McCain: Attack ad focusing on Trump's POW comments 'fair'

Sen. John McCain speaks out on behalf of veterans, weighs in on 2016 race on 'Your World'


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 6, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST:  All right.  You know, when we were in Iowa, we noticed, like, every other minute, there were campaign commercials going for every candidate, attacking this, attacking that.  You couldn`t get away from them.  

The same right now in New Hampshire, but there`s a curious one that will be debuting on Sunday.  It`s an anti-Trump super PAC ad.  We don`t know who is behind it, just that they don`t like Donald Trump, and that it features Donald Trump`s attack on John McCain that he really wasn`t a real war hero, even though he spent all those years in a North Vietnamese prison.  

I have the senator with me right now.  

You know, Senator, it`s always good to have you.

The talk is, this might in fact indirectly be benefiting Marco Rubio.  We do know that it`s meant not to benefit Donald Trump, to attack him outright, because that is where the controversial statements and regrettable remarks, they say, started.  

What do you think of this?  

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-ARIZONA:  I think it`s -- everything is fair, obviously, in a political campaign, and you let the voters judge.

And what he said about me, I am in the arena, but, Neil, to say it about others, I -- still is hard for me to get over.  And a short time ago, I was contacted by the wife of a man who was 92 years old, a prisoner and a bomber pilot shot who was down and spent a long time in a German prison camp, was marched the last 30 days, before the Allies rescued them.  

And we were contacted.  And we were able to get him his old medals and his POW medals, one of the nicest things we get to do as elected representatives, thanks to the cooperation of the military.

And we had a very nice ceremony out at the retirement community where he lives.  He is 92 years old.  And he and I were talking.  And he said to me, he said: "Senator McCain, why do you think that Mr. Trump doesn`t like me?  What did I do?"

And when that happens, you just think, well, you know, there are certain things that are out of bounds, and to criticize anyone who was captured, who -- many of whom were genuine American heroes, I just find unacceptable.  

CAVUTO:  It`s interesting, Senator.  That was the first remark that a lot of analysts thought would bring Donald Trump down.  He has made many since.  And he is, like, bulletproof.  He has withstood that.

Say what you will of the Iowa results.  In a very evangelical state, he placed second, which I think, if people were to hear that when he first declared, would have been surprised.  He is leading in New Hampshire.  

Are you surprised by all of this?  

MCCAIN:  I am surprised by a lot of it.  

I was especially surprised when Mr. Trump ridiculed an individual with disabilities.  I just -- I don`t understand it.  By the way, another thing I don`t quite understand, the conventional wisdom -- and it was certainly true -- was, we had to meet -- every candidate -- as you know, every voter wanted to meet the candidate.

CAVUTO:  Right.

MCCAIN:  And that is the way you win in New Hampshire.  And, apparently, that`s not the methodology that Mr. Trump is using.

And he apparently has a solid lead, although, from my experience in New Hampshire, there`s momentum in the last 24, 48 hours, because the New Hampshire voters do pride themselves in not making up their minds until the very end.  

CAVUTO:  Oh, I remember very well.  I remember very well with you, Senator.  

MCCAIN:  Right.  Yes.  

CAVUTO:  And that was an amazing testament to your perseverance.

I wonder what you make of your old friend Bob Dole, who I caught up with when I was in Iowa.  And he was more concerned about Ted Cruz, not Donald Trump.  

I want you to listen to what he had to say.  


BOB DOLE, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  What is he going to do if he is elect?  He`s going to cost us wholesale losses and the Congress and governors and state legislatures.  

CAVUTO:  But how do you know?  How do you know?  One of the things that he brought up is, does Bob Dole really prefer a Donald Trump to me, that he thinks I will be more disruptive than a Donald Trump?  

DOLE:  Come down to Trump and Cruz, I would vote for Trump.


CAVUTO:  What did you think of that?  Between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, Bob Dole would go for Trump.

MCCAIN:  Bob Dole can do or say anything in the world he wants to do, and I will respect it and welcome...

CAVUTO:  Do you agree with that, though?

MCCAIN:  No, what I think is, what -- Bob was a majority leader and our Republican leader, as you know.

And I know he took particular offense when Ted Cruz, Senator Cruz, went to floor of the Senate and called our Republican leader, who Senator Cruz had voted for, a liar.  That kind of touched a special nerve with Bob Dole, a former leader himself.

CAVUTO:  No, no, that was very, very clear.  

