carolina, where he is campaigning for Romney.
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He asserts that some of the military cuts recently announced by Obama are necessary, “but I am very concerned about our nuclear arsenal. I am very worried about the size of the cuts. This is a very dangerous world we’re living in today and it is of great concern to me.”
The cuts “give the perception of American weakness,” he says, “and that leads to an increased sense of adventurism on the part of countries like Iran.”
Speaking of Iran, McCain says: “In June 2009, right after President Obama took office, a million and a half people were demonstrating in Tehran over a corrupt election, and they were chanting in the streets ‘Obama, Obama, are you with us or are you with them?’ And what did President Obama do? He made a statement that he didn’t want to jeopardize his chances of negotiating with the Islamic Republic of Iran. It was one of the huge mistakes in history.
“It also showed the president’s absolute inability to understand that it has been an American tradition to help those people who struggle for freedom.”
McCain says he doubts the military cuts were politically motivated to please Obama’s liberal base, “but that is very clear as far as Iraq is concerned — saying he would remove everybody from Iraq. Our Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said we always envisioned a residual force of some twenty thousand people. They played the duplicitous game of never telling the Iraqis the number of troops we wanted to keep there until it got down to the negligible number of three thousand.
“He claimed Iraq is a stable and democratic situation and obviously it’s unraveling, because he refused to try to keep a residential force in Iraq.
“In Afghanistan, over the objections of his generals — who he appointed — he has put Americans in greater risk, and the chances of succeeding in Afghanistan are greatly diminished, because we needed the second fighting season.
“This is all leading from behind, and in my view it places this country in the greatest peril since the presidency of James Earl Carter.”
McCain believes Obama’s recent recess appointments while the Senate is not in recess are unconstitutional.
“But let me focus for a moment on the [National Labor Relations Board] because this is a classic example of Obama’s view of the role of government,” he tells Newsmax.
“He appointed these people to the NLRB and they issued the most astounding finding that Boeing could not expand their operations in the state of South Carolina, where I am now, because South Carolina is a right to work state. That is astounding.
“We now have a government bureaucracy saying that a company cannot expand its business in another state in the United States of America. I mean that is the most outrageous thing I have ever seen. It shows the incredible control that organized unions and labor have over this administration.
“I can tell you that what happens then is if Boeing wants to expand its operations and they can’t expand it in other parts of the United States, they’re going to go to another country. It is the worst decision I have ever heard of by a government bureaucracy.”
Discussing his support for Romney in the presidential campaign, McCain says: “I’m convinced that with his background he can get our economy back on track.
“Here I am in South Carolina with 9.9 percent unemployment. So jobs and the economy are uppermost in people’s minds. This president passed legislation in the two years when he had domination in both houses of Congress that have spectacularly failed.
“He said unemployment would be less than 8 percent if we passed his stimulus package. It’s been an utter failure, so now his strategy is going to be to campaign against Congress. Well, he’s campaigning against his own party for the first two years of his presidency and he still has a majority in the Senate, which hasn’t passed a budget in two years.
“Romney believes that business and economic growth creates jobs in America, and Obama believes that government creates jobs. It’s been that simple.”
Asked if negative political ads by GOP candidates might come to haunt the Republicans, McCain responds: “Primaries are tough and we really do fight over differences. But we do share the same fundamental Republican philosophy — less government, lower taxes, encourage the entrepreneur, strong national security — and I’m confident that when it is over we’ll all join up.
“I remind you that in 1980 Ronald Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush had as tough a primary as any two people ever had, and Ronald Reagan chose him as his running mate.
“We should be less personal in our attacks on each other. But I am confident our party will join together, and I’m confident that whoever the nominee is he is going to defeat Barack Obama.”
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