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Elections Discuss McCain's Prickly TIME Interview at the Political Forums; McCain at first seemed happy enough to do the interview. But his mood quickly soured. The McCain on display in ...

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Old 08-28-2008, 01:55 PM
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Post McCain's Prickly TIME Interview

McCain at first seemed happy enough to do the interview. But his mood quickly soured. The McCain on display in the 24-minute interview was prickly, at times abrasive, and determined not to stray off message. An excerpt:
What do you want voters to know coming out of the Republican Convention about you, about your candidacy?
I'm prepared to be President of the United States, and I'll put my country first.

There's a theme that recurs in your books and your speeches, both about putting country first but also about honor. I wonder if you could define honor for us?

Read it in my books.

I've read your books.
No, I'm not going to define it.

But honor in politics?
I defined it in five books. Read my books.

[Your] campaign today is more disciplined, more traditional, more aggressive. From your point of view, why the change?
I will do as much as we possibly can do to provide as much access to the press as possible.

But beyond the press, sir, just in terms of ...
I think we're running a fine campaign, and this is where we are.

Do you miss the old way of doing it?
I don't know what you're talking about.

Really? Come on, Senator.
I'll provide as much access as possible ...

In 2000, after the primaries, you went back to South Carolina to talk about what you felt was a mistake you had made on the Confederate flag. Is there anything so far about this campaign that you wish you could take back or you might revisit when it's over?
[Does not answer.]

Do I know you? [Says with a laugh.]
[Long pause.] I'm very happy with the way our campaign has been conducted, and I am very pleased and humbled to have the nomination of the Republican Party.

You do acknowledge there was a change in the campaign, in the way you had run the campaign?
[Shakes his head.]

You don't acknowledge that? O.K., when your aides came to you and you decided, having been attacked by Barack Obama, to run some of those ads, was there a debate?
The campaign responded as planned.

Jumping around a bit: in your books, you've talked about what it was like to go through the Keating Five experience, and you've been quoted as saying it was one of the worst experiences of your life. Someone else quoted you as saying it was even worse than being a POW ...
That's another one of those statements made 17 or 18 years ago which was out of the context of the conversation I was having. Of course the worst, the toughest experience of my life was being imprisoned, so people can pluck phrases from 17 or 18 years ago ...

I wasn't suggesting it as a negative thing. I was just saying that ...
I'm just suggesting it was taken out of context. I understand how comments are taken out of context from time to time. But obviously, the toughest time of my life, physically and [in] every other way, would be the time that I almost died in prison camp. And I think most Americans understand that.

How different are you from President Bush? Are you in step with your party? Are you independent from your party?
My record shows that I have put my country first and I follow the philosophy and traditions of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. Sometimes that is not in keeping with the present Administration or my colleagues, but I've always put my country first, whether it's saying I didn't support the decision to go to Lebanon or my fighting against the corruption in Washington or out-of-control pork-barrel spending, which has led to members of Congress residing in federal prison. So I've always stood up for a set of principles and a philosophy that I think have been pretty consistent over the years.

Your tougher line on Russia, which predated [the Russian invasion of Georgia], now to many looks prescient. Others say it's indicative of a belligerent approach to foreign policy that would perhaps further exacerbate the tensions being created with our allies and others around the world under the Bush Administration. How do you respond to that critique?
Well, it reminds me of some of the arguments we went through when Ronald Reagan became President of the United States. I think Russian behavior has been very clear, and I've pointed it out for quite a period of time, and the chronicle of their actions has been well known since President [Vladimir] Putin came to power, and I believe that it's very important that Russia behave in a manner befitting a very strong nation. They're not doing so at this time, so therefore I will criticize and in some cases in the case of the aggression against Georgia condemn them.

You were a very enthusiastic supporter of the invasion of Iraq and, in the early stages, of the Bush Administration's handling of the war. Are those judgments you'd like to revisit?
Well, my record is clear. I believe that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein. I believe it's clear that he had every intention to acquire and use weapons of mass destruction. I can only imagine what Saddam Hussein would be doing with the wealth he would acquire with oil at $110 and $120 a barrel. I was one of the first to point out the failure of strategy in Iraq under [former Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld. I was criticized for being disloyal to the Republicans and the President. I was the first to say I would lose a campaign rather than lose a war. I supported the surge. No observer over the last two years would say the surge hasn't succeeded. I believe we did the right thing.

A lot of people know about your service from your books, but most people don't know that you have two sons currently in the military. Can you describe what it means to have Jack and Jimmy in uniform?

We don't discuss our sons.
McCain's Prickly TIME Interview - TIME

Have the wheels come off the "straight talk" express?
Can the "straight talk" image live alongside the flagrant mud-slinging atmosphere that McCain has reveled in?

I doubt it. At least not if you want the man to be accountable for his own actions...
At least not up to the scrutiny of the 2000 McCain...
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Old 08-28-2008, 10:42 PM
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Default Re: McCain's Prickly TIME Interview

Well, McCain can be known to be quite abrasive at times when dealing with the media; this is not the first time he's cut off what he thinks is a smart-alecky reporter. The comment about not discussing his sons doesn't come as much of a surprise; he is quite private when he comes to discussing his family. However, some of his responses were pretty good, like the ones regarding Iraq and whether his administration would be a third term of Bush.
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Old 08-28-2008, 11:03 PM
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Post Re: McCain's Prickly TIME Interview

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Originally Posted by hussein View Post
Well, McCain can be known to be quite abrasive at times when dealing with the media; this is not the first time he's cut off what he thinks is a smart-alecky reporter. The comment about not discussing his sons doesn't come as much of a surprise; he is quite private when he comes to discussing his family. However, some of his responses were pretty good, like the ones regarding Iraq and whether his administration would be a third term of Bush.
I didn't realize he could be so easily rattled.
Doesn't bode well for a man who wants a job to handle situations of diplomacy where people won't always agree with him...

Quite frankly, what you describe of "smart-alecky" is very relevant.
People talk about "vetting", but how "vetted" is a man who used to stand for one thing during the majority of his career, and only recently turned around and embraced a completely different standard.
Some might say he sold his values out to get the Republican nomination.

I realize we're used to the old administration "media coverage" where Bush really DID NOT get pressed on his actions. But don't we deserve better than that?
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