Transcript: Gibson Interviews John McCain

GIBSON: Senator Obama makes the case he's CEO of a campaign, with a budget, multiple sized the budget of the state of Alaska.

MCCAIN: Sen. Obama, excuse me, has a campaign to run. Gov. Sarah Palin has 24,000 employees in the state government. They are -- she's responsible for 20 percent of America's energy supply.

I'm entertained by the comparison and I hope we can keep making that comparison that running a political campaign is somehow comparable to being the executive of the largest state in America.

That's entertaining.

GIBSON: But as you know, the questions revolve really around foreign policy experience.

Can you honestly say you feel confident having someone who hasn't traveled outside the United States until last year, dealing with an insurgent Russia, with an Iran with nuclear ambitions, with an unstable Pakistan, not to mention the war on terror?

MCCAIN: Sure. And one of the key elements of America's national security requirements are energy. She understands the energy issues better than anybody I know in Washington, D.C., and she understands.

Alaska is right next to Russia. She understands that. Look, Sen. Obama's never visited south of our border. I mean, please.

So she is experienced. She's talented. She knows how to lead and she has been vetted by the people of the state of Alaska. But most importantly, people in America want change. They don't want somebody from inside the beltway.

They want people who will come and stand up for change and do whatever is necessary.

She took on her own party. You'd have to describe to me one occasion where Sen. Obama took on anybody, any powerful interest in his own party.

GIBSON: But you criticized, for a long time, Sen. Obama...

MCCAIN: Sure.

GIBSON: ... based on his lack of experience...

MCCAIN: Sure.

GIBSON: ... in your words...

MCCAIN: Yes.

GIBSON: ... with the foreign policy area. Jan. 6, I'm quoting you, "Sen. Obama does not have the national security experience and background to be president."

MCCAIN: I said he didn't...

GIBSON: Sarah Palin does?

MCCAIN: I said that he didn't have the judgment. He doesn't have the judgment. He didn't have the judgment on Iraq. He still refuses to acknowledge that the surge has succeeded.

Gov. Palin knows the surge has succeeded. She's the commander of the Alaskan National Guard. He said that Iran was a tiny problem. He's never visited south of our border. He has no experience on these issues.

She has been in charge and she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities. Sen. Obama has never had a position of responsibility to do with many of those responsibilities. I'm proud of her vision. I'm proud of her strength. And everybody knows energy is a key element in American strength and future. She knows how to address that issue.

GIBSON: You had many people to consider. Sen. Lieberman, who has spent a lifetime in government.

MCCAIN: Yes.

GIBSON: Gov. Romney, who has had large executive experience. Tom Ridge, who has served in so many different capacities.

And you feel she's more qualified than any of them.

MCCAIN: Of course, I think, overall, she's by far the best candidate. And, again, being governor with an 80 percent approval rating of America's largest state, I think, is a very significant plus.

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