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Interview with Sen. John McCain

Interview with Sen. John McCain

Hannity & Colmes - January 16, 2009

HANNITY: And recently I had the chance to sit down with Senator John McCain just a few days before his old rival Barack Obama is set to be inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HANNITY: What's it like -- maybe you can bring our audience into the world of politics in this sense because I was out on the road with you a number of times.

JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA SENATOR: Yes.

HANNITY: You're going at a frenetic pace, 9,000 miles an hour. Interview to interview, speech to, you know, rally to speech to rally to -- you know, whatever else, sleeping three or four hours a night, eating a lot of junk food.

MCCAIN: Yes.

HANNITY: What is it like when you're going at that pace, and then stops?

MCCAIN: I think it's hard, and I think one of the keys to it I would advise to others who have the misfortune of losing is don't just -- try not to have it come to a complete halt. Try to get engaged and kind of let it come down gradually rather than just complete halt, and so actually, what I did was, I said look, let's start looking at my work in the Senate, the armed service's committee, the economy, all of this, get back and travel the state of Arizona and catch up on all the issues, and that's what I've been doing.

You know, throw yourself back into your work.

HANNITY: Do you think at all -- do you spend any introspective time thinking maybe I should have done that or maybe I could have been a little harder here or there? Do you spend any time doing that?

MCCAIN: Every time I do, and I do on occasion, I remind myself that look, you just did the best that you could and worked as hard as you could, and of course, we made mistakes. You know, one of the things, there'll be a spade of books that will come out, as you know and.

HANNITY: Will you be writing one?

(LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: No. No. No. The winner will have run a perfect campaign and the loser would point out all the mistakes. It's the way that it always is. Maybe it's one of the reasons why those books don't sell very well.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: Although, you know, the "Making of the President" by Teddy White still remains up, and there's another great book called "What It Takes." I'm sure you may have read it. I think it was in `86, `88 -- '84 or `88 campaign. I can't remember.

But anyway, those books will be written, and they'll point out all the mistakes we made, and all the things we did wrong, and all the things we should have done, and that the winner ran a nearly perfect campaign, and I accept that.

HANNITY: When we were on the campaign trail together, and I had the opportunity to interview you a number of times and Governor Palin a number of times, and I got criticized and attacked by Senator Obama a number of times.

MCCAIN: I know, he mentioned you by name.

HANNITY: Yes, he did. He mentioned my name a lot. But I thought the issues of Ayers, Wright, Rezko, some of the controversies -- and I remember when I was interviewing you, and you always were reluctant, you didn't want to go there, and I would leave the interview thinking Senator McCain is a nice guy, but I -- that might hurt his campaign.

Is -- you..

MCCAIN: I understand the viewpoint, but also, I think that the issues that Americans really cared about, in fact, I've gotten a little criticism for not talking more about, although I thought we did, the economy and the economy and the wars that we are in.

A little straight talk. Afghanistan has been going backwards in many respects for several years now, for at least a couple of years. The Taliban is increasing their attacks, the cross-border -- the Pakistan border areas are far less secure. Afghanistan itself has a myriad of problems, we have got to be careful how we wind down in Iraq because we can't lose -- snatch defeat from the jaws of victory here. The economy, we -- know we're in the tank. In other words, I think the challenges that the country faced were so large that Americans wanted me to address those issues.

You see what I mean?

HANNITY: Which is what.

MCCAIN: Yes.

HANNITY: That was conscious choice of your focus.

MCCAIN: Yes. Yes.

HANNITY: I spent time with your wife, I spent time with your daughter, and they're out there championing your cause. What is it like for them when they invest so much.

MCCAIN: It's always hardest on the family. Always hardest on the family. I know that your wife when she sees Sean Hannity get criticism, she takes it harder than you do because you can always.

HANNITY: She usually says they're right. But.

(LAUGHTER)

MCCAIN: You can always respond.

HANNITY: Yes.

MCCAIN: You know, it's always harder on the family members. They always take it harder than the -- than the candidate, but -- I'm so proud of everybody that I was with, I'm proud of Sarah Palin, I'm proud of our team of -- that we had around us. They're my dearest friends, they'll remain my friends, we've forged bonds together that will never be broken. So I -- always try to look at that aspect of it.

HANNITY: Speaking of Governor Palin, do you speak with her often?

MCCAIN: Oh, yes.

(CROSSTALK)

HANNITY: She's still under fire.

MCCAIN: I know.

HANNITY: She's still getting criticized.

MCCAIN: I know.

HANNITY: Do you think it hurt her in any way personally?

MCCAIN: I think it hurt her feelings, of course, you know, particularly a lot of the family stuff. But I think most Americans now, really, most Americans, are moving on. We're moving on.

We've got two severe problems facing us, she's back being governor of the state of Alaska, she's got issues there as you well know, in fact, accommodating to the cut-off of the earmarks and pork barrel spending that used to go to her state.

No, I -- I have great respect and admiration for her and her family.

HANNITY: That was your choice, you're proud of.

MCCAIN: I'm very proud.

HANNITY: Do you think she could be president one day?

MCCAIN: Sure, sure. But I'd also like to point out that it's very early in this whole season.

HANNITY: Are you thinking of running again?

MCCAIN: I was -- no, no, no, but I -- you know, my political corpse is still warm, as you know, but I -- you know, there's going to be, I think, a spirited contest for the nomination of our party, and I think there are also other governors that will be competitive.

People like Bobby Jindal and John Huntsman and Tim Pawlenty and Mark Sanford, and -- you know, there's -- governors now, I think, are going to be -- play -- an enhanced role in the direction of the Republican Party. One reason is because their talent, and another reason is because they govern.

Hannity & Colmes

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