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John McCain

For McCain, There's Never a Down Moment

By Michael D. Shear
ABOARD THE McCAIN PLANE -- As his rival headed to Hawaii for some R&R, John McCain admitted Friday that the rigors of the modern presidential campaign can be difficult to endure.

Chatting with three reporters toward the end of a 16-hour day that placed him in Ohio, Iowa, Arkansas and Nevada, McCain said he rarely gets time to relax, even when his public schedule lists a "down day."

"It seems that when I do that, then they fill it up with briefings and prep and issues and meetings," he said, sighing. "Last Saturday, okay, that is a down day. Start out with meetings, and it lasts all day long until the evening. Ah. I see."

McCain, who turns 72 on Aug. 29, has earned a reputation as a tireless campaigner who traveled around New Hampshire from dawn to dusk during the primaries, towing worn-out reporters behind.

But since locking up the Republican nomination, his schedule has seemed more civilized -- few obnoxiously early morning events; most weekends "off" in Arizona; none of the back-to-back-to-back events that characterized the frenetic Democratic primary.

"I think the thing that helps me, I probably -- I don't know if you like this much detail -- if I can sleep in to about 7:30 or 8, then it really helps me," McCain said, offering a rarely offered glimpse into the psychology of a presidential candidate. "When I get up real early, like 5:30 or 6, then, you know, you don't go to bed until 10, 10:30 or 11 -- it seems to help me to get up a little later in the morning."

That presents another difference that voters can weigh with his rival. Obama is often up and out early -- 6 or 6:30 in the morning -- usually for a workout at the gym. His day often ends later than McCain's, with a dinner that keeps him out later.

That's not to say that McCain doesn't have long days; he said they come often enough. But if the campaign is eager to give him some extra rest, it may be to avoid what McCain acknowledges are the consequences otherwise.

"I just get a little more tired," he said, quickly adding, "Never cranky, or testy. I just think I do better. I kinda can tell, and I think [my staff] can tell you, if I put in three or four 18-hour, 20-hour days in a row, then I'm not sharp. It's just a fact. I can be sharp if I get a little more rest."

In truth, because of his age, McCain's sharpness has been discussed far more often than it has for Obama, who is 47. When McCain makes verbal slipups, or gaffes, he is often called on them, as he was when he mixed up Shiite Muslims and Sunni Muslims while in Jordan.

But should he win, McCain would not be the first president to pursue a good night's sleep. The first President Bush went to bed early. Bill Clinton tended to get to his Oval Office later in the morning, after staying up longer. And the current president is famous for going to bed at a reasonable hour but getting up early.

As the plane flew toward Las Vegas on Friday night, McCain touched on some other subjects.

He said he has particularly enjoyed the less formal events on his schedule, singling out the Iowa State Fair, which he had visited earlier in the day, and the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D., earlier in the week.

"I like the reaction of people. I liked going to the Iowa State Fair this morning. I liked going to Sturgis," he said, making the sound of a Harley revving its engine. "Grrr grrr grrr. I like those things. It seems to me that we're going to ... those kinds of things that are really fun, that I would never be able to do otherwise."

Responding to a question about the negative tone of the campaign, McCain said his campaign had tried to "show a lot of humor" as they sought to draw comparisons with Obama. "I think it has been good humor. I really do."

But he quickly turned serious, saying that it was the Democrats who had started things.

"First negative ads against me were Moveon.org. Against me. Next was by the [Democratic National Committee], against me. The next was by Senator Obama, against me. Those were negative ads and we responded," he said. "I can show you the time line."

Asked whether he planned to gamble in Vegas, where his campaign was staying for two nights, the one-time inveterate craps player said, "Nah. I can't. I have not gambled in years, really. I can't remember. I'll figure it out but its been a long time."

So what was he going to do after his mid-afternoon speech Saturday?

"We have a series of meetings," he said, turning to Mark Salter, one of his top aides. "Local interviews and stuff. We have a full day."

Posted at 12:01 AM ET on Aug 9, 2008  | Category:  John McCain
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Posted by: joseph | August 11, 2008 7:45 PM

...McCaint will need his sleep so he won't place Polident in his drink and put Alka-Seltzer in with his dentures....

Please...age a "real" issue...how about sleep deprivation and the RNC/GOP lies he needs to believe....
..... THAT... has been keeping him from getting any sleep.....and dreams of Cindy doing a "lap dance" at Sturgis

Laughable.....

Posted by: AlexP1 | August 11, 2008 8:10 AM

...McCaint will need his sleep so he won't place Polident in his drink and put Alka-Seltzer in with his dentures....

Please...age a "real" issue...how about sleep deprivation and the RNC/GOP lies he needs to believe....

..... THAT... is what has been keeping him from getting any sleep..

...and dreams of Cindy doing a "lap dance" at Sturgis

Laughable.....

