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Sen. DeMint butts heads with McCain but thinks Palin will keep him on track

Sen. Jim DeMint has "butted heads" with Sen. John McCain, but he thinks that Gov. Sarah Palin will hold him accountable.

Here's the interview:

A couple of weeks ago I kind of thought we would come to a convention with really divided interests maybe and not a lot of excitement. I think the Governor Palin nomination, which has given a lot of us as conservatives an indication that McCain is going to really go after reform ideas and move to the conservative side rather than going the other direction. In the same swoop he's bringing a lot of youth and energy to the party. We need to develop new leadership, and Governor Palin is a great indication of where we could go.

Evangelicals and conservatives seem to be more excited about Sarah Palin than John McCain, do you think that's true?

Well, I think they have a lot in common. I know they're both tough, and they don't back down. I'm excited about her because she's kind of the next generation of leadership for our party. And I'm more and more excited about McCain because if you look at the key issues that facing us as a country today, which I think are national security, energy security, and wasteful Washington spending. So I think we've got just a good complement, a good team. McCain and I have butted heads on a lot of things, but we need somebody who's tough in dealing with a lot of our foreign issues right now. We don't need someone who's never done anything with executive or leadership type things like Obama.

Sen. Obama has tried to reach out to religious voters pretty heavily ? do you think that will work?

I think religious people are smarter than that. All you have to do is look at how he votes. You look at votes like voting against the born alive infant protection act. I don't think he has any claim to a moral compass that people are going to buy into. I don't think you se anything in his past that suggests that he is going to do more to create religious freedoms in this country. We don't need the government to be pushing religion, but what the government has been doing is purging religion and values from our culture. That's a huge problem, and I think he would continue that purging.

You said you've butted heads with McCain ? what challenges does he face among conservatives?

Well I think he's got to listen. I think John McCain's heart is usually in the right place. It was on campaign finance, but the bill that was written I didn't think was that good. I think his heart was in the right place on the immigration issue, but the bill turned out to be an amnesty bill without any good border control. He's still coachable, and one thing good about Palin is, I think she'll help hold McCain accountable on a lot of the conservative issues.

What about the Republican platform on poverty? It seemed to emphasize global poverty and not domestic poverty?

That might be a little for political correctness that snuck in. The more poverty around the world can be addressed more through open trade and economic relationships. We've seen trade with China, for instance, take millions of people out of poverty. But, we're not going to be able to help the world unless we're strong at home. And we're losing that from the economy point of view, from the energy point of view. So regardless of what's in the platform, my intent is to hold their feet to the fire on country first.

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