First some notes from his opening:
Pakistan leads the headlines. The Pakistani intelligence services has differences with us going way back.
Mentions the Taliban and ISI and the rise of extremism in Waziristan and other places. Says that Pervez Musharraf is better than the options.
There’s a lot at stake when a nuclear powered nation … I wish that thinks were different… I am a little disappointed with my friend from Georgia Sashavilli. (sp?) The moral of the story is that democracy is tough. … Our founding fathers were right when they said that we were all created equal. And they mean all.
Also mentions the 5k in Ramadi.
The Democrats are going at it again. … They obviously don’t get it. This is a harsh comment, they are obviously more interested in their own political fortunes than anything else.
Finally shows a little humor about his staff.
"I apologize for not having a call last week. I have totally incompetent staff. The work-release programs aren’t what they are cracked up to be."
Jonathan Rick. Should federal law supercede the will of the people on medical marijuana:
When you talk to me about the will of the people, you are talking about the will of a small number of people who are very active… They show up at every town hall meeting … I am not changing my position on medical marijuana.
Dan Nowicki of the Arizona Republic. Asks what Jeff Flake brings to the table in NH and about McCain’s healthcare plan:
Jeff has a national reputation for his fight against earmarks… Going up to the Canadian border to talk about drug reimportation…. My emphasis on keeping costs down, putting more responsibility on the individual and the family on their health care needs. I want every American to have an education, but I am not going to mandate we have one. I want every American to have a home, but I’m not going to mandate you have one. … This is going to be one of the major issues… I look forward eagerly to that debate.
Skip Murphy from Granite Grok. asks about Edwards’ work plan (what plan?):
Are we going to become more like France? Even Sarkozy doesn’t want France to work like France. Who pays? … And I remember back when the surge started, Senator Edwards called it the McCain surge. I’d like him to do that again. … Again in the S-CHIP program there are 2m who we know are eligible, but they are not signed up. Let’s solve that first. …. Ronald Reagan used to say that if you are going to increase services, you are going to have to raise taxes at some time.
Ed Morrissey. "Next time your staff is here, we will beat them senseless until we have weekly calls." Asks for a response to Admiral Fallon’s statements on Iran and US military readiness:
With all respect to Admiral Fallon, we have contingency plans… I am confident that we have some plans to address the situation. I think that the President is correct that we cannot let Iran have a nuclear weapon. … I am very encouraged by President Sarkozy’s leading on this issue. .. I hope that the President’s meeting with Angela Merkel … Their economy is shaky. They have a lousy government. … You cannot remove the statement that Iran cannot have nuclear weapons. …
Ed follows up with a question about democracy programs. McCain responds that we need pro-democracy programs.
Matt Lewis asks about the quiz show and Rudy causing a third party. In the case of a campaign injecting humor, "or are you prepared to make an argument that these things could happen."
It was trying to inject humor. I know it is a little juvenile. … But no, I am not predicting it.
Matt follows by asking about humor, and McCain whacks at CNN over the "b*tch" video.
Craig …. Asks about the new TV ad in New Hampshire.
People are saying that they are outraged by the spending. When you are spending money on Woodstock, and not just that… [lists off a whole bunch of projects, including a "virtual Herbarium, whatever that means"] Senator Clinton is running for business as usual, whereas I want to put business as usual out of business.
Michael Goldfarb from the Weekly Standard. asks about the military and where McCain would have the military if prez.
I have said for years that I would like a larger Army and Marine Corps. … We need more Special forces, seals, civil affairs people, people versed in interrogation techniques, etc…. It is not just money. Stop the wasteful pork-barreling spending in the Defense Appropriations Bill. It is not just a signficantly larger Army and Marine Corps, but a reorganized military to face the threats of Islamic extremism.
Asks a follow up about the grounding of the fleet of F15 and what this means about the F22:
The F15s will be fixed. It happens from time to time because it is an older plane. … The F22 is a fine airplane. … Also have to look at what kinds of wars we are going to be in. … We are going to have to have an intensively re-evaluation of where we are spending our tax-dollars. … Dwight David Eisenhower’s warning about the military-industrial complex was right. … You can see the power of their lobby and the power of their complex.
Leon Wolf from Redstate. With a question about judges. "You are, of course, tied to the fate of campaign finance reform… Would you appoint a a judge would over-turn BCRA?"
Of course. I voted for Roberts and Alito…. I don’t know a single Republican Senator who would vote for the nuclear option. … I am proud of the gang of 14. I am proud of my support for strict constructionist judges. … There was going to be a lot of money spent on ads… Some people were going to make a lot of money in that fight. … If you don’t like the Gang of 14, I am not your man.