McCain: ‘business-friendly climate’ important to job creation in OhioWritten by Justin R. Kalmes | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Arizona Sen. John McCain said he believes the economy has surpassed the war in Iraq as the top issue on Americans’ minds, and some states are doing a better job of creating a “business-friendly climate” than Ohio is.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee spoke about those issues, alternative energy and other topics during a phone interview before an April 22 private fundraiser at the Toledo Club.
Toledo Free Press: During the 2004 presidential campaign of George W. Bush, you had said that Iraq and the war on terror were by far the biggest issues facing people, and the economy was a distant second. Four years later, do you maintain that or do you think that has reversed?
John McCain: I think national security remains a continuous challenge for any president of the United States at any time, particularly in light of 2001. But the economy is now obviously front and center and a huge challenge that the American people and our continent and our future faces. It’s because of the deterioration of the economy and the subprime lending crisis, it is now a transcendent problem of the challenge that we face.
TFP: While in Michigan, you were reticent to say that automotive jobs would return to the state. How can you help Rust Belt areas such as Toledo and Detroit if auto jobs aren’t going to be returning?
McCain: The new technology jobs are going to return, and they have to do with green technology; they have to do with battery-driven cars that’ll take a car 100 miles before you have to plug it in and they have to with hybrids; they have to do with hydrogen-powered automobiles. It has to do with all of the new technology that is vital in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making automobiles more efficient.
That takes advantage of education and training programs that will give us a trained and educated work force. It also means creating a business-friendly climate in the state of Michigan and Ohio, which in some other states they’ve done a better job at it.
TFP: Northwest Ohio has recently seen an increase in alternative-energy development. What do you feel is the most promising direction for alternative energy?
McCain: I think we have to let a thousand flowers bloom, I think we have to pursue a broad variety of efforts, ranging from a battery that will take an automobile 100 miles, to nuclear power, which we have to return to, to wind, solar and other green technologies, which I think the future of our nation and our world rests.
TFP: Do you think government’s responsible for funding those initiatives or do you think the private sector will be able to step up and do that?
McCain: I think the government should provide funding for pure research and development. I think once technology is there, then it should be private sector. Private sector is the most efficient way to do it once you’ve achieved research and development progress.
TFP: In an economic speech you said: “When new trading partners can sell in our market, and American companies can sell in theirs, the gains are great and they are lasting.”
How do you sell that idea to voters in states such as Ohio, where manufacturing jobs have been lost significantly?
McCain: Which I believe can be replaced with high-tech jobs with training and education programs.
We are failing the American people and the people of Ohio by not providing meaningful education and retraining programs so that they can re-enter the work force. Ohio is also profiting in a number of ways from trade in their exports. I believe the American worker can compete with any in the world. And I believe with the proper education and training programs, they will continue to do that.
I understand the unpopularity of NAFTA. I’ve also believed that if you become protectionists, then history shows that economies suffer worse. But I understand the problem. We need to retrain and educate. We need to have a more level playing field between ourselves and our competitors, and I will achieve that.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Interview requests have been submitted to the campaigns of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Ron Paul.