McCain: ‘We’re Not Sending Any Negative Message’

Aug 12, 2008 7:43pm

ABC News’ Teddy Davis and Rigel Anderson Report: In an interview with National Public Radio which is set to run Wednesday on "Morning Edition," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., argued that he is not sending "any negative message" in his White House run.

"We’re not sending any negative message in our campaign," said McCain. "We’re drawing differences in positions between myself and Senator Obama, which are significant. He wants to raise taxes; I want to keep them low. He doesn’t want to drill offshore or have nuclear power; I want both. I’ve never heard Steve Schmidt say we need a negative message in the campaign. …I’ve run many, many campaigns and I have never believed that we need a strong negative message."

McCain defended the tenor of his campaign when asked about a story in The Wall Street Journal that credited recently elevated advisor Steve Schmidt with the philosophy that campaigns need one positive message about the candidate and one negative message about the opponent.

The Arizona senator argued that he is not sending any negative message even though he is running a series of ads portraying Obama as a lightweight whose fame is undeserving.

When asked if his ad blaming Obama for high gas prices is a negative message, McCain pointed to Obama’s vote for the 2005 Bush energy bill which McCain described as having "all kinds of tax breaks and giveaways . . . to the oil companies."

"I believe strongly that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem," said McCain.

Asked if he is comfortable with ads comparing his opponent to Paris Hilton, McCain said, "I’m very comfortable with my campaign and I strongly recommend that people who don’t find humor in that: relax, turn off the computer, and go on out and get some fresh air . . ."

McCain also spoke with NPR about the future of U.S. Russia relations.

"I don’t think that there’s going to be a re-ignition of the Cold War; don’t get me wrong," said McCain.

"I don’t think there’s going to be nuclear-weapons build-ups, etc., but I think that Russian behavior is not acceptable and we will do what we can to maintain our alliances and our friends and make the Russians understand that this kind of behavior is not a part of what we view as the 21st century."

The audio will be posted at approximately 10:00 am ET on Wednesday at www.NPR.org.

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