McCain brings out the age jokes on Leno

McCain brings out the age jokes on Leno

By MARTIN KADY II | 8/25/08 9:29 PM EST


LOS ANGELES — Now it’s John McCain’s turn to make age jokes about himself. 

Walking onto the set of “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” Monday afternoon, McCain had the funnies cued up: 

“You forgot to mention that I warned the people about the British coming,” McCain said after Leno introduced the senator as a hero. 

McCain added that he’s so old that “my Social Security number is eight.” 

Leno wished McCain a happy birthday in advance of his 72nd birthday on Friday, and this time Leno had one in the holster: 

“We were gonna have a cake, but the fire marshal said, ‘That many candles?’” 

Some of the press traveling with McCain were not in the Burbank studios of “The Tonight Show,” but we were allowed to listen to audio of the interview via a conference call, so the comments are from audio only. The show will air tonight at 11:30 p.m. on NBC. 

Leno didn’t let McCain off the hook, offering him $1 million to answer how many houses he owned and noting that the White House would be a nice addition. 

“You’ve got enough of those. … You need a white one, too?” 

McCain used that to turn serious for a few moments, and had a ready answer after stumbling over the “How many houses do you own” question in last week’s interview with Politico. 

“I spent 5½ years in a prison cell; I didn’t have a house,” McCain said. “I didn’t have a table. I didn’t have a chair. … You know, I’m very proud of Cindy’s father. … He made the American dream

“This has nothing to do with houses. It has to do with putting Americans in houses and keeping them in their houses.” 

McCain also said that while he is happy to be tied in polls today, “I’ve always wanted to be the underdog.” 

He also repeated his respect for Joe Biden, Barack Obama’s pick for running mate, saying that “he’ll make a good running mate for Obama,” but he pointed out that Biden has been ranked the third most liberal Democrat in the Senate. 

And McCain had one last joke when asked about the vice presidential speculation, saying that Gov. Tim Pawlenty, if he was chosen, might have a tough time debating the loquacious Biden. 

“The problem for him might be getting a word in edgewise,” McCain said. 

The Leno appearance is part of a California swing Monday that included a fundraiser in Sacramento and another money event this evening at the Beverly Hilton, where this report is being filed.


Archbishop scolds pro-choice Biden Valerie Richardson and Julia Duin

Archbishop scolds pro-choice Biden

Valerie Richardson and Julia Duin

DENVER | Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. arrived at the Democratic National Convention on Monday amid rumblings over whether his pro-choice Catholicism would help or hurt the Democratic ticket.

An Irish-Catholic from a working-class upbringing, Mr. Biden won the nod as presumptive presidential nominee Barack Obama’s running mate in part because of his appeal to blue-collar Catholics, the same voters who swung during the primary for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

Although he represents Delaware in the Senate, Mr. Biden grew up in Pennsylvania, a must-win state for Democrats in November.

But the party’s hopes of winning the critical Catholic vote took a hit Sunday when Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver said Mr. Biden should avoid taking Communion as a result of his pro-choice stand on abortion.

Archbishop Chaput, who was scheduled to lead a pro-life candlelight vigil Monday night here in front of Planned Parenthood, called Mr. Biden’s support for abortion rights “seriously wrong,” said archdiocese spokeswoman Jeanette De Melo.

“I certainly presume his good will and integrity,” said the archbishop, “and I presume that his integrity will lead him to refrain from presenting himself for Communion if he supports a false ‘right’ to abortion.”

The archbishop, who was not invited to speak at any convention events in what appeared to be a deliberate snub, told the Associated Press that he would like to speak privately with Mr. Biden.

The debate underscored what has emerged as a central theme of this year’s convention: the tension between the Democratic Party’s renewed outreach to religious voters and its long-standing support for unfettered access to abortion.

At a panel discussion Monday sponsored by Google on “The Shifting Faith Vote: What It Means for the Election,” panelists said that concerns over social issues, such as poverty, are moving some faith-based voters away from the Republican Party.

At the same time, they haven’t aligned with the Democrats, primarily because of the abortion issue.

“The push for the Democratic Party is to have a new position on abortion,” said Steve Waldman, editor of the religious Web site “When you look at Catholics and evangelicals, you see that they agree with 80 percent of what [Mr. Obama] says, but there’s this stumbling block with abortion.”

Whether pro-choice Catholics should take Communion became a major issue in 2004 during Democrat John Kerry’s run for the presidency when more than a dozen bishops, including Archbishop Chaput, publicly asked the senator from Massachusetts not to present himself for the Eucharist.

Their stance may have given a boost to President Bush, who increased his share of the Catholic vote from 47 percent in 2000 to 52 percent in 2004.

Catholics, the nation’s largest religious voting bloc, represent 26 percent of the electorate. Alexia Kelley, executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, said that 11 percent of those this year are considered “swing voters,” more than in any recent election year.

Catholic advocacy groups didn’t wait long before weighing in on the “wafer wars.” The conservative Catholic group Fidelis condemned the selection of Mr. Biden.

“Now everywhere Biden campaigns, we’ll have this question of whether a pro-abortion Catholic can receive Communion. … Selecting a pro-abortion Catholic is a slap in the face to Catholic voters,” said Fidelis President Brian Burch.

