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A Sarcastic and Combative McCain Greets Iowa Editors

By Michael D. Shear
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Sen. John McCain has always loved the give-and-take of chatting with a bunch of reporters around a table. But he didn't seem to enjoy Tuesday's grilling by the Des Moines Register editorial board.

The Register posted video clips from the hour-long session on their website yesterday. In them, McCain was serious and aggressive, at times clenching his jaw as he offered curt and sarcastic answers.

With a microphone in front of him, McCain seemed stiff and uncomfortable -- a far cry from the easygoing chatter in the back of the bus that reporters remember from the early days of his campaign.

McCain got particularly testy when asked about his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and whether she has the experience to be president. Told that there are people who think she's not ready, McCain turned sarcastic.

"Really," he said with mock surprise. "I haven't detected that.... Now, if there's a Georgetown cocktail party person who, quote, calls himself a conservative, and doesn't like her, good luck, good luck, fine."

McCain also angrily dismisses the suggestion offered by a member of the editorial board that his campaign has diverted from the "Straight Talk" that had been its early hallmark.

"I think it would be valuable if you gave me some examples from, for an assertion of that nature," a clearly peeved McCain said.

The editor offered as an example a McCain ad which claimed that Obama supported comprehensive sex education for kindergarten children, a claim debunked by independent fact checkers.

"He did," McCain insisted. "He did. He did. I'll be glad to provide you -- we have the documentation. I'll be glad to provide it to you. Now, you may not accept that documentation. We have it and we found out it's true."

When the editors noted that McCain has enjoyed taxpayer financed health care plan his entire adult life, McCain offered another sarcastic answer.

"You know that's an interesting statement, isn't it," he said, smiling. "So, and I have never, um, been an astronaut, but I think I know the challenges of space. And I've never done a lot of things in my life that I think I am familiar with."

McCain continued by noting that his health care plan differs starkly from his opponent's, which he described as government-run health care. He then leaned back and appeared to reference his time as a prisoner of war.

"I did go a period of time where the health care wasn't so good."

By Web Politics Editor  |  October 1, 2008; 11:01 AM ET
Categories:  John McCain  
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If Barack Obama displayed any of the snark that John McCain does, he would be crucified. I also heard McCain declare again today that he wouldn't be running such negative ads (he called it the "tenor of the campaign") if Obama had agreed to the townhall meetings he demanded(translation: If Obama doesn't do what I say, I can lie about him all I want.).

Posted by: gsross | October 1, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse

I think after the VP debate tomorrow night, Sen McCain's judgement will be the only issue. I just read a blog where a more qualified female could have been on the ticket. Read up on Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-Washington). I think she would blow Gov Palin out of the water, and may have changed my mind about who to vote for this Nov.

Posted by: papaedde | October 1, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse


Perhaps you missed the post i was responding to right before that from AJ2008? I never started beating my wife, unlike Obama admitting he used cocaine. Now, can we test him?

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Wow John, way to win friends and an endorsment at the Register. I know that if they go for Obama it will be because they are such a liberal hot bed. Oh wait, Iowa?? My son lives there and he tells me they are as grounded a group of people as he's ever met. He also tells me he hasn't seen a McCain sign in months.

Posted by: risdmom | October 1, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

hard to figure why Mccain never made Admiral,Naval Academy grad,POW, father,and grandfather I Believe were Admirals.Could be .by running forPOTUS he can better them.

Posted by: donaldtucker | October 1, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

This is exactly why McCain should not have picked Palin.

She is unknown so the media will rightfully feast on her. She is unproven so every mistake she makes will be thoroughly examined.

It was a gamble to pick her. This is what happens when you gamble.

Posted by: jelow | October 1, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

With each passing day we see more and more stupidity being sold to the American people by insane McCain. If anyone with a grain of intelligence actually believes that Sarah Palin is qualified to step into the Presidents shoes, then they , along with John McCain should be required to have a psychiatric examination..

Posted by: pho_phobaby | October 1, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

JakeD wrote:
"I believe it's time for Obama to take a drug test and make sure he's still not using cocaine."

I reply:
Tell you what, JakeD, first you tell us if you've stopped beating your wife yet.

Posted by: eyesbright | October 1, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

When Mr. Magoo can't think of anything relevant to say, he gets mad and he plays the POW card.

I don't think his history as a prisoner has improved his judgment or made him qualified to be President.

If he's so unhappy being scrutinized by the media, why doesn't he just retire to one of his seven houses - if he can find one.

