Transcript: Gibson Interviews John McCain

MCCAIN: Well, I'm not sure the American people won't get enough of that in the next 62 days. I think it's more important. And also, as you know, we've got a spectacular running mate here that has really captured America and certainly aroused a great deal of interest. So I'm hoping to do as well as she does tonight.

GIBSON: You said a few moments ago to me, "I'm going to say some things about Barack Obama that might surprise you."

MCCAIN: Well, I've tried to say that I admire and respect Sen. Obama. He has accomplished great things and he has motivated people and so -- and he loves his country, just as I do. It's just the differences that we have.

GIBSON: You mentioned your vice presidential pick, Sarah Palin. What does she need to do to make her case tonight?

MCCAIN: Well, I think Americans are going to be very, very, very pleased. This is a very dynamic person. She's been governor of our largest state, in charge of 20 percent of America's energy supply. She's been a mayor. She's done a lot of great things and so I think you're going to see that she's really going to have a remarkable impact on the American people.

I'm very excited about it. I'm very excited. I mean, this person is going to come to Washington and, I'm telling you, to the "old boy" network, they better look out, because change is coming.

GIBSON: Senator, since I've been following politics, every single presidential nominee has said that the first quality they look for in a vice presidential pick is the capability and the readiness to take over as president.

Can you look the country straight in the eye and say Sarah Palin has the qualities and has enough experience to be commander in chief?

MCCAIN: Oh, absolutely. Having been the governor of our largest state, the commander of their National Guard, she was once in charge of their natural resources assets, actually, until she found out there was corruption and she quit and said it had to be fixed.

Of course, it helps to be a mayor. When I think people compare her experience, in fact, and accomplishments, I think ethics in lobbying reform in a state that was beset by the influence of special interests, cutting taxes, giving the citizens back money.

I mean, she's got an incredible resume, including a beautiful family and a wonderful, loving, caring family. So I will think that, over time, people will compare her accomplishments with that of Sen. Obama, and his are very meager.

GIBSON: But he's been vetted. Nineteen months he's been debating...

MCCAIN: Sure.

GIBSON: ... in front of this country, 18 million times, the primaries people voted for him.

With her, we have your say-so.

MCCAIN: Well, the people of Alaska have vetted her. That's why she has an 80 percent approval rating.

The American people are going to vet her in the next couple of months, as we know, starting tonight. She has a proven record.

And, again, I don't like to make these comparisons. She's had positions of responsibility and authority.

In all due respect to my friend, Joe Biden, he's never been executive of anything nor...

GIBSON: Neither have you.

MCCAIN: ... has Sen. Obama. Oh, I've commanded the largest squadron in the U.S. Navy, with huge responsibilities, many -- it's -- it was a leadership job, but it was also a huge responsibility.

So millions and millions of dollars of American assets and 1,000 men and women who were serving, I think that's enormous responsibility and I'm very proud of it.

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