John King, USA

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December 16th, 2010
09:46 PM ET

Sen. McCain discusses 'don't ask'

(CNN) – Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain sounded off on issues being debated in the lame duck Congressional session during an interview with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King Thursday night.

Appearing on CNN's John King, USA Thursday night, McCain had choice words for fellow members of his party that plan to vote in favor of the spending bill that contains Republican earmarks. Calling the bill a "monstrosity and atrocity" Mccain stated, "It is a bipartisan plague, and we have Republican senators who may vote in favor of this atrocity.

"And we Republicans had better understand, we've got a second chance because of our excesses of the Bush administration, and I'm not sure they'll forgive us another time."

Following the interview, Sen. Harry Reid pulled the spending bill from the floor of the Senate, saying that Republicans who'd previously said they would vote for the bill now tell him they will have to vote against it.

McCain expressed doubt about the effectiveness of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), saying "I don't believe that another START treaty would have any beneficial effect on other rogue nations that are attempting to acquire or have developed nuclear weapons, such as North Korea or Iran … I don't think it would embolden them either.

"I don't think that whether we ratify the START Treaty or not is going to affect Iranian or North Korean or other rogue nations' behavior in the slightest."

The nuclear arms reduction treaty is a bilateral agreement between Russia and the United States to mutually reduce their stockpile of nuclear weapons.

When asked about the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act and previous remarks that label the proposal as a "liberal wish list," McCain acknowledged that he continues to believe that children who come into the United States illegally are "God's children" but stood firm on his convictions regarding safety of the U.S. border.

"We've got to get our borders secured so that 10 years from now…we are not faced with another human suffering situation of children who have been brought to this country illegally. We can address the whole immigration issue comprehensively once we get the border secured, and we can get the border secured."

The DREAM Act would provide a path to citizenship for some children who came into the country illegally and later served two years in the U.S. military or completed two years toward a bachelor's degree.

The McCain household is a house divided when it comes to "don't ask, don't tell," the military policy that prevents gay and lesbian service members from serving openly in the military. Though McCain's daughter, Meghan McCain, spoke out against the measure, and claimed that it is the civil rights issue of her generation, McCain revealed that his son, a former member of the Marine Corps, is also against the repeal of the military policy.

"His words to me … as so many thousands of others' words have been to me, if it isn't broke, don't fix it."

Of his relationship with President Barack Obama, McCain – the Republican presidential candidate who lost the 2008 election to Obama – indicated that it is on the mend. Two years after the contentious presidential election, he said, "I did have a conversation with the president about the issue of START and how to go about it … And it was a very cordial conversation, I think."

"I look forward to working with the president and his national security adviser … I'm a great – admirer of the secretary of defense (Republican Robert Gates). So we have, certainly, good grounds for cooperation in a very dangerous world."

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