Arizona Senator and probable 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain jokingly says he would “commit suicide” if Democrats take control of the U.S. Senate in this November’s election.
McCain is in Iowa today (Wednesday), campaigning with GOP Congressmen Steve King and Tom Latham as well as Republican congressional candidate Jeff Lamberti. McCain spoke at a mid-day news conference in Des Moines, where McCain was asked what his reaction would be to a Democratic take-over of the Senate.
“I think I’d just commit suicide,” McCain said, as the Republicans standing beside him burst into laughter. “I don’t want to face that eventuality because I don’t think it’s going to happen…I think it’s going to be tough, but I think we’ll do o.k.” A few moments later McCain turned to Congressman Latham and joked that Latham would probably commit suicide first, as polls suggest control of the House is likely to swing to Democrats in this year’s election.
According to McCain, the current “tenor” of campaigns is too negative and he hopes the courts can help stop new groups called “527s” which are able to skirt campaign contribution limits. “The 527s are pernicious evil that needs to be eliminated,” McCain said. “We have a Federal Elections Commission that will not enforce the law and they are an absolute national disgrace.” McCain said.
McCain was also asked to address foreign policy issues. McCain said Democrats, like fellow Senator John Kerry, were wrong to criticize the Bush Administration in the hours following North Korea’s test of a nuclear weapon. “I think at the time of the crisis, we should probably support the president,” McCain said. “I was disappointed that the Democrats almost immediately started criticizing President Bush’s policies. I thought it was a time we should rally behind the president.”
As for the world’s other hot-spot — Iraq, McCain backs Bush’s recent promise to Iraq’s prime minister that the U.S. will stay as long as it takes to win that war. McCain believes the U.S. should have more troops on the ground in Iraq — and they should be full-time, not part-time, soldiers. “We need a much larger Army and Marine Corps. When you look at the deployment of the Iowa National Guard and the magnificent service they have rendered, it’s really incredible but it’s too much of a strain on the Guard,” McCain said. “You just can’t keep asking our Guard people to go back and back and back.”
McCain, an opponent of the federal tax break for corn-based ethanol, visited an ethanol plant in Nevada early this afternoon. McCain said with “technological improvements” in the production of ethanol, combined with ever-more expensive petroleum, he supports expanded federal spending on research that will benefit the industry, but he still opposes direct subsidies for the ethanol industry.
McCain will be in Ames late this afternoon to tape the MSNBC show “Hardball with Chris Matthews.”