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Friday, June 13, 2008

The Smerconish vote

Carrie Budoff Brown sends over the transcript of John McCain's interview with the conservative Philadelphia talker, who said in his interview with Obama -- whom he seems to like -- that he "applauded" Obama's tough talk on Pakistan.

The McCain interview didn't go as well:

Pakistan is a sovereign nation and we have to have the cooperation of Pakistan to have these operations succeed," McCain said.

"If you alienate Pakistan and it turns into an anti-American government, then you will have a much greater difficulties," he continued. "Do they do what we want them to do? No. Have they been helpful to us? Yes. Is Musharraf been a friend of ours? He has been. I wish there were better relations Karzai and Musharraf. I wish a lot of things were different in this world. But if you think -- you and I just have an honest disagreement -- if you think we can just get tough on Pakistan and they will do what we want them to do."

Smerconish interrupted: "No, look I am just a guy in your party who is unbelievably frustrated with the current administration because they haven't gotten it done and we are paying a fortune. .... From the outside looking in, it looks like we are paying off people who weren't doing squat to get the job done."

"We have had some success working with the Pakistanis in a low visible fashion," McCain said. "Should they be more helpful? Of couse they shoud be. Should the Saudis be more helpful? Should the Jordanians be more helpful? Should the Egyptians? We are giving billions of dollars a year to the Egytians, as you know, and they should be more helpful. Should the Mexicans be more helpful? Everybody should be more helpful."

"But senator, respectfully, this is where those guys are hiding," Smerconish said. "They are not in hiding in Egypt. They are not in Mexico City. Everybody says they are in northern Waziristan. It just pans me, it really pains me."

"It pains me and I have committed and I have promised that I will get Osama bin Laden when I am president of the United States. But the next time you can go on the Internet and you can look at the countryside and there is a reason why it hasn't been governed since Alexander the Great. They are ruled by about, as my understanding, 13 tribal entities and nobdy has ever governed them," McCain said.

At the end, when Smerconish said his "vote was in play" based on the issue, McCain said: "Well then, I tell ya, my (seeking) the support of the American people is frankly over a lot more issues than that. But I understand how important it is to you."

(h/t Ben Smith)

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