Posted by: Skeptic21 | October 1, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Beside the McCain-Palin campaign, who else believed that a solid education (like Harvard law) are despicable signs of arrogance, elitism, "disconnected'ness", and therefore not something to encourage:
1. Stalinist soviet Union, killing all potential leaders of Poland upon invading this country with the Nazis: Katyn massacre
2. Mao's People Republic of China during its "cultural revolution" sending everybody with a diploma to the rice fields, and killing some in the process while driving the country to starvation in the subsequent years as it simply lacked leadership in all domains
3. Communist Red Khmer Cambodia, that killed millions of its citizens: those with a university degree.
Nice company! Granted, these folks were not content with attemtping to purge the libraries from undesirable books, along with the librarians...they succeeded in their attempts, and eventually proceeded in wiping out the library goers. One step at a time I guess?

Posted by: guess_who | October 1, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Scary stuff. If I were the Obama camp, I'd play those video clips non-stop."Washington cocktail party"?? He was talking to editors in Iowa! What an angry little man. Keep his fingers away from "The Button". Yikes.

Posted by: thebobbob | October 1, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: dbw1 | October 1, 2008 12:04 PM

Stop whining and start your own newspaper. You are complaining about giving more attention to McCain's position when the Post is devoting this site solely to McCain. Are you one of these adults who has not grown up from the stage where the world centers around you?

If McCain does not learn to control his nastiness nothing will hold him back from loosing.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 1, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Of course the Post does have a nice....some might say "adoring"....picture of Obama on their main politics page this morning.

C'mon, guys....where are those mean, scowling pictures of McCain you like to plaster all over your news stories?

Please, quit accusing the Post of bias. Our constitution protects our freedom to worship however we choose, so just let the Post politics writers worship whoever they's their right.

Posted by: dbw1 | October 1, 2008 12:10 PM | Report abuse


So, now McCain can't even bring up the fact he was held captive to rebut the false claim that he has "enjoyed taxpayer financed health care plan his entire adult life"? If someone stands up and says "You were not a POW" is he allowed to say" Yes, I was"?

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse


"When you have nothing to say, say nothing! Little man!"

Typical ad hominem response from an Obama supporter.


Posted by: Billw3 | October 1, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Mccain lies about his lying.
We do not need a president like that.
The sex education thing about Obama was debunked and he insists it is true, eventhough it's clearly a major SLANDER/LIE on his part.
This man gets testy if anyone confronts him with his own contradictions.
He's scary. And does not need to be president.

Posted by: cmmdee | October 1, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmmmmm......the mainstream Post, who continues to assert their 'balanced' and 'non-partisan' coverage of this election, has two more anti-Palin articles on their main political page this morning, and yet another Bush-bashing piece.

Yet, our 'non-partisan' friends at the Washington Post have ZERO articles on the new stories of:
- Nancy Pelosi's PAC giving gobs of money to her husbands firm over the past decade.
- the conflict of interest that tomorrow nights VP debate moderator has, in that she (Gwen) is writing a pro-Obama book due for release in January.

Good job, Washington Post. That should lay to rest claims of press bias....

p.s. it took Post editors about 30 seconds to get a story up about the Rick Davis / Fannie Mae story last week. Wonder how long it will take them to post the similar story now about Pelosi. Days? Months?

Wait, let me guess. It's not "newsworthy"......yeah, it never is if it's a Democrat, only if it's a Republican.

Posted by: dbw1 | October 1, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

"I believe it's time for Obama to take a drug test and make sure he's still not using cocaine."

If he was it would make no difference to the type followers he has.


Posted by: Billw3 | October 1, 2008 11:48 AM

When you have nothing to say, say nothing! Little man!

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 1, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Hey John!
You're overworking the P.O.W. stuff.

Most of us are P.O.R.E. (Prisoners of Republican Economy).

Posted by: rooster54 | October 1, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

It would be worth while watching The Register clip called Straight Talk. McCain attempts to make a point by simply repeating it and speaking very authoritatively. That kind of tactic works well with people who do not know the facts or really do not care but for the knowledgeable and those wishing knowledge it was a bust.

I have never heard Mr McCain referred to as a bully but that is what he appeared to be. I know there will be other interpretations by the other side. I feel confident that his ability to influence will be poor. He was simply repeating his behavior from the debate.