Julia Duin reported from Washington.

McCain uses Vietnam ordeal against jibes over wealth

McCain uses Vietnam ordeal against jibes over


Mon Aug 25, 2008 11:11pm EDT

By Andrew Gray

BURBANK, California (Reuters) – John McCain, who often invokes his ordeal as a Vietnam war prisoner to show his devotion to his country as he runs for U.S. president, drew on the experience again on Monday — this time to deflect sniping over the number of houses he owns.

McCain’s Democratic rival Barack Obama last week accused the Republican senator of being out of touch with ordinary people after he was unable to say in an interview how many houses were owned by him and his wife Cindy, a wealthy heiress to a beer distributorship.

In an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, McCain, 71, said his priority was to keep Americans in their homes in tough economic times.

Then he recalled his Vietnam experience.

“I spent 5 1/2 years in a prison cell without — I didn’t have a house. I didn’t have a kitchen table. I didn’t have a table. I didn’t have a chair,” he said.

“I spent those 5 1/2 years … not because I wanted to get a house when I got out.”


Rising energy prices and the faltering economy have become central issues in the race for the White House. The next president will inherit problems including a mortgage crisis that has cost many Americans their homes.

McCain said he was prepared to deal with that and sought to play down the controversy over his family’s assets.

“I’m proud of my record of service to this country and it has nothing to do with houses. What it has to do with (is) putting Americans in houses and keeping them in their homes. And that’s what I know how to do,” he said to loud cheers from the studio audience.

On the show the Arizona senator listed four homes he and his wife have — one in the Washington area, two in Arizona and one in California. Media reports and Democrats have said the couple have at least seven properties when investments are included.

McCain said he was proud of the way his wife’s father had built up a large business after fighting in World War Two.

With the Democrats engaged in their convention in Denver this week that will formally nominate Obama and the Republicans due to meet next week, polls show the two candidates locked in a dead heat in the popular vote. McCain predicted a tight finish in the November 4 election

Obama’s house in the affluent Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park is worth more than $1.5 million, and he has made millions from the publication of two autobiographical books.

C’mon Michelle, Take Off Your Mask – Obama’s DNC Puff Piece – Video

Kick-Ass McCain 3:00 AM National Security Ad

Hussein’s Dread: 21% Of Dem Women Say They’ll Vote McCain – With Video

“South Side Girl;” Update: Message – Michelle loves America!; daughters on stage

Or else what, Michelle?

Fighting back against Obama’s thugs

Obama Calls on the Justice Department to Censor Oppo ad

Obama Calls on the Justice Department to Censor

Oppo ad

Rick Moran

I have heard it many times from conservatives; Obama is not a tough guy, that he will wilt under the pressure of a national campaign.

I hate to break the news to my fellow righties but that’s nonsense. Obama cut his teeth in one of the toughest political towns in America — Chicago. He can go for the throat with the best of them — as he is proving today by filing a complaint with the Department of Justice over an ad put out by an independent 527 group about his relationship with unreconstructed terrorist Bill Ayers. Ben Smith of Politico writes:

Sen. Barack Obama has launched an all-out effort to block a Republican billionaire’s efforts to tie him to domestic and foreign terrorists in a wave of negative television ads. Obama’s campaign has written the Department of Justice demanding a criminal investigation of the “American Issues Project,” the vehicle through which Dallas investor Harold Simmons is financing the advertisements.

The Obama campaign — and tens of thousands of supporters — also is pressuring television networks and affiliates to reject the ads. The effort has met with some success: CNN and Fox News are not airing the attacks.

Obama has also launched his own response ad, directly addressing Simmons’ attempt to link him to domestic terror. The project is “a knowing and willful attempt to violate the strictures of federal election law,” Obama general counsel Bob Bauer wrote to Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Keeney last week in a letter provided to Politico.

Bauer argued that by advocating Obama’s defeat, the ad should be subject to the contribution limits of federal campaign law, not the anything-goes regime of issue advocacy.

Obama’s response is being hailed as a monumental blunder. First of all, it is extraordinarily weak in that it 1) admits Ayers is a “radical;” 2) wonders why McCain is worried what happened 40 years ago when the issue is how Ayers feels now about what he did; and 3) mentioning that Obama was 8 years old when Ayers committed his terrorist acts is not only irrelevant, but weird – a jarring disconnect between the issues raised in the ad and any coherent response by the Obama campaign.

The question of why Obama is on a first name basis with a terrorist is a legitimate one to bring up. But Obama’s first response was to try a little hardball and sic the Justice Department on the group putting it out. Not only that, Obama is threatening an advertiser backlash directly to TV stations that run the ad.

As I said, this is hardball politics as its played in the Windy City. And those who believe Obama can’t get in the muck and root around with the worst of them are underestimating where this guy comes from and of what he is capable of doing if he falls behind.

I have more thoughts about Obama playing hardball and “The Chicago Way” here.

Update — D.M. Giangreco writes:

The interesting thing, though, is that this isn’t Chicago where “the fix is in” and doesn’t account for what happens if Mr. Simmons simply chuckles at the opportunity he is now presented with instead of being cowed.  

If he shoves back it will force news coverage of the pissing match and garner media coverage / discussion  — “reach” — far beyond what could have been accomplished through the dollars spent on the original ad.