John McCain, on the phone with the bloggers, responding to a blogger thanking him for continuing doing phone calls with bloggers.
ADDED AFTER THE CALL: That line really struck me, because I vividly remember being on one of those old blogger calls, listening to him and thinking how sad, he has to act like he doesn't know he hasn't got a chance. I really thought there was no way he could win. On the call today, at one point, Ed Morrissey made the wisecrack that if they make a movie of McCain's campaign, George Romero should direct it. McCain laughed and seemed to appreciate the joke. I wonder if he has watched "Night of the Living Dead." Someone could make a YouTube video, in the style of "Mystery Science Theater," and do a John McCain voiceover to a zombie movie.
MORE: Let's get to some serious stuff now. McCain resisted efforts to push him to reveal anything about his VP selection, but I noticed that — on other questions — he brought up the name Lindsey Graham at least twice.
First, he said he's in contact with Lindsey Graham who is in Baghdad telling him that the Iraqi government has just passed a law that takes some of the steps the U.S. has demanded. (This will show that the war opponents are "absolutely wrong" and "we are obviously succeeding.")
Second, when he was asked if he was concerned about the military commission trials in which 6 Guantanamo detainees are facing the death penalty, he said "no, I would not have concerns," and his reason was that he is relying on what he hears from Lindsey Graham, who is "intimately involved with this whole processs." (The detainees, he said, "don't deserve the protection that a citizen would have," that the procedures "are appropriate," and "I just wish we had done it years ago.")
Asked about rumors that he has plans to resign his Senate seat, he said he had "no inclination" to do so. Asked if it would be fair to ask Huckabee to withdraw from the race, he said he was "not in any way trying to pressure him to get out of the race." He said, "I respect him and I like him" and he's "proud of" the "tenor of the campaign." On the subject of whether it helps to have Huckabee in the race so the media will keep paying attention, he said he would "rather get it wrapped up."
McCain stressed that he would show the "stark" and "dramatic" differences between him and the Democratic candidate, whether it is Obama or Clinton. He wasn't openly assuming that Obama would be the nominee, but he said "Obama has significant wind at his back." He said — beginning with his signature phrase "and, look, let me give you some straight talk" — that Clinton and Obama are really "energizing" things on the Democratic side "and I know I have to do that here."
I would have liked to get my question in — I punched in late — and asked how he would deal with standing next to Obama, who — we can see from his Madison speech — is going to honor McCain for his past service but hold himself out as the man for the future. How will McCain out-energize that? I know McCain said: "I can work 16-18 hrs a day 7 days a week." But that sounds like Hillary's approach. You can be the hardest worker and still lose.
It's going to be quite something when — I assume it's when — those two men stand side-by-side and debate. What an astounding age gap! How different they are in so many other ways. And yet there are some wonderful similarities: Both men offer us a break from old-style partisanship. What a gift the McCain-Obama debates will be!