Monday, October 20, 2008

McCain Criticizes Obama's Economic Plan and Claims Mickey Mouse is a Republican.

I first met Arizona Senator John McCain in 2006 during a Heather Wilson campaign rally at a local VFW post. Then, this summer I was invited to join him, along with four other local reporters, on his Straight Talk Express bus, for a 20-minute Q&A session in July as he traveled from the airport to his hotel.

In September, I ran into him again at El Pinto when he only had time to say a simple "hello." After he chose a mix of both red and green chile, and paid for Sarah and Todd Palin's first few jars, I told him to feel free to call me in the middle of October to give me an update on his campaign. John McCain agreed to do it. Boy was I surprised when he did. Actually, I'm not surprised. He's definitely a man of his word.

On Sunday afternoon, after former General Colin Powell endorsed Democrat Barack Obama, and while Sarah Palin was addressing a crowd of nearly 10,000 in Roswell, I got a call from campaign staffers that the Republican nominee wanted to talk to me and had time set aside for Monday morning, with just 15 days until the election.

As I prepared for the interview, I checked the polls, and realized he still trails Obama in New Mexico by 7-14% percentage points (depending on which poll you read), and I wondered if he had any regrets during his campaign, especially saying, "the economy is fundamentally sound," or picking an unknown, untested, but conservative, running mate. Certainly every question has been asked. I would simply try to find out what he needs to do to persuade New Mexicans to shift gears and cast a vote for him.

McCain's national press secretary Brooke Buchannan, who've you've read about on this blog here and here, called me right on time. After a few kind words with Brooke, and no mention of the brief interview with Sarah Palin, that almost got me kicked out of an earlier press pool, Mr. McCain was ready to talk.

We discussed the economy, voter registration fraud, western issues, solar and nuclear power, and a possible trip back to New Mexico before election day. This is the interview that aired on 770KKOB this morning:

McCain ends the interview promising to return to New Mexico soon. He did not give any date. Meanwhile, we've called the Obama campaign to offer them equal airtime, but have not heard back from them.

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