The live interview via satellite occurred six hours after McCain joined the other 39 Senate Republicans in voting against cloture on the Senate version of Democratic health care legislation.
All but two of Stephanopoulos's questions dealt with health care,the other two with Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Transcribed below are Stephanopoulos's agenda of questions, which you'll notice buffet McCain from the left, and/or paint Republicans are the party responsible for keeping the Senate from wrapping up its business until Christmas Eve, even though it is Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) who controls the legislative calendar:
- "So, the Democrats have the votes, Sen. McCain. Why keep on fighting? Why drag this out 'til Christmas?"
- "But the bottom line of this bill, according to the Congressional Budget Office, Senator, is that it covers more than 30 million people and reduces the deficit by more than $100 billion in the first ten years, even more in the second."
- After showing a clip of Sen. McCain from August noting the impact Sen. Kennedy's absence had on the health care debate, Stephanopoulos added, "Vicki Kennedy is now saying this is exactly [emphasis his] the kind of compromise that Ted Kennedy would support, the kind of imperfect but valuable compromise that you worked with him on in the past."
- "Let's talk about bipartisanship a little, because, just about a year ago that you and President Obama, then-President-elect Obama met in Chicago and made this pledge to work together in this first year of his presidency. Yet on issue after issue after issue, you have all been at odds. I know that you think that President Obama bears the majority of the blame for that, but is there anything more you could have done? And can you name an issue next year where you're going to be joined at the hip with President Obama?"
- "One final question, Senator.... You have often said that the only thing worse than war with Iran is a nuclear Iran. Do you hold out much hope that these sanctions can work right now, or is a military confrontation all but inevitable in 2010?"
- [after McCain says he has hope for an internal regime collapse if the United States shows its support for Iranian opposition] "Without military attacks by the United States or Israel?"