October 11th, 2009
09:00 AM ET
5 years ago

GOP needs its own health care reform agenda, McCain says

WASHINGTON (CNN) – As the national debate over health care reform is set to enter a new phase with next week’s scheduled vote in the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, says his party needs to crystallize its own positive agenda for health care reform.

“We Republicans need to come up with our agenda,” the former GOP presidential hopeful says in an interview that airs Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “And we need to do it so that there is a viable alternative to this [legislation in the Senate Finance Committee]. And it has to do with things that are not associated with government-controlled health care in America.

“And there are many, many things we can do - medical malpractice reform, go across state lines to get insurance policies of your choice, refundable tax credits - there's a long list of things that we can and should propose as we enter this debate.”

Asked whether he would vote for the version of health care reform legislation championed by finance committee chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, if it came to the Senate floor, McCain said he would have to wait and see what the final Senate version of reform legislation looks like.

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Filed under: GOP • Health care • John McCain • State of the Union
October 11th, 2009
09:00 AM ET
5 years ago

In war, McCain warns against 'an error of historic proportions'

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain said any added military deployment in Afghanistan less than the 40,000 troops reportedly requested by the top U.S. commander in that war-torn land “would be an error of historic proportions.”

When asked by CNN Chief National Correspondent John King whether he thought the war in Afghanistan could be won with less than the troops said to be requested by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, McCain replied frankly in an interview that airs Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“I do not,” said McCain, who was defeated by President Obama in the 2008 presidential election.

“And I think the great danger now is a half-measure, sort of a - you know, try[ing] to please all ends of the political spectrum,” McCain also told King. “And, again, I have great sympathy for the president, making the toughest decisions that presidents have to make, but I think he needs to use deliberate speed.”

“I think to disregard the requirements that has been laid out and agreed to” by Central Command head Gen. David Petraeus and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen “would be an error of historic proportions,” McCain said when asked whether 10,000 or 20,000 additional troops in Afghanistan would suffice.

In making the case for a surge strategy like the one he fiercely advocated in Iraq when President Bush was in office, McCain urged President Obama “to act with deliberate speed” in pondering his next steps in Afghanistan.

“Admiral Mullen and General McChrystal and General Petraeus have said the situation is deteriorating. Just over the last several days, as you know, week or so, we've lost 10 more brave young Americans. And the longer we delay the decision, the longer it will be before we provide them with what the needed resources are,” McCain says in the interview.

And pointing to the successful surge in Iraq that involved a broad, troop-intensive counterinsurgency strategy, which Petraeus and McChrystal both played roles in, McCain suggested that rather than delay, the president should follow the strategic advice that the two generals have already set out.

“The strategy that was developed by General Petraeus in particular, but also with General McChrystal as his strong right arm, did succeed there [in Iraq],” McCain tells King. “Should we risk going against the advice and counsel of our best and strongest advisers, those we've given the responsibility - as you know, General McChrystal's predecessor was fired by the president because of the confidence that he had in him.
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