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McCain Greeted by Antiwar Protesters at DC Speech

An anti-war protestor interrupts the speech by Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) June 10, 2008, in Washington. (Associated Press)

By Juliet Eilperin
It might have taken Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) a while to figure out how to deal with hecklers, but he seems to have nearly mastered it at this point.

Just minutes after the presumptive GOP nominee began speaking at the National Federation of Independent Business and eBay 2008 National Small Business Summit today here in the District, a protester stood up in the audience and began screaming "War is bad for small business!" As security officers hauled the woman away, McCain started riffing on how the incident highlighted the need for a more civil political debate this year.

"One of the things Americans are tired of, one of the things they're tired of is people yelling at each other in America, have you noticed that?" he said, to loud applause. "They want us to respect each other's opinions.... Americans want a dialogue."

Moments later, as McCain began detailing his tax cut plan, yet another female protester burst out with another chant, asking, "How can you possibly do that?" in light of the federal expenditures on the Iraq war. The crowd booed, and McCain invoked the old Ronald Reagan quip, saying, "There you go again, there you again."

While McCain returned to his prepared text, he couldn't help being amused by the spectacle. "Now that we know, now that I know who I will be facing in the general election..." he began, as the crowd laughed at what seemed to be a veiled reference to anti-war protesters.

The senator snorted loudly, commenting, "You can't make it up," before continuing with his speech about the need for lower taxes and health care tax credits. But when yet a third anti-war protester piped up, McCain had exhausted his supply of amusing retorts.

"I'm running out of funny lines," he bemoaned to the crowd.

The most useful section of the morning program, actually came before McCain took the stage, when eBay executive Tod Cohen outlined his "10 Lobbying Rules" to the audience of small business owners. The Trail's favorites included "1. Tell the truth"; "3. Make sure you ask for something"; and "10. Be thankful you don't do this everyday."

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 10, 2008; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  John McCain  
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