John McCain in 2007 GOP primary debate at Ronald Reagan library


On Abortion: Supports repealing Roe v. Wade

Q: Would the day that Roe v. Wade is repealed be a good day for America?

ROMNEY: Absolutely.

BROWNBACK: It would be a glorious day of human liberty and freedom.

GILMORE: Yes, it was wrongly decided.

HUCKABEE: Most certainly.

HUNTER: Yes.

THOMPSON: Yes.

McCAIN: A repeal.

GIULIANI: It would be OK to repeal.

TANCREDO: After 40 million dead because we have aborted them in this country, that would be the greatest day in this country’s history when that, in fact, is overturned.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

On Abortion: Supports federal funding of embryonic stem cell research

Q: Would you expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research?

A: I believe that we need to fund this. This is a tough issue for those of us in the pro-life community. I would remind you that these stem cells are either going to be discarded or perpetually frozen. We need to do what we can to relieve human suffering. It’s a tough issue. I support federal funding.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

On Budget & Economy: Congress spends money like a drunken sailor

We lost the election in 2006 because we lost our way. We began to value principle over power, and spending got out of control. Spending lurched completely out of control. Ronald Reagan used to say, we spend money like a drunken sailor. I never knew a sailor, drunk or sober, with the imagination of the Congress. I received an e-mail recently from a guy who said, “As a former drunken sailor, I resent being compared to members of Congress.”
Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

On Budget & Economy: Veto all pork-barrel bills and announce pork spenders

Q: How will you be different, in any way, from Pres. Bush?

A: I would have vetoed spending bill after spending bill after pork-barrel project after pork-barrel project, in the tradition of President Reagan. The first pork-barrel bill that crosses my desk, I’m going to veto it and make the authors of those pork-barrel items famous all over America. We’re going to stop it.

Q: What specific programs would you cut if you were president?

A: Line-item veto is the best tool. We need it very badly.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

On Education: Believes in evolution, but sees the hand of God in nature

Q: Do you believe in evolution?

McCAIN: Yes.

Q: I’m curious, is there anybody on the stage that does not agree, believe in evolution?

[TANCREDO, HUCKABEE, and BROWNBACK raise their hands, indicating that they do not believe in evolution].

McCAIN: I believe in evolution. But I also believe, when I hike the Grand Canyon and see it at sunset, that the hand of God is there also.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

On Homeland Security: Clean up waste in defense acquisition

Q: What specific programs would you cut if you were president?

A: Line-item veto is the best tool. We need it very badly. There are a whole variety of programs that need to be cut, & I would start in cleaning up defense acquisition. The cost overruns associated with the purchase of our weapons systems is completely out of control. There’s a $160 million combat ship that is now $400 million. We’ve got to get that under control first. Let’s stop the pork- barrel spending; then we’ll go at programs.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

On Immigration: Change rule barring immigrants from running for president

Q: Should we change our Constitution to allow men like Mel Martinez, born in Cuba, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, born in Austria, to stand here some night as candidates for president?

HUNTER: We haven’t seen his endorsement yet. That’s a no.

GILMORE: No, I want to amend this Constitution in a variety of different ways, and this would be not a good start to do it that way.

McCAIN: He and I have many similar attributes, so I have to seriously consider it.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

On Immigration: Comprehensive reform requires temporary worker program

TANCREDO: The issue of immigration reform and what’s going to happen to this country unless we deal with this forthrightly--no more platitudes, no more obfuscating with using words like, well, I am not for amnesty, but I am for letting them stay. That kind of stuff has got to be taken away from the political debate, as far as I’m concerned, so people can understand exactly who is where on this incredibly important issue.

McCAIN: We’ve been working very hard for a couple of months with Democrats and Republicans, led by the president and his Cabinet, to come up with a comprehensive solution and resolution of this terrible problem of illegal immigration. One thing we would all agree on, the status quo is not acceptable. We have to secure our borders. But we also need a temporary worker program, and we have to dispose of the issue of 12 million people who are in this country illegally. This issue needs to be addressed comprehensively.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

On Tax Reform: New tax cuts account for contingencies and over-spending

Q: You now support extending President Bush’s tax cuts. But you originally voted against them?

A: Because in the proposal that I had, there were significant tax cuts. And the thing that bothered me was that there was no provision to start addressing a contingency. We had a contingency called the Iraq war. And we had no restraint on spending. Yes, these tax cuts needs to be made permanent. Otherwise they will have the effect of a tax increase. But spending is destroying the future of this country.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

On Tax Reform: Alternative minimum tax is eating Americans alive

Q: In addition to the Bush tax cut, name a tax you’d like to cut.

