Transcript: Sen. John McCain

MCCAIN: Obviously, I want to see the details of it. But we also have to enact some fundamental reforms about the way we do business. The system, now, cries out for reform: elimination of earmarks and pork barrel spending, which have led to corruption, as we all know; a budgetary system that really works; examination of the agency of government to find out whether they are doing what they were designed to do; defense procurement reform. Defense spending, as far as cost overruns, of major weapons systems is completely broken. There's so many areas. We also need -- this is an opportunity, not only to create those jobs, but this is an opportunity for us to clean up the system. The American people -- what's the approval rating of Congress? What's the right track/wrong track numbers? What are -- the American people want not only change in creation of jobs and fixing the economy; they want that very badly, but they also want us to fix the way we do business.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So is there an element of a bargain, here? I know you met with President-elect Obama...

MCCAIN: Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... right after the election.

MCCAIN: Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: His aides have talked about a commission on corporate welfare. He's talked about spending reform -- defense procurement reform. Did he indicate to you that he was willing to sign on to some of that?

MCCAIN: He has indicated to me clearly that he's wiling to work with me and others, not just with me but with others to fix this broken system. Look, we've already laid a $10 trillion debt on future generations of Americans. And, yes, we have to stimulate our economy. No one wants another Hoover experience. But at the same time, we've got to look at the long-term consequences of the need for -- of the lack of reform. And, also, Social Security and Medicare are two of those that we all know, with $40 trillion in Medicare and $6 trillion, or $8 trillion, whatever it is, in Social Security. We have to fix those as well.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And...

MCCAIN: If we're really going to have change, it means system change, not just a short-term attack on our immediate economic difficulties. Because one of the reasons we're in the ditch we're in because of the way we've been doing business.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But to be clear...

MCCAIN: Sure.

STEPHANOPOULOS: ... and President-elect Obama has also said he wants to deal with the deficit in the long term, but he said, just last week, in the short term, we can't worry about the deficit, because we have got to get this investment into the economy right now. Are you willing to sign on to a stimulus package in January?

MCCAIN: I'm wiling to sign on to a package that will help our economy get fixed. But we also can -- you know, they're not inseparable. In other words, we can stimulate the economy and get people back to work and create jobs and keep people in their homes, which, by the way, we have failed to do. That was the initial intent, or mission, of the -- of the bailout package.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You think it should be used to help home owners facing foreclosure?

MCCAIN: Absolutely, absolutely. But, second of all, we can, at the same time, put in long-term budgetary fixes and reforms to Medicare and Social Security and reforms, as far as defense procurement and out-of-control spending. We could do that at the same time. There will never be a greater opportunity...

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