Charlie Rose to McCain: Ryan Plan a 'Prescription for American Decline'?

Charlie Rose boosted two of the left's talking points about Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday's CBS This Morning. Rose asked Republican Senator John McCain, "Does Mitt Romney have to redefine himself...against the charges that he's out of touch, and that by endorsing the Ryan budget, it is a prescription for American decline?"

Rose also highlighted how McCain and President Obama both slammed the Court's Citizens United decision. But the Arizona Republican clarified that "I agreed that it was a bad decision, but certainly...I never questioned that they didn't have the right to do that. Apparently, the President doesn't read the Constitution the way some of us do."

The anchor led with the Supreme Court issue during the McCain segment. He first asked, "here has been, in the long history of this country, much debate about what the Supreme Court does. Is what the President...saying appropriate?" The veteran senator replied, in part, "[F]or him to think, somehow, that it's not within the Court's purview to overturn what most of us knew from the beginning was an unconstitutional act...then clearly the President- a quote, teacher of constitutional law- (laughs) doesn't have the same fundamental understanding most of us do."

Charlie Rose, CBS News Anchor; & Senator John McCain (R), Arizona | NewsBusters.orgMoments later, McCain stated that " I thought...their [the Supreme Court" decision on Citizens United- that's the campaign finance law- was terrible, outrageous. I'm still outraged, but I certainly never challenged their right to do it." Rose followed up by stating, "Well, on that, you and the President agreed." The politician replied with his "I never questioned that they didn't have the right to do that" answer.

The CBS journalist continued by bringing up Romney's victories in the Tuesday primaries and included the left-leaning attacks on the former governor and on Rep. Ryan. Rose also raised the concerns about Romney from conservatives and spotlighted the recent "Etch-A-Sketch" comment from his campaign aide:

ROSE: This campaign has begun. It looks like Romney's the nominee. You've endorsed him. Does Mitt Romney have to redefine himself now? Is there a window of opportunity to define himself against the charges that he's out of touch, and that by endorsing the [Rep. Paul] Ryan budget, it is a prescription for American decline?

MCCAIN: Well, I think that now that it's clear that he's the nominee, that most American voters will be looking at Mitt Romney from that viewpoint. They've watched this, really, rather disastrous campaign, which has really raised the unfavorables of all of our Republican candidates rather dramatically, so- but they'll be looking at him and give him, I think, another opportunity.

I also hope that Rick Santorum would understand that it's time for a graceful exit. But I think that the American people will be looking at him- and speaking of out of touch, I can't imagine the President belaboring Mitt Romney for supporting a budget- at least we voted on. There has been no budget in the United States Senate in well over 1,000 days, which is required by law- remarkable.

ROSE: Let me go to- your description of 'disastrous' raises an interesting question- whether some conservatives are right in fearing that the nominee will not be as conservative as they would like for him to be, and that he will, quote- in a sense, 'Etch-A-Sketch' his own campaign.

MCCAIN: Well, that was said by an aide. It was an unfortunate comment and, obviously, it was pounced upon. That's the world we live in. I'm far more concerned about the president of the United States telling a corrupt dictator- who was just elected in a terribly corrupt election in a corrupt country that is not our friend- that he's going to be, quote, 'flexible' on one of the fundamentals of our national security since Ronald Reagan, and that's missile defense. The President owes the American people an explanation as to- what does he mean by 'flexible'?

ROSE: Yeah. This is a conversation he had that was overheard by an open mike with [Russian President Dmitry] Medvedev....

MCCAIN: He [Medvedev] said he would pass it on to Vladimir [Putin].

Co-anchor Erica Hill concluded the interview with a question about prospective Republican vice presidential candidates, which turned into a light-hearted discussion with McCain about his former running mate, Sarah Palin, and the senator possibly guest hosting as she did on NBC's Today show.

The previous morning, the CBS anchors deferred to Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod and his spin about the President's rant against the Court. Rose and Hill also let Axelrod attack Romney, while tossing softball questions at him, such as, "[Romney] said he believes the President is to blame for the number of single mothers living in poverty. How do you respond to that?"

The full transcript of Charlie Rose and Erica Hill's interview of Senator John McCain, which began 12 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of Wednesday's CBS This Morning, can be read at

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