Allen: McCain doesn’t want his balanced budget pledge to be recorded on tape.

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"Allen: McCain doesn’t want his balanced budget pledge to be recorded on tape."

Yesterday, Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) presidential campaign released an economic plan promising that McCain will “balance the budget by the end of his first term.” But in a speech in Denver yesterday, McCain refused to mention his strict promise, instead just saying that he will “get government’s fiscal house in order.” On CSPAN’s Washington Journal today, Politico reporter Mike Allen said that the fact that McCain “didn’t actually say it in his speech” is an indication that he doesn’t want to be videotaped making the pledge:

HOST: Start with your story yesterday about Sen. John McCain’s speech in Denver, CO yesterday outlining his new economic plan. You wrote that he promised to balance the federal budget by the end of his first term.

ALLEN: He did, but Greta, what’s fascinating is he did it on the paper he put out on the 15 page book, the McCain Economic Plan, but he didn’t actually say it in his speech. So, he’s getting it both ways. The promise is out there for conservatives who might want to see it, but there’s no videotape of it to show later which might give you some indication of how likely Sen. McCain thinks it is that this will actually occur.

Watch it:

Perhaps McCain is trying to avoid making a “read my lips” pledge on video.

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Transcript:

HOST: Start with your story yesterday about Sen. John McCain’s soeech in Denver, CO yesterday outlining his new economic plan. You wrote that he promised to balance the federal budget by the end of his first term.

ALLEN: He did, but Greta, what’s fascinating is he did it on the paper he put out on the 15 page book, the McCain Economic Plan, but he didn’t actually say it in his speech. So, he’s getting it both ways. The promise is out there for conservatives who might want to see it, but there’s no videotape of it to show later, which might give you some indication of how likely Sen. McCain thinks it is that this will actually occur.

HOST: Well, why not put it on video, why not have it on the public record in that way?

ALLEN: I don’t know the real answer to that, but they put out the night before, Politico posted this document, and in it it says that he’ll balance the budget by 2013, so the end of his first term, before he takes the office, oath for a second time, or passes the baton to his successor, and that is a very difficult challenge. CBO, Congressional Budget Office figures, suggest that it might involve cutting one-third of spending that’s not committed by law, including defense. And you know how politically likely that is, so Sen. McCain does take on a really tough issue here, as your viewers well know, in order to balance the budget, they’re going to have to be changes made to Social Security. President Bush tried that, you saw how far that went.

But Sen. McCain acknowledges that real changes are not just going to come through spending cut here, spending cut there. You’re going to have to make changes to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. And granted that’s going to have to be a very popular president. Somebody who, just after they’ve taken office and can work across the aisle and can do maybe even like a choctalk to the American people, explaining this. President Bush thought that after he was re-elected, he had that big electoral victory, big popular victory, that he would have the mojo, that he would have the political capital to do it. And it just didn’t happen, it was just too tough.

Now, it’s clear from Sen. McCain’s record, things he’s said in the past, his language today, that if he got in office, he would have probably big Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. He would work with those chambers to cut benefits, waive future benefits a little bit, increase the Social Security taxes, or the amount of income that’s taxed for the very wealthy. But that’s not something you can really talk about in a campaign, so they’re a little vague about it. I think you’re going to see a lot of stories in coming days, can McCain pay for what he’s proposing here. USA Today had a very tough editorial today saying that he needs a little more straight talk.

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