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(Final Update) McCain Blogger Call

2:26 PM, Jul 13, 2007 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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McCain is doing a conference call with bloggers right now, here's a few quotes so far:

McCain says he just met Sarkozy--he says Sarkozy is "the first real pro-American I've met since Lafayette."

On progress in Iraq: "In Iraq, we are making progress militarily, we are not making progress politically"

On troubles with the campaign: "On the political side, it's well known to everyone now that we had serious problems in the campaign, I think financial problems, and I'm responsible for those problems and we, I think, are back on track to get our spending in line with our income, which we did not do to state the obvious. The responsibility is mine and mine alone. I'm very sorry that I had to part company with some people that I am very close and dear friends with and who I will remain dear friends with...when people start really focusing, I'll be doing the townhall meetings, kind of face-to-face campaigning that won for us before, and I'm confident that we can do very well. We've got some difficult challenges ahead, but I'm confident that we'll be just fine."

Senators Warner and Lugar have put forth a new proposal to reauthorize the war and put forward some new contingency plans...what are you telling them in terms of your advice in regard to the present plan we have in place?

McCain: "My conversations with them have been largely general...I've not had a chance to examine [this proposal]. When we've talked about the quote reauthorization or deauthorization...Once you authorize the countrie to go to war, it's my firm conviction that you either win the war or you lose the war. And I don't believe we've lost the war. I think we've got enormous challenges, and I think we've made some progress militarily that is important, particularly in Anbar province, but I don't think we are at a point where we have to reauthorize or deauthorize...that is something I would, frankly, have great difficulty joining in on."

Do you have any optimism at all that the current government is going to get Iraq together politically?

McCain: "...I can't help but agree with you that they have not shown the kind of progress that you would think would be in their self-interest. So, all I can say is, I hope maybe that they're staring at the abyss, they realize that this thing cannot succeed without a complete package of progress. So I continue to hold out some hope that they will realize how critical this is to their existence..."

The WWS: "How you doin' Senator?"

McCain: "You know Michael, in the words of Chairman Mao, it's always darkest before it's totally black...(laughing)...just had a very good reception up here in Concord...what I'm hoping is that to some degree, most place they don't care too much about some of the aspects of campaigning as perhaps us political junkies do, so I'm OK."

The WWS: Looking back at the last week in the Senate, do you think that this was a win, and what do you see happening in the Senate next week?

McCain: "I think that we were successful in beating back the amendments, their best shot was the Webb amendment, which sounds very attractive--'this is a relief for our overworked troops, etc., etc.'--but I guarantee you it was also, in my view, one of the most dangerous. Because are we going to have 535 members of Congress deciding how long someone is going to stay in combat? What would have been the vote in the Congress in 1939, or 1940? So I think whenever you succeed in that environment, in beating back the attempts by your adversaries than it's progress and it's heartening. But as you know the really two tough amendments that are coming up are Reid and Levin, which has to do with setting dates for withdrawal and Salazar Alexander which is kind of a motherhood kind of thing, but I'm afraid that if it passed it would be interpreted by the media as a setback for Bush, etc., etc...but I think using the sixty vote criteria we can beat them back. But a lot of things are happening."

How do we hold the Senate with 40 votes if we lose people like Pete Domenici?