Transcript: Gibson Interviews John McCain

GIBSON: Your wife said she was offended when he said, "It's not that John McCain doesn't care. It's because he doesn't get it." Do you feel the same?

MCCAIN: Family members are always very sensitive and we all know that. This is a tough business that we're in. Everybody understands that. And I admire and respect Sen. Obama and we're going to have a very tough campaign. I understand that and I'm sure that everybody in my family does, too.

GIBSON: Serious reaction to this statement: "John McCain says he'd follow bin Laden to the gates of hell, but he won't even follow him to the cave where he lives."

MCCAIN: Well, look, President Clinton [had] opportunities to get Osama bin Laden. President Bush had opportunities to get Osama bin Laden. I know how to do it and I'll do it. And I understand and I have the knowledge and the background and the experience to make the right judgments.

Sen. Obama does not. He was wrong on Iraq. He underestimated Iran. He has no knowledge or experience or judgment. That's -- he doesn't know how -- how the world works nor how the military works.

I do and I can lead and I'll secure the peace.

GIBSON: And it's the first time I've had a chance to talk to you since you said about Barack Obama, "He would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign." Do you stand by that? That's a very, very...

MCCAIN: Sure. I mean, it's very clear that he lacks the judgment in order and he went...

GIBSON: It's not judgment you talked about.

MCCAIN: But -- OK.

GIBSON: You made a very declarative statement, "He would rather lose a war."

MCCAIN: And I'll make a very declarative statement that he went to the left of his policy to vote -- of his party, to, and refusing to acknowledge the success of the surge today, no rational observer -- no rational observer would deny that we've succeeded, and he refuses to do so, because he won the nomination by going to the far left of his political base and that was against the war. And that's a fact.

GIBSON: But you didn't say judgment when you said that.

MCCAIN: I'm saying that what he did was motivated by political reasons. He took the position that he did for political reasons to get the far left of his party's support and win the nomination of his party. And now, incredibly, he still refuses to acknowledge that the surge is succeeding.

We just turned over Anbar province to the Iraqis, the bloodiest battleground of the whole Iraq War, and he refuses to acknowledge that. Why is that? It's judgment. It's judgment and it's making sure that he maintains the far left base of his party.

GIBSON: You don't talk much about your family. But you've got all seven of your kids here. How often do all seven of you get -- all seven of the kids see each other?

MCCAIN: On holidays, we all get together and we always find them -- usually, we try to all get together at our place up in northern Arizona...

GIBSON: And is it often all seven can make it?

MCCAIN: Not often all seven, but we certainly get a quorum. So we get together.

GIBSON: Well, but I wonder, what's the best part? Is it receiving the nomination of your party for the presidency or is it having all of the family together?

MCCAIN: I think that it's wonderful that they were all able to rearrange their schedules. Sometimes we haven't been able to do in the past.

GIBSON: Yes. But when pop gets the nomination, that's a big damn deal.

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