In Thursday's interview with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Early Show co-host Chris Wragge asked if Republicans in Congress are basically helping President Obama get re-elected with their ongoing opposition to the Senate's two-month payroll tax cut extension plan.
"Are you essentially handing President Obama his re-election bid here by handling this the way the Republicans have handled this?" Wragge asked guest Senator McCain. The senator has been a noted critic of House Republicans in their refusal to vote for the Senate plan.
Wragge also teed up the senator when he asked him "How do you think this is going to come back to haunt Republicans down the line?"
"Well I don't think there's any doubt that the President and the Democrats have a political advantage here," responded McCain.
A transcript of the segment which aired on December 22 at 7:06 a.m. EST is as follows:
CHRIS WRAGGE: Now I want to shift here and pivot to the payroll tax showdown, which you think is harming the Republican Party. You agreed with a Wall Street Journal op-ed accusing the GOP of botching this debate. How do you think this is going to come back to haunt Republicans down the line?
Sen. JOHN MCCAIN (R-Ariz.): Well first of all, we've got a dysfunctional government and this in this fighting we've got 160 million Americans caught – innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire here who stand to lose as much as $1,000 a year, which to them is a great deal of money. Yes, I think Republicans made a mistake, but I also fault the President and the Senate Democrats for – I understand why they're taking advantage of it, but it's – it contributes enormously to the cynicism and anger of the American people when they see us fail to sit down together to try to get this worked out for their benefit. In other words, politics is overriding the good of the American people. I think what should happen if – the House should pass the same bill the Senate did, only put a year on it, so as you just mentioned we wouldn't have Groundhog Day all over again in two months, and then I hope that maybe the Senate would pass it. But this is really tragic to the American people, and I would say that next November, no incumbent is safe, nor should they be.
WRAGGE: Well let me ask you this, kind of in regards to what you were just saying there. In that Wall Street Journal op-ed which I just mentioned, there was mention by Republicans by botching this – and like you said the Democrats will pin this on the Republicans that you're going to raise taxes here – are you essentially handing President Obama his re-election bid here by handling this the way the Republicans have handed this – handled this?
MCCAIN: Well I don't think there's any doubt that the President and the Democrats have a political advantage here.