A: The alternative minimum tax is obviously eating Americans alive, and it’s got to be repealed. Another one I think is important is a $3,000 tax credit for people to be able to purchase health insurance. So low-income Americans will have access to health care, which is an amazing and difficult problem today. And a simpler, flatter, fair tax so that Americans don’t have to spend $140 billion to prepare their tax returns.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

On Technology: Special interest influence corruptly took HDTV frequencies

Q: You said you wouldn’t put up with having police and fire radios on different frequencies?

A: I was talking about the fact that the special interests have kept the spectrum, which the American people are supposed to have and our first responders are supposed to have--we gave the broadcasters high definition television. In return, they were supposed to give a spectrum that was going to be reserved for the first responders. Again, the special interest influence prevailed over the public’s interest.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

On Technology: FactCheck: Special interests only delayed HDTV transfer

McCain blamed “special interests” for hogging radio frequencies. Actually, that issue was settled in the last Congress, & emergency responders are scheduled to get the space by Feb.2009.

It is true there has been a delay. A decade ago Congress set 2006 as the deadline for broadcasters to give up the vast swaths of frequency space they now use to send programs by old-fashioned analog technology & start using different frequencies & more modern digital technology exclusively.

But McCain oversimplifies when he blames “special interests” for the delay. While it is true that broadcasters were in no rush to give up their analog channels, they had good reason: As recently as two years ago 21 million US households still relied exclusively on analog sets and would have been unable to receive TV programs without the purchase of a converter box. The truth is that other “special interests” helped push through the legislation McCain favored. These included Motorola and other electronics manufacturers.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library May 3, 2007

On War & Peace: War has been mismanaged, but we are now on the right track

Q: What would you need, as commander in chief, to win the war in Iraq?

A: I would need the support of the American people. I would need to be able to show them some success in Iraq, both on the battlefield as well as with the government. We have a new general; we have a new strategy. That strategy can succeed. But when the majority leader of the US Senate says we’ve lost the war, then who won? Did al Qaeda win? When on the floor of the House of Representatives they cheer--they cheer!--when they pass a withdrawal motion that is a certain date for surrender, what were they cheering? Surrender? Defeat? We must win in Iraq. If we withdraw, there will be chaos; there will be genocide; and they will follow us home.

Q: Do you need anything, beyond what the president has now, to win the war?

A: Now I think it’s on the right track. The war was terribly mismanaged. The war was terribly mismanaged and we now have to fix a lot of the mistakes that were made. But we have a new strategy and a new general.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

On War & Peace: Iran is sponsor of terrorism; US strike if they get nukes

Q: Has Iran already committed acts of war?

A: Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. We all know that. Iran continues their efforts to build nuclear weapons. Iran is now exporting lethal IEDs & jihadists and suicide bombers into Iraq, killing American soldiers. The Iranians encouraged Hezbollah to attack Israel from Lebanon recent. Iran poses one of the greatest threats to the security of the world, and in the Middle East. We have to work together. If the Russians & the Chinese are not helpful to us, then we had better figure out a way to put additional pressures, encouraging democracy and freedom within Iran.

Q: What’s your tripwire for a U.S. strike in Iran?

A: My greatest fear is the Iranians acquire a nuclear weapon and give it to a terrorist organization. And there is a real threat of them doing that. The trip wire is that if they acquire these weapons. But I want to emphasize, there’s lots of additional efforts that can be made and must be made before we consider that option.

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

On War & Peace: Follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell

Q: When speaking about Osama bin Laden last week, Gov. Romney said, “It’s not worth moving heaven and Earth, spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.” Sen. McCain called that naive. Who’s right?

GILMORE: We have to do everything that we can do to get this guy, because he is a symbol to the people who believe that they have a duty to destroy Western civilization.

ROMNEY: Of course we make sure bin Laden pays for the outrage he exacted upon America.

Q: Can we move heaven and earth to do it?

ROMNEY: We’ll move everything to get him. But this is not all about one person, because after we get him, there’s going to be another. But he is going to pay, and he will die.

McCAIN: Osama bin Laden is responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent Americans. He’s now orchestrating other attacks on the United States of America. We will do whatever is necessary. We will track him down. We will capture him. We will bring him to justice, and I will follow him to the gates of hell

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

The above quotations are from 2007 GOP primary debate, at Ronald Reagan library in Simi Valley California, hosted by MSNBC and politico.com, May 3, 2007.
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