The bravado for McCain at this time is not warranted. McCain may have some campaign deception that he plans to pull off to win but the man I saw in that interview hardly seemed worthy of the office he seeks. McCain combined with Palin would assure a descent in world power that this financial crisis could prelude.

Posted by: Gator-ron | October 1, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Sarcasm and combativeness are classic traits of angry people who seek power and control. John McCain's word view is all about being in control. He is a scary guy. .............

Posted by: glclark4750 | October 1, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse


"I believe it's time for Obama to take a drug test and make sure he's still not using cocaine."

If he was it would make no difference to the type followers he has.


Posted by: Billw3 | October 1, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

The McCain/Palin handlers are in a quandary. Keep the two candidates away from the press and the American people suspect that they're fools. Let them loose to talk to the press and the American people know they're fools.

The best the McCain managers can do is release of photo up of "Gidget goes to Debate Camp". My bet is that Gidget will have a microphone embedded in her ear for the debate tomorrow night.

Posted by: bamccampbell | October 1, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse


"Obama is real Presidential and he maintained a smile during the debate and while McCain had a constant grin and disdain towards Obama."

Sure, Obama smiles like the kid who got away with his dirty deeds. With his shady background he deserves more than disdain.


Posted by: Billw3 | October 1, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

McCain is a liar. Songbird got excellent health care while a prisoner of war in exchange for collaborating with the enemy.
As he says, he was "broken." When will he finally fess up to just how "broken" he was? He should be awaiting court martial -- not running for President.

Needless to say, he is a mean, mean, old man. Just what we don't need.

Posted by: mnjam | October 1, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

For this as a prime example of racism in the RNC/GOP Lie Machine...

Bush-worshiping Minnesota congresswoman who's now an ANWR drilling zealot, sends a racist message in code via the religious-right site OneNewsNow, while pretending to talk about energy:

An urban America -- the Democrats' vision?

...Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minnesota) says it has not escaped Democrats what the cost of gasoline and loss of jobs are doing to the country.

"This is their agenda," Bachmann states bluntly. "I know it is hard to believe, it's hard to fathom -- but this is 'mission accomplished' for them," she asserts. "They want Americans to take transit and move to the inner cities. They want Americans to move to the urban core, live in tenements, take light rail to their government jobs. That's their vision for America." ...

In a sense, the Republicans made a pact with the devil. They sold their political soul to the hatred of the government devil, in return for dominance in American politics.

The Republicans demonized government and the liberals.

And no one clearly denounces the Republican Party for being virtual anarchists -- always promising tax cuts and to hell with government functioning. Actually, there is a method to the madness of the Republicans.

They claim that government is bad and so taxes have to be cut, then government functioning does indeed become bad in many areas because of the lack of funding, and then the Republican use the damage (that they caused) as evidence that government is no good.

It because a destructive cycle with the government getting worse and the public becoming more and more cynical.

The conservative emphasis on hatred of government is very attuned with racism. Racism encourages hatred and hatred of government, especially a pro-Civil Rights government, is very compatible with racism.

The forces of Republican, Southern, and born-again Christian racism and moralism reinforces each other in a blend of very nasty, vindictive rhetoric.

Southern racists have always insisted that they were more religious than any other segment of the population.

And Southern religion, largely being racist, has an exaggerated sense of moralism.

Vernon Johns always used to marvel that the most "religious" part of the country was also the worst violator of Civil Rights.

This attitudinal mixture of racist moralism, so typical of the South and now so typical of the Republicans, was practiced by the Republicans in spades and to excess to paralyze the presidency of the Democratic president, William Jefferson Clinton.

The Republicans were able to paralyze the Democrats by their constant misuse of legislative committees and hearings. Somehow the Republicans have been able to substitute their racist moralism for any balanced sense of decency and fair play.

Somehow they have decided that anyone in political life that they don't like and who has committed adultery is deserving of being replaced in political office or paralyzed in their exercise of political office.

It has been a long time since the American political culture has experienced such vindictive and hateful rhetoric.

The moralists, who are supposed to be more moral than the rest of us, feel that it is justified to describe Obama as an "elitist" just another word for "uppity"

We became used to "hate" radio, with Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter,...Now its Hate TV..

Angry white men with a Republican bent now shout their anger and racist moralisms and accusations at the top of their lungs.

On cable TV, almost the entire Fox News network is a very conservative, I would even say racist, network.

A great tragedy is that the liberals have not spoken up for themselves.

They have not defended Democratic values and beliefs, but rather have either remained silent...

