John McCain
John McCain
Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin

WHEN: Today, Tuesday, October 28th at 4:30PM ET

WHERE: CNBC's "Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo"

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with Republican Presidential Candidate Sen. John McCain and Vice Presidential Candidate Gov. Sarah Palin today on CNBC's "Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo."

All references must be sourced to CNBC.


BARTIROMO: On the issue of redistribution of wealth, which Obama talked about as far back as 2001 in an interview, what is wrong with the redistribution of wealth? How are you going to help the people on the bottom of the income scale?

Sen. McCAIN: Well, obviously that's been tried. That is a bold left-wing

liberal view of how you help people in--they've tried it in other countries.

America--look, you don't take money from one group and give it to another.

You get--you let people have the ability to accumulate wealth, create jobs,

create opportunities, create all the things that a free society, a free

enterprise system. Of course we have an obligation. We have Social Security,

we have Medicare, we have unemployment insurance. We have all of those

things. But to somehow say that we're going to take money because "Joe the

Plumber" reaches a certain income level, now we're going to take that money

from him and give it to somebody else, that's a fundamental contradiction to

what's made this country the strongest and greatest nation in the world. It's

a fundamental contradiction, and the American people are beginning to figure

it out.

Gov. PALIN: So...

BARTIROMO: But we know that there's an income gap.

Gov. PALIN: But instead of taking more from our families and our small

businesses, that's creating this atmosphere where we cannot create jobs,

hiring more people, not if we're taking more from our businesses. Instead of

doing that and then spreading that income according to a politician's

priorities, let's do what John McCain has been saying, let's spread

opportunity so that people like "Joe the Plumber" and others can create more

jobs, they can hire more people. Because they'll be able to reinvest their

hard earned money according to their priorities. We can be compassionate and

we can be generous with others without government mandating where those

dollars should go to. (Unintelligible)...minimum wage...

Sen. McCAIN: One additional point. One of the reasons for that inequality

you pointed out, of course, one of the major reasons is because the rising

cost of health care. Fewer and fewer lower income Americans are able to

afford it, and small businesses. We want to make health insurance and health

care affordable and available in America. That's a key item.

BARTIROMO: What about a minimum wage increase? Would you consider it?

Sen. McCAIN: As long as we take care of small businesses. Small businesses

right now, I see them everyday, they say you increase the minimum wage, I lay

off workers. Is that what we want to do right now? Of course not. Of course

we don't want to have small--we--I'm insulting your intelligence by reminding

you, we've lost over 700,000 jobs already, OK? Small businesses created over

300,000 jobs. Who we going to depend on, who do we want not to lay off


Gov. PALIN: So we...

BARTIROMO: Are you in favor of a stimulus package? Are you in favor of an

additional stimulus program?

Sen. McCAIN: Look, a--I would--I will do anything that we think would be

necessary to help the economy. We just passed a massive highway bill, as you

know, which is going to create jobs in the infrastructure. If we have a--and

the last thing we need is to have another appropriations bill that's loaded up

with pork barrel earmark projects and provisions such as a car check or other

stuff that they will try to add onto it. I'd like--I want to have a look at

it first. One of the reasons we're in this ditch is because out of control

spending. We're not going to have any more pork barrel projects while I'm

president of the United States, and that out of control spending is what has

been one of the major factors in the economic crisis that we're in today.

BARTIROMO: Let me ask you about the Treasury's most recent plan. You said

you're disappointed by the--by the track that this country has taken so far.

Is that--is that saying that you do not approve of Paulson's plan to invest in

the banks? Are you saying?

Sen. McCAIN: Look, I'm not opposed that at all. I think that we have to do

what we have to do. What is first priority, and he should have told the

American people right away, to keep people in their homes. That's our first

priority. Some of these banks that we're bailing out are co-conspirators, OK?

And the second thing is we want people held accountable. People out there at

our town hall meetings are angry. They're not--they're not upset, they're

angry, and they want people held accountable both in Washington and on Wall


BARTIROMO: Let me ask you about this plan. The Treasury's investing in banks

now. Some people wonder if the government's going to invest in the

automakers, in other industries. How worried are you about going down this

path, in some cases nationalization; government owning 80 percent of AIG?

Sen. McCAIN: I'm very worried about it. I know these are extraordinary

times, and I want us out of the banking business as quickly as possible.

BARTIROMO: How do you rein in big government?

Sen. McCAIN: Well, one is the spending. Spending is what makes government

bigger. It's spending that gets it out of control. We Republicans presided

over the largest increase in the size of government in history. You're going

to increase the size of government, you're going to increase spending and

sooner or later you're going to have to increase taxes. Get the spending

under control, rein in the size of government and get some fiscal

accountability back in the Congress of the United States.

