By Jessica Lee & Steve Campbell
Illustration by Cody Angell
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday January 28, 2003
Arizona Senator John McCain recently took time out of his schedule to be interviewed by the Arizona Daily Wildcat. A wide variety of topics were discussed, ranging from the UA to world issues. What follows is the interview in its entirety.
Wildcat: What would you consider the most important issue on a college campus today?
Sen. McCain: The ability to provide every qualified American with a quality education.
Wildcat: With your experience, what approach would you take when addressing the student body at the University of Arizona during a time of war?
Sen. McCain: I would explain that in the post Cold-War era, there are new threats that threaten our American way. Sometimes, this requires the expenditures of blood and treasures.
Wildcat: What is your position on affirmative action in regard to college admissions?
Sen. McCain: I support economic affirmative action, no matter what their ethnicity. Their consideration for aid should be based on their economic background. Clearly, that would mean that African-American and Hispanics would get the majority of the help.
Wildcat: Do you plan to work with Congressman Raśl Grijalva on solving issues surrounding medical care for illegal aliens crossing the border into Arizona? If so, what would you propose as a solution?
Sen. McCain: We have recently sent a letter to the President requesting the inclusion in his budget of funds to be used to repay these costs. I plan on holding a hearing with colleagues from my committee in about two weeks in order to educate them on the severity of the problem.
Wildcat: What type of plan would you support to secure the Arizona border with Mexico?
Sen. McCain: I plan on working with Asa Hutchinson, the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security. With this being his primary responsibility, I plan on visiting the border area with him in order to show him first-hand the challenges of this responsibility.
Wildcat: When would this visit take place?
Sen. McCain: It'll be within the next two months.
Wildcat: Would you be working with Gov. Napolitano on this issue?
Sen. McCain: I will, of course, work with Gov. Napolitano, but this is a federal mandate and therefore, must be solved in Washington.
Wildcat: Would you support a guest worker program between the United States and Mexico in which Mexican citizens could work in the United States, pay taxes, and get employer-offered health insurance?
Sen. McCain: I am committed to that proposal. And until we have a program like this, this problem will never go away.
Wildcat: Are you currently working on any legislation in regard to immigration policy?
Sen. McCain: I am currently having ongoing discussions with Latino organizations regarding this issue.
Wildcat: Do you foresee any potential changes in President Bush's cabinet during the next presidential administration, should he be re-elected?
Sen. McCain: Yes, there is always going to be changes. There's no telling what those changes will be at this time. No one expected the Treasury Secretary to leave as soon as he did.
Wildcat: Would you support the appointment of an anti-abortion Supreme Court Justice if a seat were to become vacant?
Sen. McCain: Yes, I would, but we're talking about a hypothetical situation. Judges never state opinions when nominated. They never take a position on any issues.
Wildcat: Is there any merit to the increasing rumor that you would consider switching to the Democratic Party?
Sen. McCain: None. I am proud to be in the same party that great Americans like Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt were in. They were great presidents, with great principles. What I want to do is bring the Republican party in line with those principles.
Wildcat: Whom do you consider the most formidable Democratic presidential candidate? Why?
Sen. McCain: All of them. At this stage, it's really too early to tell. Candidates are made through the primary process and right now, you just can't judge who will make it past the primary. They are all capable candidates. I know (Senators) Edwards, Kerry and Lieberman very well, but I can't predict who will be the candidate for the Democratic party.
Wildcat: Assuming that we go to war, how long would you predict the war to last? Do you see Saddam Hussein potentially going into exile or being assassinated by his own people?
Sen. McCain: To answer your first question, three weeks. As for your second question, unfortunately, I think it's highly unlikely that he'll step down or be taken out by his own people. He's a great survivor.
Wildcat: What is your reaction to these U.S. citizens who are going to Iraq to act as human shields in protest of the potential war?
Sen. McCain: I respect their right to do so. I don't believe that it's an act of treason, but I certainly don't admire them either.
Wildcat: Will the United States get involved in any way in an attempt to end the current crisis in Venezuela?
Sen. McCain: Possibly, but only through some form of mediation or offer of assistance. I don't believe we'll get involved militarily.
Wildcat: Would you consider another run at the presidency? What about vice president?
Sen. McCain: It's highly unlikely. I have no interest in being the vice president. The vice president has only two duties. He presides over the Senate and casts the deciding vote in case of a tie. And, he inquires daily as to the health of the president. I have no desire to do either of those duties. I would be more effective in the formation of public policies as a senator.
Wildcat: When Congress is in recess, what do you do to relax?
Sen. McCain: I like to travel. I like to spend time with my family doing things like hiking or barbecuing. Sometimes, we go to Oak Creek in Sedona. I think it's the most beautiful place on earth.
Wildcat: What is your most memorable moment as a U.S. Senator?
Sen. McCain: It's definitely the passage of the Campaign Finance Reform Bill after seven years of working on it.
Wildcat: Do you follow the UA basketball team? Any predictions?
Sen. McCain: I follow them very closely. I am convinced that they will be national champions. Lute Olson is the greatest coach in America.