McCarthy was going around pretending he was more moral, more loyal, to the United States and that others were "beyond the pale" and had to be stopped, or at least punished. No one spoke up against McCarthyism until McCarthy went too far and took on the United States Army.

One reason for the Democrats silence and weakness against the moral terrorism of the Republicans is that the Democrats have themselves unleashed moralism by their insistence that everyone use "politically correct" speech.

Liberals can go so far to the left in some areas that they come to resemble their opponents.

The puritanism in the "politically correct" movement is one with the moralism of the racists.

...too bad
...This is why ALL americans need to finally see that the republicans must go...

Posted by: AlexP1 | October 1, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse


I believe it's time for Obama to take a drug test and make sure he's still not using cocaine.

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse


Whenever McCain can't answer questions on domestic issues, he always goes back to his POW days, which were 40 years ago!

Now one person in the media has noticed the excessive blinking/drooping in McCain's left eyelid of late. I believe its time for McCain to have another medical exam to make sure things are okay.

Posted by: AJ2008 | October 1, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Bipartisanship and ? Maverick McCain.

Dear concerned citizens of America and Mass Media of the U.S.A.
As a concerned registered independent voter, forensic psychiatrist, disabled American I made my decision to vote after taking into consideration following joint tickets attributes and characteristics.

1. Has the ticket shown adequate calmness, coolness, and connectedness's under pressure to lead our nation [Presidential Temperament]?
2. Has the ticket shown sustained sound "Judgment and Caliber"?
3. Has the ticket shown adequate understanding of depth and degree to address the crucial challenges in their their purpose, policies, and positions [ Honesty, integrity and sincerity]?
4. Has the ticket sufficient "understanding and knowledge" of inside Washington workings [Experience]"?
5. Has the ticket reservoir resilience, wisdom, and vigor to address the present and future f our beloved "Great-grand Nation"?
6. Has the ticket enough joint foreign policy experience and exposure based on " Values, Virtues, Vastness, and " [American moral soul]"?
7. Has their campaign talk, slogans, ads, plans, and programs based on facts and are they free of fear, fiction, frivolous labels, unfair attacks, negativity, and impulsively? [No "imminent danger to national
security and safety"].
8. Has the ticket genuinely kept on message of country first and politics last and avoided copying [Message change"]?
9.Has the ticket message stayed away from Culture divide and war[ Disaster prevention ]?
10. Has the ticket resisted being surrounded, supported and surrogate's by divisiveness, distortion's, and destructive characters, [ Real patriotism VS shiftiness and shameless parrot-ism]?
11. Has the ticket thoughtful, real non-partisan, & non-impulsive plans to address our current economic crisis or political tactics and temperamental statements.
I have personally and professionally concluded that OBAMA-BIDEN ticket will lift and inspire our greatgrand nation back to its greatness within and restore our global standing with the use of maximum, firm
international diplomacy and minimal force if and when indicated {" Peace thru Strenght "}.
12. The era of responsibility has to replace irresponsibility and unaccountability will change to accountability and transparency. The Wall Street greed will change to Main Street need.
13. Temperamental and Angry McCain is out to play and create a card mistrust and distress around Obama with the Vail of claim that he will bring bipartisanship in Washington DC. He is destroying him claim every by painting Obama naive. It is tragic, sad, and unfortunate that so called Maverick McCain has already generated a disdain and demeaning face off in the debates and bailout suggestion. Obama is real Presidential and he maintained a smile during the debate and while McCain had a constant grin and disdain towards Obama.

Yours sincerely,

COL. A.M.Khajawall [Ret] MD.
Forensic psychiatrist, Disabled American Veteran and Iraq
Freedom team. Grass roots California leader per Senator McCain's

PS: It is sad and unfortunate that Hon, Temperamental and angry Maverick McCain had a constant grin and disdain towards his debater bedides being combative.

Posted by: akhajawall | October 1, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

McCain: My health care plan is different because I was a POW

Nice try.

McCain the vain celebrity who was in wedding crashers and has a TV movie about him is angry nobody likes him anymore.

Posted by: PJF311 | October 1, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

TRAIL-POSTER, BEWARE: IS BIG BROTHER HACKING YOU? OR (if the link becomes disabled) re: "The Parallel Internet..."

If links won't work, please notify admins via their contact page, or a post to one of their blogs.

"Eternal vigilante is the price of protecting the First Amendment..."

Posted by: scrivener50 | October 1, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

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