Transcript: Gibson Interviews John McCain

And by the way, if you'd talk to the other governors who have worked with her, they're very impressed with her. They all give her very high marks, very high marks.

In the U.S. Senate, Sen. Obama has the most liberal extreme voting record of anybody in the Senate.

Gov. Palin has appointed Democrats, independents. She has reformed their government.

Sen. Obama comes from the old Chicago machine politics and has never taken on the special interests in his party on a major issue ever. She's taken them on time after time. That's what Americans want.

GIBSON: It says "Country First" all over the convention hall, as you'll see when you go in there tomorrow night, probably seen pictures of it, it says "Country First."

You can assure people you made this decision based on the idea of country first as opposed to a political decision to solidify the base of the party.

MCCAIN: I can look the country in the eye and say this is a person who will bring change to Washington and start working for you and upon your side.

This is what Americans want. They don't want somebody who has -- who is, frankly, necessarily gone to Harvard or an Ivy League school. She probably hasn't been to a Georgetown cocktail party.

But you know what? She represents everything we want to see in government and America -- change and reform and ethics and taking on the special interests.

That's what people want today. That's what she has to offer. And I'm telling you, Charlie, I believe, I am convinced -- if I'm convinced of anything, tonight's performance, I think, will convince a lot of Americans and a lot of this other stuff's going to go away immediately.

GIBSON: Let me ask you about issues.


GIBSON: Earmarks...[Palin] got $27 million in earmarks for her small town. You have talked about them in pernicious terms that you campaign. So why are they OK for them?

MCCAIN: And then she learned that earmarks are bad. I know lots of people that are converts. And then when she became governor, she said, "No more for my state." She said, "We don't want the 'Bridge to Nowhere.'"

She, of course, understood, over time, how terrible and pernicious these earmarks are and how great an evil they are, and I'm glad she took the position that she did, against the old bulls in her own party.

GIBSON: Gave a speech or spoke at a Pentecostal church not long ago, said, "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers," talking about Iraq, "on a task that is from God." "From God." Do you agree?

MCCAIN: I think -- look, I think that they're on a task to try to defeat what Gen. Petraeus and Osama bin Laden have said is a central battleground in our struggle against radical Islamic extremism.

I think that, obviously, that we are facing a transcendent evil of radical Islamic extremism that wants to destroy everything we stand for and believe in and value. I know that's what she was talking about.

GIBSON: She reportedly favors teaching creationism along with evolution.

MCCAIN: I don't want her in a position of power and influence in America because we're talking about jobs that school boards do and other things. We can have differences on various issues. Americans want jobs. They want affordable health insurance. They want an education. They want all the things that are compelling issues to their families today.

GIBSON: Did you watch the Obama acceptance speech?

MCCAIN: I watched excerpts from it, yes, and it was very eloquent.

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