Posted by: AlexP1 | August 11, 2008 8:10 AM

...McCaint will need his sleep so he won't place Polident in his drink and put Alka-Seltzer in with is dentures....

Please...age a "real" issue...how about sleep deprivation and the RNC/GOP lies he needs to believe....
..... THAT... has been keeping him from getting any sleep.....and dreams of Cindy doing a "lap dance" at Sturgis

Laughable.....

Posted by: AlexP1 | August 11, 2008 8:10 AM

Let me sum up your article for you... McCain takes the weekends off but we're going to let him lie about it and he does need 10 hours of sleep or he is grumpy. Can I sit in the front of the plane now?

Posted by: Laughable Commentariat | August 10, 2008 5:29 AM

That's alright, he is outsourcing his foreign policy to his sidekick Lieberman (apt to be his VP choice) so he can take longer weekends off and catch up on his rest.

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Posted by: nocnab | August 9, 2008 7:34 PM

Actually McCain is in better health than Kennedy was when he was in Office. McCain is also healthier than any of the Presidents in office before the 60's. Air pollution was so bad, people dies younger. So 71 years old is really not that old anymore. Go down to Florida there are people in their 90's that play 18 holes of golf once or twice a week. So get off the age thing. Obama could have a heart attack, has anyone noticed what he eats (not very healthy)fried chicken dinners. LOL LOL

Posted by: Denise E. May | August 9, 2008 7:31 PM

McCain can hold his own with anyone, even those much younger than he.

The Obama supporters that want to talk about age and throw slurs at McCain due to his age, need to shut up whenever someone throws a few at their annointed "one" who is twice the age of a large segment of his supporters. But, of course, if anyone mentions anything even remotely critical of Obama then his supporters are all outraged and angry and ... ridiculously misguided.

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I still believe there's at least a 50/50 chance that the GOP will replace McCain with a better candidate before this fall.


Having an angry misguided old fart (McCain) as your candidate doesn't exactly inspire the masses.


McCain - He's Not Old, He's Ancient!
-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HG_RV6EQFSg

Posted by: Dano | August 9, 2008 2:52 PM

The current president has a mandated 9pm bedtime. By comparison, McCain comes out pretty well.

http://politicswithagrin.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Kristen | August 9, 2008 12:14 PM

Let's see, this is the same John McCain & Abel who complained before a bikers' convention that Congress was going into summer recess. And that wouldn't be the Senator for Arizona who hasn't been seen in the Senate for how long? What was his last hard-working vote? Remind me, was it the extension of the GI Bill to veterans from the Iraq war, No? Was it in April? Try March? That's a lot of down time.

Come on, a hard-working McCain supporter must know the Senator's voting record and can answer this one.

Hard work hardly working Chris Brown in Hamburg

Posted by: chrisbrown1 | August 9, 2008 11:42 AM

So much for the charge the press favors Obama by writing uncritical puff pieces.

What an article!
McCain is such a nice man who works so hard.
No questioning on the distortions and outright lies in these ads he says are just humorous.

No questions about his record of voting against the interets of these people who he loves to be with.

Posted by: toldyouso | August 9, 2008 11:41 AM

I've heard so much criticism of McCain (McChange) and his age. But! At least the guy knows that Iran is a threat! "Bomb, bomb, bomb, .. Bom, Bomb Iran!"

Here is idiot's views on Iran... Senator Obama has been downplaying the Iran threat, saying that "they are just a small country"?!??!?!?!

Did you know that Iran is a bigger country than France, Great Britian, and Half the size of Russia! 1/5 of the U.S.!?/!

Not a threat?! Obama is clearly the threat.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/06/irrelevant_apologies.html

Read it!

If you vote for Obama, you vote for the enemy. McChange's Mitt will catch the American Economy!

McChange/Romney 08' "Because there is no other solution!"

Posted by: Not a Pawn to ObamaCon! | August 9, 2008 11:40 AM

The rigors of the presidential campaign season and the presidency due take a toll on the candidates. Look at how much older Bill Clinton and GW Bush look in just 4 to 8 years.

And at 71 years of age (soon to be 72), no one has endeavored to ask what medications is McCain own. The types of medications come be a better signal to McCain's health than the 3,000 page limited three-hour review of his medical documents.

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | August 9, 2008 11:24 AM

Harry Truman napped and was a great President. It's not the hours, it's the results. I'm sure Andy Rooney, would concur, but he's not running for President.

Churchill had a little drink! To each their own and, since I feeling a bit "pecky", I think I'll emulate Truman. Back in an hour.

Posted by: Rip Van Winkle | August 9, 2008 10:51 AM

Don't forget the Geritol before you go to bed, grandpa!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 9, 2008 7:41 AM

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Posted by: Anonymous | August 9, 2008 7:41 AM

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