Gov. PALIN: And look what the big spenders in Congress have done that John

McCain has been fighting all these years. They have now incurred a $10

trillion debt that we're expected to hand to our children to pay off for us.

That's not right, it's not fair, and on our watch that will not happen. And

that's why John talks about imposing a spending freeze that will--that will

hit all but the most vital functions of government: the worker retraining,

the taking care of our veterans. He's got a list of those that are off the

table. But we have got to quit digging ourselves in this--in this hole, or

forever we're going to be in this world of hurt in our--in our economy.

Again, it's not right, it's not fair, it's totally against the fundamentals of

what we believe in, and that is government being reined in, allowing the

private sector, our families, to make decisions for themselves and to be able

to provide that opportunity equally to all.

BARTIROMO: Governor Palin, give me your sense...

Sen. McCAIN: Work in New York City...

BARTIROMO: ...of Ted Stevens. We've got, obviously, one of the big stories

of the day.

Gov. PALIN: Yeah, yeah. Ted Stevens, you know, a sad day for Alaska

yesterday when he was found guilty of seven felonies. But--and now he needs

to do the right thing, and the right thing is--as he's proclaiming his

innocence and proclaiming, too, that he will go through the appellate process,

OK, then he needs to step aside and allow our state to elect someone who will

be supportive of those ideals of America: the free enterprise, the missions

that we're on, to win the war, those things that have got to take place in

order to progress this country. Ted Stevens has got to play a very

statesmanlike role in this now.

BARTIROMO: You've asked him to step down.

Sen. McCAIN: He should, yes. Right away.

Again, back on the spending thing, so important. The mayor of the city where

you work said they're going to freeze spending. If New York City, which is

not known for its, you know, conservatism, in many respects, is going to be

able to freeze spending and make spending cuts, across the board cuts, we in

Washington should be able to do that, too.

Gov. PALIN: Right. And why we have to do it, Maria, also, is that will

provide us the opportunity to get in there into every agency and department

and service that's being rendered today to make sure that we're providing

services efficiently. And I guarantee you, every place we look we will be

able to find places where we can create more efficiencies and save the

taxpayer dollars.

BARTIROMO: Some people worry about one party dominating the White House and

the House and Senate, but people are frustrated after the last eight years of

economics, among others. How will you convince the American people that a

divided government makes sense?

Sen. McCAIN: Listen to what they're saying. They're going to increase

spending, they're going to raise taxes. Congressman Barney Frank, powerful

member of Congress, said we're going to go and find those rich people and tax

them. We're going to increase spending. And then, incredibly, he said he's

going to cut defense. They're going to cut defense spending by one-quarter

when we're in two wars and we need to expand the size of our military,

particularly manpowerwise. Look, this is--this is--at least we got a sneak

preview of Barney Frank and others as to what's in store for us.

BARTIROMO: How's the partnership going? Governor Palin, when I spoke with

you in August, you weren't sure if you were on anybody's short list, and then

two days later you get the call.

Gov. PALIN: Yeah.

BARTIROMO: How did it all come down?

Gov. PALIN: It came down the way it was supposed to, and it's all good. And

it is very good, the partnership is very good. And John McCain, he is a true

leader, and a true leader in his campaign in unifying and creating this

cohesiveness that we need in order to get the message out there, allowing

voters to know the stark contrast between these two tickets. And it's a world

of difference what voters will have in front of them on November 4th. To

understand that our ticket supports policies that will create jobs and get the

economy back on the right track and win the war, as opposed to a ticket that

supports policies that will kill jobs and will harm our economy.

Sen. McCAIN: Can I just say, I couldn't be happier. I couldn't be happier.

The enthusiasm, the support, the people who come to--and look, here's two

mavericks. Here's two mavericks. Did anybody expect us to agree--to agree on

every issue? I think we'd be pretty dull--we--on ANWR, we continue a

discussion about that. We're not going to agree on every issue, but that's

the fun of our relationship. And I am so--I can't tell you the excitement

that she has generated and the role model she is. I couldn't be happier.

BARTIROMO: What's going to be your one, two or three things on the agenda, if

you win, in January?

Sen. McCAIN: Well, of course, national security. That's always every

president's first obligation, to make sure our nation is safe and we're

addressing our national security concern. The second thing really is the most

important thing that...(unintelligible)...restore trust and confidence.

Americans are angry, they're worried, they have no trust, they have no

confidence--with good reason--in their government. And that means a plan, an

economic plan to get America's economy out of the ditch and go on again.

BARTIROMO: Senator McCain, Governor Palin, good to have you on the program.

Thanks very much.

Gov. PALIN: Thanks, Maria.

Sen. McCAIN: Thank you.

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