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John McCain: Obama lied about public financing

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  • Sen. John McCain appeared on CNN's "Larry King Live" Wednesday
  • McCain: Obama didn't tell the American people the truth about public financing
  • "She has the instincts, she shares my worldview," says McCain about Sarah Palin
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(CNN) -- Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain sat down for an interview with CNN's Larry King on Wednesday.

Presidential candidate John McCain denied that race will determine the outcome of next week's election.

The interview ran after his opponent, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, appeared in a paid television address on several major news and cable networks.

McCain denied that race will determine the outcome of next week's election pitting him against Barack Obama, who hopes to become the country's first black president. He said, "I am totally convinced that 99 and forty-four-one-hundredths percent of Americans are going to make the decision based on who is best to lead this country."

McCain trails Obama by about 7 points in CNN's national Poll of Polls, and is also behind in some polls in must-win states.

King: Are you worried [about the polls]?

McCain: I don't think it's "worried." I think obviously I know we're still the underdog. We're now 2 or 3 or 4 points down. And we've got six days to go to make that up. But it's not a matter of worry, it's just, you know, you and I have been together long enough, you know I love the underdog status. I just want to leave that status at the time the polls close.

King: Sen. Obama had a 30-minute ad buy tonight. It ran right before we went on the air. Does that make it hard for you, the amount of money being spent against you?

McCain: Frankly, what's disturbing about it is that he signed a piece of paper back when he was a long shot candidate. And he signed it, said I won't -- I will take public financing for the presidential campaign if John McCain will. I mean, it's a living document.

He didn't tell the American people the truth. And then twice he looked into the camera when he was in debate with Sen. Clinton and said, "I'll sit down and negotiate with John McCain before I decide on public financing."

Well, he didn't tell the American people the truth. He never had any -- I'm still waiting for the call. Video McCain: Obama lied about public financing »

King: You told me some time ago, like back in February, that what you wanted this race to be was clean. You wanted the race solely based on issues. What happened?

McCain: Well, the first thing that happened is that I asked Sen. Obama urgently and repeatedly to come and do town hall meetings with me the way Jack Kennedy and Barry Goldwater had agreed to do before the tragedy of Dallas intervened.

When you're on the stage with someone, and you're -- every few days, and you're having to talk to the American people directly, that changes the tenor of an entire campaign. You know that, you've seen it, and I've seen it.

So he refused. So he refused to do that. Now the fact is that Sen. Obama now has paid more for negative advertising against me than any presidential campaign in history, in history.

King: And you haven't done that?

McCain: Of course we have run ads that point out his record and also point out his associations. And I still think, you know, we're watching now a major newspaper has a tape that apparently has Mr. William Ayers in it. I don't know if it does or not. That's the allegation.

But that newspaper and their parent, the Tribune Co., and the Obama campaign refuse to release that. Shouldn't the American people know about that? At least they should have full information.

King: Speaking of newspapers, there is The L.A. Times they apparently -- your campaign says that they're suppressing videotape of a 2003 banquet when Barack Obama praised Palestinian activist and scholar Rashid Khalidi. What is this all -- what is this?

McCain: Why shouldn't they ...

King: Why would the paper suppress this?

McCain: I have no idea. If they have the tape, they ought to make the American people aware of it, let them see it and make their own judgment. Frankly, I've been in a lot of political campaigns, a whole lot, I've never seen anything like this, where a major media outlet has information and a tape of some occasion -- maybe it means nothing, maybe it's just a social event, I don't know, but why should they not release it?

And why shouldn't the Obama campaign want it released?

King: Is this Palestinian some sort of terrorist?

McCain: We know that at that time, the PLO was a terrorist organization.

King: He was PLO?

McCain: Yes, yes -- that's what the allegation is, Larry. I haven't seen the tape. So -- but we should see the tape to make it -- the American people make a judgment.

King: Senator, are you hampered, frankly, by the Bush record? Be honest.

McCain: Well, you know, I think that that's a very intelligent campaign tactic on the part of the Obama campaign. Moveon.org a long time ago ran the ads, you know, President Bush and I together. But I think that the American people realize that I'm very different in many ways, whether it be spending, or the conduct of the war in Iraq, or climate change. Or, treatment of prisoners for a number of other issues.

King: Are you ticked, for lack of a better term, about the discord reported between Sarah Palin's camp and your camp?

McCain: No. You know what happens with these things.

First of all, I have about 5,000, quote, "top advisors" that can be quoted by the media. But, we get along fine. Sarah's a maverick. I'm a maverick. No one expected us to agree on everything. Look, I'm going to go up -- you know, I'm against drilling in ANWR, OK? I know that I'm going to have to go up to ANWR [Arctic National Wildlife Refuge] and look at it again after I'm elected because Sarah will drag me up there.

King: You're president of the United States, you're flying over the Pacific between nowhere and nowhere. There's an attack on the United States. How much confidence do you have in a vice president Palin?

McCain: Total. Video McCain: 'Total confidence' in Sarah Palin »

King: Total?

McCain: She has the instincts, she shares my worldview. I would remind you that there was a obscure governor from Arkansas, that not too many years ago -- that gained the presidency.

And he had no national security experience. He would never match up, as much as I love Bush I, with him on national security. We had just won the Gulf War.

Sarah Palin understands these issues. She understands them very well. And frankly, with a lot of conversations that I've had with her, she's incredibly quick study.

King: Concerning spreading the wealth, isn't the graduated income tax spreading the wealth? If you and I paid more so that Jimmy can get some for him, or pay for a welfare recipient, that's spreading the wealth.

McCain: Well, that's spreading the wealth in the respect that we do have a graduated income tax. That's a far cry from taking from one group of Americans and giving to another. I mean, that's dramatically different.

Sen. Obama clearly has talked about for years, redistributive policies. And that's not the way we create wealth in America. That's not the way we grow our economy. That's not the way we create jobs.

King: Obama says that there's a lot he likes about you. What do you like about him?

McCain: Oh, he's inspired a lot of Americans. He's very eloquent.

He's -- I know a good father to his children. He has done a remarkable job in getting people involved in the political process.

King: And you always have.

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McCain: Thank you.

King: John, thank you.

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