Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher kicked of this year's D conference with a conversation with John McCain. They covered a wide range of topics, from why the US lags behind Luxembourg in broadband to the war in Iraq. McCain came off as principled and informed, although more conservative than much of the audience at this event. He was concerned about broadband penetration and net neutrality, although we warned against the "unintended consequences" that often follow government intervention. Walt continued to press, at once point saying that Korea had been ahead of us in broadband for 4 years. McCain's response was that he would still take the US technology over that of Korea. I hope he was speaking of technology in general and not broadband in particular.
McCain scored some points with his statement that if he was to run for President, and if he was elected, he would pick the best and brightest people to work in his administration, regardless of party affiliation. He mentioned John Chambers and Steve Ballmer, both of whom were in the audience. Walk suggested (jokingly?) that Ballmer be named ambassador to China.
The most tense part of the discussion was about Iraq. Despite some pointed questioning from the hosts, McCain did not back down from his position that we needed to let the surge do its work. He did say that we needed to get the Israeli-Palestinian situation under control. One idea that he had was to form a league of the world's democracies, which might work in parallel with the UN.
A memorable quote:
Every time I've done the right thing everything turned out OK.