A McCain Campaign Teleconference

Steve Schmidt and Jill Hazelbaker from the McCain campaign ran a blogger teleconference today. Here are the notes, not quotes, from the teleconference.

Opening Statement

Next week, we start the Service of America tour where John McCain will be introducing himself to America. We’re announcing that here first.

From here, they gave lots of details about the individual stops.

Q&A Session

Q: Last month, Obama said McCain made some bad choices about the company he keeps. Any comments about Obama, Wright, and in particular, Israel?

A: McCain just got back from Israel. He understands the importance of Israel. Both Democrats are ignoring the statements of the enemy. That is unprecedented in our history. Bin Laden says he will defeat us in Iraq and then will defeat the West in Jerusalem.

Obama is detached from reality. His rhetoric is about a new kind of politics. But, his rhetoric is from the worst sort of old politics.

Q: Is there going to be a serious increase in the size of the military?

A: McCain will talk about this in more detail, but he favors increasing the size of the military.

Q from me: Democrats say that John McCain has been calling Republicans and telling them to oppose the Save Act. True? Also, does he support the Save Act?

A: That is absolutely not true. Heath Shuler may have been hit in the head too many times when he was in the NFL. No answer on whether McCain supports the SAVE Act.

Q: Will McCain be getting rid of Juan Hernandez?

A: McCain says we should secure the border first and go after employers. Then, he wants to have a path to citizenship. Juan Hernandez will support McCain’s positions.

Follow-up question: Isn’t having Hernandez on staff the equivalent of having McPeak onboard with Obama? Doesn’t it cast doubt on his commitment if he has him on staff?

A: John McCain is crystal clear on the issue and his position is his own, not Juan Hernandez’s.

Q: Yesterday, Obama wanted to raise taxes on people making $75k or more and the Capital Gains tax.

A: What Barack said yesterday should send a chill down the spine of Americans. Barack is “very articulate.” But, he thinks everyone over $75k is rich. Barack Obama’s tax increases would tank the American economy.

Q: Any thought to trying to have Lincoln-Douglas style debates with Obama?

A: We love debates. Obama’s rhetoric about McCain is disturbing. His rhetoric says he represents a new type of politics, but he engages in old style smears on a regular basis.

Summary: The thing that really stood out there was immigration, where the McCain campaign says their position is crystal clear, but is actually as clear as mud.

For example, McCain didn’t try to kill the Save Act, but does he support it? No answer. McCain says he wants security first, but would he support any sort of path to citizenship for illegals before securing the border? No answer. Why in the world would he have a “Mexico first” advocate like Juan Hernandez working for him in the first place? No answer. Yes, McCain talks about the issue a lot, but it always involves a lot of tap dancing. In other words, he’s “talking loud and saying nothing.”

It was also interesting to note that the McCain campaign is taking lots of shots at Obama now. Granted, they’re substantive shots, but it’s surprising to hear McCain going after a Democrat after playing pattycake with them for so long. Obama must have finally gotten on McCain’s nerves with all the cheap shots he has been taking at him.

PS: Also, Steve Schmidt referred to Barack as “articulate.” There’s nothing wrong with that, but you have to wonder if there will be liberals calling for his head by the end of the day because they think it’s such an “insult” to call an articulate black man “articulate.”

Update #1: Amanda Carpenter writes about the teleconference here with a particular focus on the immigration questions.

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