John McCain just spoke to bloggers from Sioux City, Iowa, en route to Nevada today and later to Arizona, as part of his announcement tour. Jennifer Rubin asked McCain to respond to Mitt Romney’s comments that hunting down Osama bin Laden wasn’t worth the cost. While not referring to Romney directly, McCain said that Bin Laden is still an important figure, both symbolically and in terms of his ability to direct terrorist attacks. McCain said that he takes the Israeli view that if somebody “inflicts damage” on the country, “we’ll follow them to the end of the earth.” He said that to think Bin Laden isn’t a sufficient threat to hunt down “displays naiveté.” I asked McCain when the military would run out of money in Iraq without passage of an emergency supplemental bill (after any accounting gimmicks they could use to stretch the funds). He said, “The absolute drop dead date will be early June,” but that doesn’t provide the full picture because the military has to be able to order equipment in advance and plan for the short, medium, and long term. “Every day that goes by there’s a degree of uncertainty,” he said.
Ryan Sager asked McCain his position on the New Hampshire civil union legislation, which Romney and now even Rudy Giuliani have opposed. McCain said that while he thinks the issue should be left to the states, were he a citizen of New Hampshire he would have opposed the bill because it undermines the sanctity of marriage.
Ann Althouse asked McCain what he would look for in a Supreme Court justice. In addition to the usual lines about wanting to appoint somebody who would strictly interpret the Constitution, he said he would look for somebody who has real world experience as well as judicial experience. That might mean somebody with a background of serving in the military, a corporation, or a small business.
Also, when asked what blue states he could put in play, he mentioned California, stressing that he’s from the west and understand the issues that are important there. He said Republicans could not afford to write off the biggest state. He also mentioned Pennsylvania and said winning New York may even be possible.