Republican candidate John McCain talks on phone (GG file photo)
was pleased to be able to participate in a Blogger Conference call with John McCain (Thanks Pat!). Once again, the Senator demonstrated, with his interaction between the varied bloggers and their questions, that he is not some automaton-like politician generating canned responses to carefully screened questions.
Say what you will about him on issues over which people can have differences of opinion, you cannot take away from the fact that McCain is ready and eager to take on all comers on ANY subject. After spending time hearing and speaking with the Arizona Senator, you cannot help but conclude he is up to speed on matters both large and small. Beyond that, he has a quick sense of humor that is spontaneous and genuine– exposing the fact that he has a fast functioning intellect and is really listening to the speaker during the moment. Carefully scripted politicians are best advised to avoid any deviation from the discussion at hand, lest they get into hot water for saying something stupid (John Kerry’s "joke" about the correlation between poor academics and joining the military comes to mind as an example of this). McCain suffers no such affliction.
McCain took eleven questions before having to shut off his phone as his plane took off. Prior to the Q&A, he gave a report about his Thanksgiving trip to Iraq where he met with US troops, who are quite happy with the recent successes quite evident throughout that country, along with top leaders of the Iraqi government and US military and diplomatic officials. McCain, of the Democrats and the mainstream media and the new reality at present in Iraq, said
"How anyone can ignore the situation on the ground is beyond me."
While noting that there are still troublesome pockets of Al-Sadr’s militia in Bagdad and that Gen’l. Petraus predicts the squeeze might cause an uptick in violence in some areas as Al-Qaeda continues to get cornered and/ or pushed back, and there’s still lots of work to do, definite progress is being made. McCain cautioned that any drawback of troops must be dictated by facts on the ground, not timetables.
The bottom line is that McCain sounds as ready as a person could be to assume the role of Commander-In Chief. With his military backround and detailed understanding of both the strategy employed and the cost and sacrifices he knows the men and women of the US military shoulder, he comes to the campaign table a formidable force to be reckoned with.
This was the question I asked when it was my turn:
Thanks for giving the blogging community this opportunity again, sir. I remain very much interested in the concept of a “Lincoln-Douglas” style debate between the nominees of the two Parties as proposed by Newt Gingrich. Two points. First, are you in favor in such a concept? And second, take a moment and give us how you would envision such a debate with Hillary Clinton. Describe how it might go…
Noting he would favor such a format, he said Americans are helped by additional debate. Such an event between him and Hillary would allow people to see "stark differences" between them. Whether it be pointing out her "suspension of belief" statement, in order to believe Petraus had a doable plan with the surge, to "her belief that every American have government health insurance and tax increases," McCain versus Clinton would offer a clear choice of "conservative versus liberal" positions on a "broad range of issues." This favors him, he said, because "most Americans are right-of center."
John McCain, combining his classic town hall style meetings
, frequent, close contact with members of the new media through these blogger conference calls
, and the famous ride-alongs
in the campaign bus
, continues to set the standard for campaigning in our modern, connected times. One salivates with the thought that perhaps, should he be successful and become the president, he might continue to maintain such open and direct contact with, what are in many instances, plain ordinary citizens