After the third question from an audience member and the ensuing discussion, wherein the candidates discussed their possible choices for Treasury Secretary and McCain declared war on Chicago planetariums, Tom Brokaw asked them a new question, about their priorities for their first year in office:
There are new economic realities out there that everyone in this
hall and across this country understands that there are going to have
to be some choices made. Health policies, energy policies, and
entitlement reform, what are going to be your priorities in what
order? Which of those will be your highest priority your first year
in office and which will follow in sequence?
MCCAIN: The three priorities were health…
BROKAW: The three — health care, energy, and entitlement
reform: Social Security and Medicare. In what order would you put
them in terms of priorities?
MCCAIN: I think you can work on all three at once, Tom. I think
it’s very important that reform our entitlement programs.
My friends, we are not going to be able to provide the same
benefit for present-day workers that we are going — that present-day
retirees have today. We’re going to have to sit down across the
table, Republican and Democrat, as we did in 1983 between Ronald
Reagan and Tip O’Neill.
Maybe that’s where bin Laden is. Across the aisle! Or under the table or something.
I know how to do that. I have a clear record of reaching across
the aisle, whether it be Joe Lieberman or Russ Feingold or Ted Kennedy
or others. That’s my clear record.
Okay, whatever, moving on:
We can work on nuclear power plants. Build a whole bunch of
them, create millions of new jobs. We have to have all of the above,
alternative fuels, wind, tide, solar, natural gas, clean coal
technology. All of these things we can do as Americans and we can
take on this mission and we can overcome it.
Millions and millions of jobs. Because this is America! Clap louder! Okay, what’s next?
MCCAIN: My friends, some of this $700 billion ends up in the
hands of terrorist organizations.
wha…? Huh? Health care, energy, entitlement reform…terrorism? WTF? Ummkay, well, I guess he’ll explain?
As far as health care is concerned, obviously, everyone is
struggling to make sure that they can afford their premiums and that
they can have affordable and available health care. That’s the next
Or not. Notice he doesn’t say we can do anything or overcome or solve it. Just “everybody’s in trouble, it’s expensive, and it sucks.”
But we can do them all at once. There’s no — and we have to do
them all at once. All three you mentioned are compelling national
Especially that bailout for terrorists. Grandpa’s gonna get right on that one.