Sen. John McCain drew the biggest response at the RNC when he referred to filmmaker Michael Moore who was sitting in a press box at the convention as a credentialed USA columnist. We hear the excerpt of McCain’s address and we speak with GOP delegates about Michael Moore and Fahrenheit 9/11. [includes rush transcript]
McCain drew the biggest response of the evening not for his comments about President Bush or the war in Iraq but when he referred to filmmaker Michael Moore who was sitting in a press box at the convention as a credentialed USA columnist.
- Sen. John McCain (R–AZ), speaking at the Republican National Convention on August 30, 2004
That was John McCain last night on the floor of the convention referring to Michael Moore. Moore’s latest film "Fahrenheit 9/11" is one of the most successful documentaries in film history and has been seen by millions. It examines President Bush’s actions before and after the Sept. 11 attacks including his ties to prominent Saudis including the family of Osama bin Laden. Last night at Madison Square Garden, I caught up with a few Republican delegates as they were leaving the convention to get their reaction to Fahrenheit 9/11.
- Republican delegates speak with Democracy Now! inside Madison Square Garden.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, John McCain drew the biggest response of the evening last night. Not for his comments about President Bush or the war on Iraq. But when he referred to filmmaker Michael Moore, who was sitting in a press box at the convention, as a credentialed U.S.A. Today columnist.
JOHN McCAIN: Our choice wasn’t between a benign status quo and the bloodshed of war. It was between war and a graver threat. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. [cheers and applause] not our political opponents. Not — and certainly not, and certainly not a disingenuous filmmaker, who would have us believe — [cheers and applause] who would have us believe —- that was -—
AUDIENCE: Four more years, four more years. Four more years, four more years. Four more years. Four more years.
JOHN McCAIN: Please, my friends. That line was so good, I’ll use it again. Certainly not a disingenuous filmmaker — [cheers and applause] who would have us believe — my friends, who would have us believe that Saddam’s Iraq was an oasis of peace. When in fact, when in fact it was a place of indescribable cruelty, torture chambers, mass graves and prisons that destroyed the lives of the small children inside their walls.
AMY GOODMAN: Senator John McCain last night on the floor of the convention, referring to Michael Moore. His latest film, "Fahrenheit 9/11," is the most successful documentary in film history and seen by millions. It examines President Bush’s actions before and after the September 11th attacks, including his ties to Saudis, including the family of Osama Bin Laden. Last night, at Madison Square Garden, as the delegates were leaving, streaming out after the speech of former mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, I asked them for their reaction.
AMY GOODMAN: Hi. Are you a delegate?
DELEGATE: Yes. I’m an alternate.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, and you’re a delegate? Where are you from? I would like to ask all three of you.
DELEGATE: I’m from Alaska.
AMY GOODMAN: From Alaska? And Wisconsin?
CHARLOTTE RASMUSSEN: Wisconsin.
AMY GOODMAN: So what did you think of tonight?
DELEGATE: I thought it was wonderful.
AMY GOODMAN: Senator McCain raised Fahrenheit 9/11 and Michael Moore. Did you see the film?
DELEGATE: No, I probably wouldn’t see it.
AMY GOODMAN: Why?
DELEGATE: I don’t endorse that kind of a movie.
AMY GOODMAN: Which is what, what kind?
DELEGATE: I would look to something that had more of a moral, a quality moral value to it. Something that would be bringing the country up, not tearing it down.
AMY GOODMAN: What is the most important issue to you as a republican?
DELEGATE: I think sanctity of life and family. And moral values, good quality moral values. Truth-telling, integrity.
AMY GOODMAN: Thank you.
DELEGATE: Thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: And your name and where are you from?
CHARLOTTE RASMUSSEN: I’m Charlotte Rasmussen. I’m from Stanley, Wisconsin.
AMY GOODMAN: And what was your reaction to the opening night of the Republican Convention?
CHARLOTTE RASMUSSEN: It was very uplifting and I really enjoyed John McCain and Rudy Giuliani and all the speakers.
AMY GOODMAN: Have you seen Fahrenheit 9/11?
CHARLOTTE RASMUSSEN: No, I haven’t. I’ve only heard media reports about it.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you have any desire to?
CHARLOTTE RASMUSSEN: No, I don’t think I’d go to see it.
AMY GOODMAN: What’s the most important issue to you as a republican?
CHARLOTTE RASMUSSEN: The war on terrorism, the continued strong defense of our country is the most important issue to me.
AMY GOODMAN: Do you think there’s a connection between Iraq and 9/11? >> Absolutely. Absolutely.
AMY GOODMAN: What is that connection?
CHARLOTTE RASMUSSEN: That he’s probably been the host for a lot of terrorists coming through his country. And like Rudy said tonight, he is a terrorist, what he did to his people in his country. So I’m very supportive of President Bush’s war on terrorism, and including the part in Iraq.
AMY GOODMAN: And your name? Where are you from?
SANDY ERDLING: My name is Sandy Erdling. I’m from Wassau, Wisconsin.
AMY GOODMAN: And your reaction to tonight?
SANDY ERDLING: It was wonderful. Both John McCain and Giuliani, telling America what it’s all about. What this country is all about. Where we will go with President Bush.
AMY GOODMAN: What makes you a republican?
SANDY ERDLING: I’ve been a republican, I was raised republican. And I looked at the philosophy, I evaluated the philosophy of both parties when I became an adult. And I decided the Republican Party was for me.
AMY GOODMAN: What’s the most important issue to you?
SANDY ERDLING: The most important issue is morals. I have grandchildren, and I think I want them to grow up in a country like I grew up in as a child. Not like it’s been the last 10 years. And President Bush is doing a terrific job trying to turn things around.
AMY GOODMAN: What did you think of the protests outside this weekend?
SANDY ERDLING: I just ignored it, because everywhere we go, whether it’s — in Wisconsin, there are protesters. We don’t do it. We take the high ground. And I just ignore it. That’s all about living in America. That you’re able to do these things.
AMY GOODMAN: Have you seen Fahrenheit 9/11?
SANDY ERDLING: I wouldn’t waste my money on it.
AMY GOODMAN: Why?
SANDY ERDLING: Because of his other movie, about Columbine, I didn’t believe that movie. My daughter saw it and she said, "Mother, you have to see this ridiculous movie." And I don’t like Michael Moore. He’s from Michigan, he’s from the Midwest. And I thought he probably was a Californian. I was really surprised to hear he was from the Midwest.
AMY GOODMAN: Why?
SANDY ERDLING: And have that type of an attitude like he has. I mean, years ago, someone like Michael Moore would be tried for treason about the terrible things he has done and said about our country.
AMY GOODMAN: Like what?
SANDY ERDLING: Well, all lies. I mean, we have a military over in Iraq, and — and he doesn’t agree with our president. And we should be supporting the situation in Iraq, instead of talking about it and ridiculing it. As a true American.
AMY GOODMAN: In the film he interviews a woman who lost her son in Iraq. And the idea that to support the troops is to bring them home. What’s your reaction to that?
SANDY ERDLING: To support the troops is to bring them home. Well, I think, I think you have to ask the troops that. The people that are serving over in Iraq are, they want to be there. And I have, I work, we have a, a, we have a headquarters and we have people that come and volunteer to do telephone calling for George Bush, because they have sons in Iraq and they want to help. And they’re very proud of the president. And they feel very secure with our president. And these are mothers, these are mothers in Wassau, Wisconsin.
AMY GOODMAN: Some delegates at the Republican National Convention last night. This is Democracy Now!