President Barack Obama’s three-day bus tour through two vital swing states is nothing more than a campaign rally on the public dime, his 2008 rival Sen. John McCain charged on Wednesday.
And such trips give Obama an unfair advantage over his Republican rivals who have to dig into their campaign funds to pay for anything similar, McCain added in an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV
But despite that advantage, McCain said he is confident that Obama will be defeated next November by whoever is finally chosen as the Republican nominee.
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He also said during the wide-ranging interview:
• Anyone could still win the Republican race, pointing out that at this stage in 2007 his name wasn’t among the top tier of GOP candidates;
• The Occupy Wall Street protesters are making some good points about corporate greed but he is worried they are being exploited by the unions;
• Israel played a dangerous game in releasing 1,000 Palestinians in return for one soldier and next time a soldier is captured the price will be even higher;
• He longs for the day that Republicans can sit down with Obama to try to reform the tax code together to cut out loopholes.
McCain, the senior senator from Arizona, admitted that Obama is not the first president to turn official engagements into campaign rallies, but he said this week’s three-day tour through Virginia and North Carolina “is really quite the most extreme that I have observed.
“I’m not excusing previous presidents, both Republicans and Democrats, but this is an out-and-out campaign rally kind of tour – it cannot be described in any other way,” McCain said.
“It gives the president a very unfair advantage over other candidates who are seeking public office because they have to pay their bills,” he added. “Why in the world should the taxpayers have to pay for somebody’s bus?
“The president’s rhetoric level is at October 2012 levels rather than October 2011,” he added. “The whole thing is unfortunate and does not contribute to an environment where we can sit down and work together here in Washington.”
And working together is something McCain still believes in, especially on the jobs plan that he and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul introduced as a contrast to the president’s plan. Their plan calls for tax cuts, a simplification of the tax code and a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution along with allowing the president a line item veto, while Obama’s calls for more taxation and more borrowing.
“We would be glad to sit down with the president,” he said. “If we cut corporate tax from 35 (percent) to 25 and, at the same time, eliminated all of the loopholes and special deals for special interests that have been cut throughout the years here in Congress…it would restore a great deal of confidence.
“The problem with America today is that there is not confidence which would then cause people to go out there and take risks and invest and hire and we’ve got to turn that around and the president’s stimulus 2 certainly doesn’t do that.”
Editor’s Note: Prophetic Economist Unapologetically Calls Out Bernanke and Obama for Mishandling Economy. See The Video.
The five-term senator slammed as “nonsense” Obama’s claims that the Republicans’ economic plan would result in dirtier air, dirtier water and fewer people with health insurance. “I respect the president’s proposals, I don’t agree with them because there are fundamental, philosophical differences.
“I just wish he would be a little more respectful of ours.”
“The president obviously believes that the government creates jobs. We believe that businesses create jobs so we should help businesses do that – have the government assist them,” he said.
Obama’s economic proposals have failed, McCain said. “When they passed the first stimulus bill … they predicted millions of jobs would be created, that maximum unemployment would be 8%, that, you know, we would be on the path to recovery – in fact, I believe it was last summer they called the Summer of Recovery: That obviously hasn’t been the case.
“So what we’re urging the president, instead of trying the same old tax, spend and borrow, is that he looks at some of our proposals which would get our fiscal house in order and create jobs throughout this country.”
McCain said the Republican race for the right to challenge Obama is still wide-open. “The one thing I can assure you of is there are a lot of ups and downs between now and when we choose the nominee.
“I would remind you that in 2007 at this particular time, McCain’s name wasn’t even on the list of contenders, so a lot of things can happen and there can be a lot of surprises and twists and turns and that’s how it should be.
“And watch the voters of New Hampshire,” he cautioned. “They’re always very, very, very late in making up their minds. They’ve got to meet the candidate two or three times before they decide.”
McCain was speaking the day after a televised debate turned nasty with personal attacks flying between GOP candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum.
He urged the rivals not to get too heated in future debates. “You’ve got to be very careful when you’re up there, when you’re frustrated by the verbal attacks of the others on the stage, that you don’t blow your cool. You’ve always got to maintain a level of steady strength.”
But he said he is confident “that the candidate we select will be sworn in as president of the United States in January of 2013.”
McCain said he is “intrigued” by the Occupy Wall Street protests. “Some of the things they advocate are probably not in the realm of reality, but there is something there,” he said.
“We have seen Wall Street do well. They’ve got trillions of dollars in bailout money, they’re making record profits, they have high bonuses for their executives, and, meanwhile, on Central Avenue in Phoenix, things are terrible.
“Maricopa County, that’s the largest county in Arizona, has the highest number of empty homes in America, as I recall it’s 263,000 homes. So you can see why there’s anger out there when they see Wall Street doing well.
“So, I understand some of the … anger. But I can also say that I watch the unions and others exploit the situation.
“I never support breaking laws, I don’t think that that’s appropriate in our society, and I would remind you that I never saw the tea partiers break laws.
"They were always respectful of lives and property of others and … if the tea partiers had been behaving the way these people have been behaving, you would have seen quite a bit more criticism out of the media.”
McCain, who was held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam for five years said he respects Israel’s right as a sovereign country to agree to the prisoner swap which saw the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit, but he said it could cause bigger problems in the future.
“The next time an Israeli soldier is captured, the price will be extremely high,” he warned. “I’m grateful that that this young man was able to come home, I’ve met a couple of times with his family when I was in Jerusalem.
“But I respectfully say that you have to be concerned about the next time that an Israeli member of the military is taken captive, what kind of price the enemy will exact,” he said.
“I happen to personally think that it could be a dangerous policy to pursue. “
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