John McCain gave a conference call from Michigan where he had spoken to a Hispanic business group.
He says that the campaign is moving along well. "We have a long, hard slog." He talked about Iraq, and described Petraeus as "convincing enough to give our troops more time." McCain calls on ASEAN to kick Burma out of ASEAN. … Slaughter of Buddhist monks is unacceptable. Had the great honor of my life to meet this person [ Aung San Suu Kyi]. … Thugs running that country."
Jennifer Rubin of Human Events. Says she is asking petty political questions. Asks if he is shifting resources out of Iowa. She also asks about money. McCain responds that he has a "comfortable amount to do what we have to do. … We still have a tough fight in Iowa. … Our plans certainly are to compete in Iowa. We have a lot of work to do in Iowa. … "
Dan Nowicki of McCain Central. Asks if there are any events to commemorate 40th anniversary of McCain being shot down. McCain says that he won’t do anything. The Forrestal fire is more important to him.
James Joyner. Asks about Burma. "Tell the Chinese that they have to stop supporting the Burmese. … Call on ASEAN to through them out. … Asian leaders said that [Burma being in ASEAN] would help democracy, human rights, etc. It hasn’t turned out that way. … They have a lousy economy because they have a lousy government."
Ed Morrissey. Asks about skipping the debate last night. McCain says that he would try to reschedule. Morrissey follows up and asks if we need to reach out more to African Americans. McCain basically says yes.
Jim Geraghty. Asked about the Democrats in Iraq. Why did the top Dem candidates not announce that they would pull out. McCain points out that "we have troops in the Balkans, we have troops in South Korea, We have troops in Okinawa. Americans don’t care about whether there are troops, they care about results. We have troops in Kuwait. … This insurgency is going to be fought for a long time."
Philip Klein. Asks for comments on Hillary Clinton’s baby-bond idea. McCain asks how it can be paid for. "I’d like to give every child $100k, but I’d like to know how to pay for it. … How are we going to pay for it?"
Fausta Wertz. As a Hispanic entrepreneur, how do you propose to reduce the costs. "We have the spending. We have to stop the spenidng. We have to stop the corruption. … Americans no longer trust their government, and we have given them good reason… Katrina, failures in Iraq, corruption. … If we stop the spending, we can go to the American people with clean hands. … I know that the overall impact [isn’t that big] but we need to get the faith back. … Look at the restructing of Congress. Different from Congress, in these townhalls, there has been a tremendous erosion in the trust in government."