February 13, 2008

"Listen, I'll never forget you. You were the only guys who would listen to me for a couple of months. Do you think I'd ever forget you?"

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!


Joe said...

Hah. I like that.

Fen said...

He's right though. I wrote him off when Rasmussen had him dropping to 7%.

Verso said...

The media must love him for a reason. I guess he's probably just as good at wrangling bloggers as he is at wrangling the sycophantic media.

Fen said...

Nah, the only reason the media liked him was because he would routinely stick his party in the eye.

PatCA said...

I'm sure he will remember you all fondly and the time he spent busting his butt for coverage. So, good for him and good for America! What a life I've had, he must be thinking.

We have all these sure losers and unknowns rising to the top. It can still happen. And the media is wrong, wrong, wrong again and again.

XWL said...

What an astounding age gap!

Also, What an astounding experience gap!

(and I don't just mean in politics)

Simon said...

Graham wouldn't be a wise choice - the veep needs to be someone who shores up his weak spots, and Graham is seen by many as a co-conspirator with McCain on immigration and the gang of 14 - the latter being a grudge that's still held by some (not particularly rationally, IMHO, but still).

The Drill SGT said...

The debates will be interesting.

Obama gives a great speak from a teleprompter, but his off the cuff stuff or his debate performances are not even close.

I think McCain knows the facts and can take Obama in a debate.

peter hoh said...

I'm looking forward to that debate, too. I'd love to see both sides draw clear, substantial differences on key policy issues that actually matter.

I like McCain. Wish he had won the nomination back in 2000.

former law student said...

Isn't Lindsey Graham a big gay man (52, never married, no obvious girlfriend)? That would be an awesome story to compete with either The First Woman or The First African-American.

Would titus know?

MadisonMan said...

Why would McCain -- a Senator -- pick Lindsay Graham -- a Senator? What's that get him other than more Senatorial Experience on his ticket?

Both men offer us a break from old-style partisanship. What a gift the McCain-Obama debates will be!

Potentially, yes. The right-wing and left-wing noise machines will be spewing, however. It'll be interesting to see how the Candidates react.

Cedarford said...

Graham is a snake-weasel well hated by much of the Republican base in South Carolina and facing a likely significant primary challlenge for his many "betrayals". Like McCain, he is a backstabber of fellow Republicans and was the one running around calling fellow Republicans "racists" if they opposed the no-strings Amnesty he, McCain, and Ted Kennedy crafted in backrooms.

McCain selects the snake-weasel JAG, he again burns bridges to the Party Base and once again reminds voters of his treachery..

Other than Condi Rice (4 more years of Bushism!), Rumsfeld, Lieberman, and Pastor Huckleberry, Graham would be his worst VP pick possible, given the solid cadre of appealing, loyal, non-backstabbers out there in the Republican South and Midwest.

Through Lieberman would make an excellent pick for AG.

EnigmatiCore said...

"Isn't Lindsey Graham a big gay man".

I don't think he is all that big. He doesn't appear to be tall, nor does he look overweight.

PatCA said...

If he picks Graham, he will enrage everyone who might support the Republican out of Obama-fear.

We will see continuous replays of his remarks at La Raza-palooza, "We're gonna tell the bigots to shut up." The cool people will still vote for Obama and he will have lost many Republicans.

justme said...

I would have an awfully hard time looking past McCain's involvement with Charles Keating. The legislation McCain pushed in exchange for a 'donation' led to the Savings and Loan meltdown in the early 90's.

Now we have another financial mess with the sub prime mortgages and I'm wondering what campaign contributions led to the current debacle.

The problem of course is that Obama wants out of Iraq - a move that would be a replay of Clinton's leaving Somalia only orders of magnitudes worse.

I can only hope that Hillary wins the nomination (despite Gilette Penn's prediction to the contrary) in which case it's a slam dunk choice for McCain.

Patm said...

You know what? He seems authentic. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm sick of the phonies. I'd like me some authenticity in my candidate.

Will Conway said...

all is true, all is true

Richard said...

The debates will not be a gift Ann. McCain will get slaughtered, not on substance, but on style. It's going to make Nixon's collapse debating Kennedy look like child's play. Obama is a fad in an age where fads have real power. Unfortunately, he is a also a fad that will not have faded before November 2008. Obama will be a single term president, for sure, but I don't believe McCain stands a chance against him.

LonewackoDotCom said...

Althouse wanted to ask how McCain would like to stand next to Obama? Wow, what a toughie. I'm sure McCain would be quaking in his boots over the possibility of having to answer that!

Meanwhile, I'll give $10 to the first person - include Professor Althouse - who has what it takes to upload a video or audio recording of McCain's answers to either of these.

If McCain becomes president, everyone should remember all those who had the chance to ask him a real question and declined.

mikem said...

"Listen, I'll never forget you. You were the only guys who would listen to me for a couple of months. Do you think I'd ever forget you?"

Uh-oh. Stand by for some strategic anti-blogger slander from McCain.
Just ask the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

B said...


Obama will be prepped for the debates, but he cannot - and this is Everything- speak well on his own. Recent speeches without a teleprompter show him to stammer and start shouting leftist ideas (evil Exxon! - boo!)

Ann, even you decried Obama's stupid remarks and deer in the headlights foot-in-mouth during several of the debates.

The goal of thoughtful citizens is to constantly remind people of Obama's future "failures of policies past". Hone in on that over and over.

Obama's a big marshmallow - one of the fun "colors",not that pasty white kind - but he's still just a puff of air. Nothing there. And nobody lives long on a mostly marshmallow diet.

I do bet he'd taste great in a colorful Rice Krispie Treat.

S. Weasel said...

Age gap. Height gap. Likability gap.

We're toast.

UrbanBard said...

McCain is absolutely correct not to mention a running mate because that depends on whether he runs against Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

If Hillary is his opponent, then McCain needs to shore up his Conservative base by picking someone farther to the right. They won't say it outright, but will whisper that McCain's age demands a real Conservative to take over in an emergency. That means someone in the neighborhood of Romney, Thompson or Huckabee. It may not be them, because that person needs to deliver states that McCain won't attract.

If Barack Obama is his opponent, then McCain need a Conservative minority--a woman or a black to counter Obama's racist pull. Obama can be attacked on his lack of substance and experience.

It is risky to involve Iraq in this. But, if things are going well there, then it must be brought up because Obama has consistently opposed the war and been wrong. If he is wrong there, where is Obama right?