CROWLEY: Continuing now with Bill's candid interview with Senator John McCain. No one knows better he what it's like to run a campaign against Barack Obama. So, what lessons would he pass on.
O'REILLY: If you had to give Mitt Romney one piece of advice -- or you may have already done this, you would say.
MCCAIN: My advice to him is, the reality is that all these hundreds of millions of dollars of negative ads by Obama, in the most vicious campaign that I've ever observed, has driven up his unfavorables.
And, now, here at the convention, and I'm sure this is going to happen, he's going to have a chance to talk directly to the American people and show the American people what a good and decent person he is, and what a fine family he has.
And that the qualities of the guy -- look, he and I had a tough primary in 2008ish, you know. But I got to like and respect Mitt Romney.
And I think that that part of him has been damaged by this hundreds of millions of dollars of negative attack ads on him, which I don't think is going to work at the end of the day.
But that's his challenge, I think, at the convention. And I'm confident, he'll do it.
O'REILLY: So, you are going to say to him, "You've got to be more personal. You got to get out there. You got to let the folks know who you are in a sincere way. It's not a phony political deal. You got to reveal something of yourself, so they feel more comfortable with you." Am I encapsulating that correctly.
MCCAIN: That is correct. But that is because of this incredible attack --
O'REILLY: No, I know.
MCCAIN: -- yes, attack campaigns that he's faced. But I'm also confident he's doing that. But, now, the eyes of America will be on him when he speaks. And, I think, it's a great idea to have Ann Romney speaking first.
That will rebut a lot of the stuff that you've seen that, you know -- I've never seen anything where an allegation would made that a person is responsible for the tragic death of a person's wife. I mean, you know, this plummets depths that I have not seen before in any political campaign.
O'REILLY: Final question for you. And I would like to have you back before the debates.
O'REILLY: You went one-on-one with Barack Obama. I've done that. He's quick.
He's quick, all right. Now, you underestimate him at your peril. You would agree with that, correct.
MCCAIN: I would totally agree with that. And he also gives a great speech. And, I'm sure, he'll give a great speech at his convention.
O'REILLY: But I'm talking the debate now.
O'REILLY: So, you're up there with him. You say to Mitt Romney, "Look, when you're debating Barack Obama, based on my experience, here's what you have to do to win." What do you say to the governor.
MCCAIN: Take the offense and attack his record. He cannot defend his record. Take the offense and, by the way, Senator Rob Portman is playing Obama in the practice.
I guarantee you, Portman will prepare him. I hate Rob Portman to this day because of him --
-- Obama in our preparation for our debates.
O'REILLY: But you didn't attack Barack Obama's record. You went light on him. You went light on the Reverend Wright stuff.
You went light on his background where he didn't have many achievements he voted President. You went light on that. In hindsight, was that a mistake.
MCCAIN: I think, I went pretty hard on him about his philosophy on government. Remember, Joe, the plumber and that. But I didn't think it was appropriate to go to the Reverend Wright and all that.
Because I thought, it was about the -- the campaign was about the economy. You know, whenever you lose, there's always lots of postmortems and I'll plead guilty to all of them. The failure of that campaign to win was my fault and mine alone.
O'REILLY: And the reason that you lost.
MCCAIN: Maybe, I didn't run a good enough campaign. Maybe, I wasn't strong enough. I also would point out though, without making any excuses, when the day the stock market went down 700 points, my friend. That was a bad day for our poll.
O'REILLY: You were running against the economy and so is President Obama this time around. He's right where you were. Thank you, Senator. We really appreciate it.
MCCAIN: Thank you.
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