But let me ask you.  If you had Ted Cruz and Donald Trump in a canoe and you could save only one, if the thing was sinking, what would you say?  


MCCAIN:  You know, Neil, I`m staying out of this.  



MCCAIN:  Lindsey Graham -- Lindsey Graham was my man, as you know, and so...

CAVUTO:  Yes.  And you`re not backing anyone.  You have not -- you have not committed to anyone.  

MCCAIN:  No, I`m not going to in this.  I like too many of them, to be honest with you.  

CAVUTO:  What do you think of Marco Rubio`s resurgence here?  Obviously, you have this Las Vegas paper owned by Sheldon Adelson, a big, big backer of candidates.  He has a lot of money behind him.  Maybe that could be a preview of coming attractions, that it`s Rubio who is peaking.  

That bothers Ted Cruz.  It certainly bothers Chris Christie, who says he`s the bubble boy.  What do you say about this sudden rise?

MCCAIN:  I honestly just watch with the same wonderment that you do.  

I think it`s probably the most tumultuous we have ever observed.  And I think Marco is very attractive, very articulate and very good on a lot of national security issues.  I like Chris Christie.  I like Jeb.  I like a lot of them.  And John Kasich and I came to the House of Representatives together a long time ago.  

So, I think the Republican voters will come up with a candidate to defeat the person who accepted $625,000 for three speeches, because that`s what they offered.  

CAVUTO:  Well, they`re did offer it.  You wouldn`t want her to cut the price and ask for $625, would you?  

MCCAIN:  For sale.  

CAVUTO:  Oh, OK.  That`s easy.


CAVUTO:  You know, then the last thing.  What do you make of the Bernie Sanders insurgence, too?  Because he is now even with Secretary Clinton nationally.

He is lapping her in New Hampshire.  Now, again, he is almost like New Hampshire`s third senator, given his neighbor proximity in Vermont.  But there`s something more going on here.  

MCCAIN:  Yes.  

CAVUTO:  I`m wondering if you think it`s possible she could lose the nomination.  

MCCAIN:  On the Democrats` side is the same thing that is happening on the Republican side.  

Millions of Americans who have stopped looking for work, millions of Americans whose lives have not been improved, millions of Americans who feel frustrated by the fact that we haven`t done enough for them here in Washington, and that has manifested on both ends of the political spectrum.

And we who are seeking reelection, people like me, had better understand there`s a great deal of unhappiness out there.  

CAVUTO:  That`s right.  

MCCAIN:  Look, I ran into a guy not long ago.  I said, who are you supporting?  He said Trump?  I said, why?

He said, he tells it like it is, and he is going to make America great again.  I said, yes, well, who is your second choice?  He said Sanders.  

CAVUTO:  Wow.  OK.  


CAVUTO:  It sounds like a relative of mine.  But I -- did you get the name?  


CAVUTO:  But, finally, You have seen what`s going on in Syria.  These images that we`re getting of these drones, it looks like Dresden after the bombing in Germany, Senator, hundreds of thousands dislodged, many, many more likely on their way to Europe as a result, more unimaginable horror.  

What do you make of all this?

MCCAIN:  For four years, Lindsey Graham and I have been begging this president to set up a no-fly zone, where these refugees could come to.

They don`t want to leave their homes and their country.  This is the abject failure of a feckless foreign policy for which there is no excuse.  While the president, while the secretary of state is putting pressure on the free moderate opposition to go to Geneva and talk, they are being bombed into oblivion by Russian air force, while the secretary of state continues his dialogue and appreciation for Lavrov and Vladimir Putin.  

This is a disgraceful and horrible chapter.  All of us are terribly sympathetic about these refugees and we want to help.  But the fact is, the refugees would not be there if we had done the right thing years ago.  

This is the result of failed policies.  This is the result of saying that we`re going to lead from behind.  This is a result of a president thinking that he can leave a conflict, and the conflict ends.  That is not the case.  
And it`s shameful.

CAVUTO:  And the irony -- the irony being that he then puts the guilt on Republicans and others who are leery of taking refugees in, when these policies led to the crisis we have with the refugees in the first place.  

MCCAIN:  And we all now have convincing evidences that Abadi -- that Baghdadi -- Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, is sending people with this refugee flow who are committed terrorists.  

CAVUTO:  It`s amazing, just amazing.

Senator McCain, very good seeing you again.  Be well.

MCCAIN:  Thank you, Neil.  

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