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After a long stretch of ultra-negative campaigning, with his numbers still slipping in any number of polls, Senator John McCain has made another U-turn in a rally in Virginia Beach, and now fashions himself as a Rocky character fighting against Washington, Wall Street and an inexperienced tax-and-spend liberal, Senator Barack Obama. Still McCain blames the media for his problems, and still he has to announce his new economic proposals – which seemed to be the initial idea before Obama leapfrogged him early this week.

Story Transcript

McCain takes the Rocky road
Virginia Beach, VA

PEPE ESCOBAR, SENIOR ANALYST, TRNN: Meet the new John “Rocky” McCain.

GOV. SARAH PALIN (R-AK), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hello, Virginia. Thank you so much! Yes, Virginia!

ESCOBAR: This is still country first—literally.

HANK WILLIAMS JR., GUEST MUSICIAN: ♫ I’ve got a shotgun, a rifle, and a four-wheel drive/And a country boy can survive.♫

ESCOBAR: And the serenader is still a top saleswoman.

PALIN: To get this economy back on the right track, we need John McCain’s economic plan. We will balance the federal budget by the end of our term.

ESCOBAR: With brand new slogans.

PALIN: You’re right: drill, baby, drill, and mine, baby, mine. See, as a senator, John has confronted the corrupt ways of Washington, and the wasteful spending, and the abuses of power. As president, he’s going to end those once and for all.

ESCOBAR: Quite tricky for McCain-Palin to end abuses of power in Washington when the Alaska troopergate report released last week found that Governor Palin abused her power by violating the Alaska executive branch ethics act.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a plan to protect the value of your home and get it rising again by buying up bad mortgages and refinancing them.

ESCOBAR: The new John “Rocky” McCain would announce his new economic policies, like reducing taxes on investment and maybe cut capital gains taxes. But then he decided to play Rocky against Obama. And then he decided he will offer new economic policies after Obama announced his own.

MCCAIN: I have a plan to hold the line on taxes and cut them to make America more competitive.

ESCOBAR: Some things never change. It’s the true American hero against the tax-and-spend liberal.


MCCAIN: If I’m elected president, I won’t spend nearly a trillion dollars more of your money on top of the $700 billion we just gave the Treasury secretary, as Senator Obama proposes.

CROWD: Boo! Nobama! Nobama!

MCCAIN: My friends, if I’m elected president, I won’t raise taxes on small businesses, as Senator Obama proposes. I won’t concede defeat: I’ll bring our troops home with victory and with honor.


ESCOBAR: And when in doubt, blame the media.


MCCAIN: We have 22 days to go. We’re six points down. The national media has written us off.


MCCAIN: My friends, we’ve got them just where we want them.


ESCOBAR: It was not negative. There was no William Ayers; there’s no Reverend Wright. It looked like McCain and Palin were now totally convinced they’re going to win this election. The crowd was theirs. This is the home of the US Navy. So it was not very difficult to convince the people about their policies, which is: “Vote for us, because otherwise it’s a tax-spending liberal who doesn’t know anything about governing. But there’s an air of deja vu, there’s an air of maybe this is way, way beyond the McCain-Palin ticket, and the absence of negativity maybe reflects that they are a little desperate. They can even try to change the game in these last three weeks, trying to be more positive. But in the end what’s left to them? “Look, I’ve been there, I’ve been everywhere, I’m a war hero, I know everything, and I know how to fix America.”

MCCAIN-PALIN SUPPORTER: I told her, “I came here as an undecided voter, but I’m leaving here—I’m voting for you and John McCain.” And she said, “You made my day today.” And here it is. Here it is. She signed my—.


MCCAIN-PALIN SUPPORTER: Obama, he’s young, for one, inexperienced. He’s very eloquent, and sometimes I believe his eloquence turns him into perhaps too charismatic a person and an arrogant one.

MCCAIN-PALIN SUPPORTER: Also, he has promised so much that he can’t afford it, because they’re not going to raise taxes. Taxes kills America.


MCCAIN-PALIN SUPPORTER: John McCain would not have been my first choice, but I do think that Obama is more socialistic.

MCCAIN-PALIN SUPPORTER: My opinion, from everything logically and rationally that I can put together, Obama does not represent me. And above all, Obama does not represent me, because he believes in pro-choice, pro-life. How can you murder a baby? When does life begin? I’m with John McCain at the moment of conception.

MCCAIN-PALIN SUPPORTER: If we have all of the things they’re talking about as far as, you know, the taxes and all the issues and everything, they’re not going to mean anything if we don’t have this country protected.

MCCAIN-PALIN SUPPORTER: I believe that McCain has had the depth of experience, and that he knows how to protect us, and he knows what is required in order to keep America safe, because I’ll tell you one thing: if we don’t win the war on terror off of our soil, it will be here. A mall will not be safe to walk in. Driving down the road, there will be IEDs in our own country. I am firmly convinced of this, and I’m not radical—I just know it’s coming.


Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

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Pepe Escobar, born in Brazil is the roving correspondent for Asia Times and an analyst for The Real News Network. He's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, based in London, Milan, Los Angeles, Paris, Singapore, and Bangkok. Since the late 1990s, he has specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central Asia, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has made frequent visits to Iran and is the author of Globalistan and also Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad During the Surge both published by Nimble Books in 2007.