ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (Reuters) - Republican nominee John McCain said in an interview aired on Sunday he would bring Democrats into his Cabinet and administration as part of his attempt to change the political atmosphere in Washington.
“I don’t know how many, but I can tell you, with all due respect to previous administrations, it is not going to be a single, ‘Well, we have a Democrat now,’” McCain said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“It’s going to be the best people in America, the smartest people in America,” he said in an interview taped on Saturday.
Both McCain and Barack Obama, his Democratic rival in the November 4 presidential election, are claiming to be the agent of change needed to fix problems in Washington.
Obama has been running on the change theme for more than a year and a half while McCain, a four-term Arizona senator, has come it to it more recently after mostly campaigning on his experience.
Obama, in an interview also taped earlier and televised on Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” said McCain spoke of reducing the rancor in Washington but Republican convention that nominated him last week was a highly partisan affair.
“How you campaign I think foreshadows how you’re going to govern,” the first-term Illinois senator said.
With 58 days to go until the election, the two candidates took a rare day off on Sunday before plunging back into the fray.
Since he accepted the presidential nomination at his party’s convention Thursday, McCain had been campaigning with his choice for vice president, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and attracting enthusiastic crowds. Palin was scheduled to start campaigning on her own on Monday.
At the convention, Palin and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani appeared to mock Obama’s youthful background as a community organizer in Chicago. The Republican crowd loved the comments.
Obama said in that job he worked with churches, set up job training for the unemployed and developed after-school programs for youths “community service work — which John McCain has been talking about putting country first and extolling the virtues of national service.”
“It’s curious to me that they would mock that, when I at least think that that’s exactly what young people should be doing,” he said.
McCain said he did not think being a community organizer was a negative and in fact was quite honorable.
“I admire and respect all public service,” he said. “I think what happened was it was a reaction to the Obama campaign saying — and denigrating the fact that she (Palin) had been mayor of a small town.”
Before she was elected governor, Palin had been the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, with a population of under 10,000 people.
Palin was the only one of the top four candidates who did not appear on the Sunday talk show circuit. She has not been questioned by the media since McCain made her his surprise pick for No. 2 on August 29.
McCain said she would start giving interview “within the next few days” but did not elaborate.
Additional reporting by Deborah Charles in Chicago; writing by David Wiessler; Editing by Jackie Frank