John McCain photo

Interview with Carl Cameron of Fox News

August 12, 2008

CAMERON: After rolling his Straight Talk Express bus into a large town hall meeting at the York, Pennsylvania fairgrounds, John McCain said he'd just spoken with the embattled president of the Republic of Georgia.

MCCAIN: I told him that I know I speak for every American when I say to him today we are all Georgians.

CAMERON: Despite the fragile ceasefire, McCain said Russian attacks continue on Georgian targets which include its crucial oil pipeline.

MCCAIN: Yet another reminder -- another reminder that it's time we got serious about our energy crisis and stop sending $700 billion a year overseas to countries that don't like us very much.

CAMERON: In an interview with FOX News Channel, McCain suggested the U.S. did not adequately recognize Russia's threat.

MCCAIN: I'm not sure that we did. Obviously I did and I said they shouldn't stay in the G8. And I said that I thought that Vladimir Putin was most interested in restoring the old Russian empire.

CAMERON: Is that a victory for Moscow, other nations in the area?

MCCAIN: I think it's a setback for democracy.

CAMERON: McCain tried not to blame President Bush for Moscow's aggression but made it clear he disagreed with Bush's friendly attitude toward Putin.

MCCAIN: I don't know if the president "missed the boat," but I do believe that the president probably had a higher opinion of Vladimir Putin than I do.

CAMERON: McCain said the U.S.-Russia relationship will be impacted for years by its invasion of Georgia.

MCCAIN: I'm not saying we are reigniting the Cold War, but this is an act of aggression which we didn't think we'd see in the 21st century.

CAMERON: On vacation in Hawaii, Senator Obama issued a statement quote, "Russia must halt its violation of Georgian airspace and withdraw its ground forces from Georgia, with international monitors to verify that these obligations are met."

McCain pulled his punches on what in the past he's called Obama's naive inexperience on foreign policy.

MCCAIN: I respect Senator Obama's views, and I believe that it's important that we act in a bipartisan fashion now.

CAMERON: But he did push back on Obama's attack ads saying McCain is not a Washington maverick.

MCCAIN: That I was not elected Ms. Congeniality, because I have taken on the powerful old bulls in my own party as well as the other party.

CAMERON: And with time running short before the Democratic and Republican conventions, a decision has still not yet been reached on his running mate.

MCCAIN: They're still going through the process. And I'm not driven by Senator Obama's schedule but it's a very tough thing to do, and I'm working hard at it.

John McCain, Interview with Carl Cameron of Fox News Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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