Do Social Issues Help Conservatives More Than Liberals? Former Virginia Gov. George Allen Weighs In

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This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," August 11, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HEATHER NAUERT, HOST: Now, let's move back here to the United States and it's just 85 days until the election. And with all this unrest overseas, Barack Obama is on vacation — everyone deserves a vacation, of course. And does this actually help John McCain look more presidential?

With me now is George Allen, former Republican governor and former senator from the state of Virginia.

Welcome, Governor Allen.

GEORGE ALLEN, (R) FMR. VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: Good to be with you, Heather.

NAUERT: So, we have heard from John McCain and we've also — will be hearing shortly from Barack Obama, his latest comments on the situation over there. What kind of effect does what is happening in Georgia right now have on John McCain's candidacy?

ALLEN: Well, I think, it fortifies, I think, in the minds of the American people that we need a commander-in-chief with proven leadership who can lead on day one. This is not a time in this dangerous world for on-the-job training.

And John McCain, you know, a lot of folks look at Vladimir Putin's eyes and John McCain has said, "I look in Vladimir Putin's eyes and I see KGB." And he's been outspoken in making sure that this sort of incursions now that have occurred in Georgia and potentially also the Baltics, Ukraine and elsewhere from Russia needs to be stopped.

The other thing that John McCain is talking about is energy security for our country. There is a big worry about the pipeline and...

NAUERT: Governor, let me pause there before we.

ALLEN: Go ahead.

NAUERT: Before we move on to that subject, we do have some remarks from John McCain made earlier today on this issue in Georgia. Let's take a quick listen to that.

Oh, I'm sorry. I'm afraid we don't have that. I was just informed. OK.

ALLEN: Well, John McCain — I guarantee you — is talking about energy security where we need to be using American oil, and natural gas, American coal, American nuclear. So, we're not at the whim of dictators or oligarchs in Russia or the Middle East. And that's important for our national securities and our jobs here at home.

NAUERT: Well, there, certainly, is a potential problem with the oil issue in Georgia, because there's a major pipeline that apparently the Russians have been trying to bomb, not so much — well, partly to disrupt Georgia's economy, but also to have an effect on our economy. So, if something like that does happen, what are they trying to say to the United States? What is Russia — what kind of message would Russia be trying to send to the United States with that move?

ALLEN: Well, I think, their motion is — first of all, the United States and John McCain is supportive of allowing Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. And Russia is very much against it.

We're for the advancement of freedom, in supporting of independent elected governments around the world. And it means that if Russia can use their energy strength, whether it's natural gas or oil, to say and use that geopolitical leverage against Germany, which is very reliant, or any of these central European countries, that means the price of oil or natural gas goes up.

That's why it is so essential for the United States to allow exploration off our coast, to be using clean coal — where the Saudi Arabia and the world in coal (ph), and advance nuclear so that we are not getting jerked around by the oligarchs in Russia or cartels or dictators around the world. And that's important for our European friends as well.

NAUERT: Certainly. One of the things we're wondering is — how all of this may affect John McCain's potential running mate pick?

ALLEN: Well, John McCain on foreign policy — he's not going to be one to burnish his credentials on. That he's involved.

NAUERT: Well, does it mean that he can afford to pick someone a whole lot younger or somebody from a different area with a different background?

ALLEN: Well, I think, people are going to look, Heather, at where the candidates stand, John McCain versus Barack Obama on energy. John McCain wants more American energy. Barack Obama wants to tax coal and oil and make us more dependent on foreign oil. John McCain wants to have lower taxes, Barack Obama higher.


ALLEN: And, of course, on foreign policy, John McCain has been involved in every major national security issue for the last 20 years. And that's why, it's important to have that proven leadership.

NAUERT: Got it, Governor Allen. I'm afraid we're going to have to leave it there. You got it in all. Thanks so much for joining us tonight.

We will get the other side later. We got Geraldine Ferraro over here by the way and she's dying to get in. So, governor, thanks a lot for joining us tonight.

ALLEN: You're welcome.

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