Why Is Obama Losing Independent Voters?

This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," September 10, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HEATHER NAUERT, HOST: We have a new FOX poll that finds that independent voters are flocking to John McCain's side. The new numbers give McCain a 16-point increase among independents over the past three weeks.

Why is Obama losing his grip on the independents, and how can he win them over at this stage in the game?

Video: Watch Heather Nauert's interview

We're joined by Obama supporter, California Senator Diane Feinstein joins me now.

Welcome, senator.


New Douglas Kennedy report on 'America's Election HQ' homepage

NAUERT: I would like to start up by asking you about the comments the South Carolina Democratic chairwoman. What is your reaction to that? She said that Sarah Palin's only qualification for the job seems to be that she hasn't had an abortion. As a woman and as a senior legislator, how do you feel about that?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I think it's a stupid comment, and I'm not going to say anything else about it. But what all of this symbolizes to me is that there is a great deterioration and a sinking of this campaign into the ridiculous. Now, John McCain has used the lipstick example himself. Let me finish.

NAUERT: Senator, let me pause you for one moment please because.

FEINSTEIN: No, let me make my point.


FEINSTEIN: Last year, before the Des Moines, Iowa Rotary Club, John McCain used the lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig with respect to Hillary Clinton's healthcare plan. And you know, it got little mention, but it was said. Now, suddenly when Obama says it, it is used to drive an opposition campaign, and all of the spinners are out spinning, and why are they doing this? To defer away from the real issues — what McCain's tax program is, how he's going to handle the mounting deficit, how he's going to restore credibility in the world, what his energy plan is.

You don't hear the back-and-forth on that, but instead, it's deteriorating to this level of absurdity, and I, for one, who have been back here for 15 years and believe this nation is in real trouble, that we need change, that we need to go in a different direction. And what Obama offers, with specificity, is that different direction, and instead, it smeared Obama. It's reduced his image. It's making him into a community organizer and.

NAUERT: But Senator Feinstein, if you will — Senator Feinstein, you mentioned smearing, and to be fair, it certainly sounds like Mrs. Fowler, who's no stranger to politics, is smearing Sarah Palin by those incredibly offensive comments.

FEINSTEIN: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I don't know whether Mrs. Fowler is speaking on behalf of the Obama campaign or not. I hear a lot of dumb and stupid comments out there. If what the McCain campaign is going to do is take every one and what the Obama campaign is going to do on the reverse is take every dumb and stupid comment, then this campaign deteriorates into absurdity. We have so many big issues.

NAUERT: You've ever seen anything — you've ever seen anything like this?

FEINSTEIN: Pardon me.

NAUERT: Have you ever seen anything like this?

FEINSTEIN: With the deterioration into absurdity — no.

NAUERT: Not absurdity but just sort of nastiness that is going on in this election it seems?

FEINSTEIN: Yes, it's nasty but you're playing right into it. You're dramatizing it. I have listened to five minutes of it. No one talked about whether big oil should have a $4 billion tax cut.

NAUERT: Senator Feinstein, I think — no, we're being extremely fair to both sides asking you and the McCain camp equal questions, reporters on both sides who are covering both the McCain campaign and Obama campaign these very questions.

FEINSTEIN: Well, good.

NAUERT: Senator Feinstein, thank you for joining us.

FEINSTEIN: You're very welcome. Thank you.

NAUERT: OK. Hope to see you again, thank you.

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