Transcript: Gibson Interviews McCain

The following is an excerpted transcript of ABC News' Charles Gibson's interview with John McCain on the final days of the campaign, for "World News With Charles Gibson" in Hanoverton, Ohio, Oct. 31, 2008.

GIBSON: Senator, everybody's focused on Nov. 4.

MCCAIN: Yes. Understandably.

GIBSON: I wonder how much thought and planning you've given to Nov. 5 and what begins then.

MCCAIN: Yeah, I've thought about it and I've talked to my advisers about it. And we lay out a tentative kind of thing. But, frankly, Charlie, Americans don't like for you to measure the drapes. They want you to win first. And that's why we have a period of time between the election and the inauguration. So, of course, I think about it. But for me to start picking my chief of staff or that kind of stuff is something we've got plenty of time for.

But, clearly, I know what the challenges are and I know how to meet them.

GIBSON: Well, there's two scenarios. There's a win scenario and a lose scenario.

MCCAIN: Uh-huh.

GIBSON: So let's talk about both.

GIBSON: There are two scenarios in this. There's a win scenario and a lose scenario. So let's talk about both and start with winning.

MCCAIN: Let's not talk much about the other one.

GIBSON: OK, all right, we won't. But if you win, the overwhelming odds are that you'll face a heavily Democratic Senate and House.

MCCAIN: Uh-huh.

GIBSON: So how does a President-elect McCain reach out to the Democrats and transition from the campaign phase to the government phase?

MCCAIN: What I've done for almost a quarter of a century. I reach across the aisle. I'll sit down with the Democrats, and we will revolve these challenges that face America. My whole record, working with Ted Kennedy or Russ Feingold or Joe Lieberman or Byron Dorgan or Carl Levin -- I have worked across the aisle. And, of course, we've had spirited discussions and, of course, we've had ideological differences, but I have worked and achieved the legislative results that, frankly, are higher than anybody in the U.S. Senate.

And I'm proud of that record. And I saw Tip O'Neill and Reagan sit down together in 1983 and fix Social Security, at least for 20 or 25 years. Now, we have to fix it again.

But there are models for this scenario. And one of them was Ronald Reagan, a very principled conservative that knew how to sit down with the Democrats and work together.

GIBSON: Practical matter. Harder for a President-elect or President McCain to govern than a President Obama?

MCCAIN: I don't think so. I think I have a long record of working with these people. I have a long record of reaching across the aisle. And I have a long record of accomplishment. Look, there are some people on the other side of the aisle and maybe a couple on my side of the aisle that are not personally close to me. But they respect me. And that's what it's got to be all about.

GIBSON: You said irresponsible to measure the drapes. But do you have in mind a spreadsheet of people that you would bring into a McCain administration?

MCCAIN: Oh, sure. Yeah. Yeah. A long list of these or acquaintances and people that I've known for a quarter of a century, but there's also people who are wise people who may not come into the official position -- Henry Kissinger. Henry Kissinger is a man I've admired and respected ever since the day I came out of prison camp in Vietnam. I call Henry all the time.

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