A Lovable Maverick Flashes His Temper

When you’re the darling of the press, you’re feisty. When you’re the Republican nominee for President, you’re dangerously unstable. Hence the Associated Press Headline: “McCain Flashes Temper At Reporter.” The reference is to John McCain’s exchange with Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times; Bumiller told McCain that she’d been looking at stories in the Times and found that in April 2004 McCain denied having talked with John Kerry about being Kerry’s Vice-Presidential nominee.
McCain responded that everyone in America (more or less) knows that he had such a conversation with Kerry, but perhaps he hadn’t yet by April. What is interesting is how the AP, and other news outlets, hype this supposed outburst of temper by McCain:

Republican Sen. John McCain, showing a flash of the temper he is known for, repeatedly cut off a reporter Friday when asked whether he had spoken to Democratic Sen. John Kerry about being his vice president in 2004. ***
McCain clearly was irate. *** McCain is known for having a temper and has been dubbed “Senator Hothead” by more than one publication.

You get the drift; the AP will advance one of the themes of the Democrats’ whispering campaign against the Republican nominee. Actually, if you watch the video of the exchange, it is remarkable how calm McCain is. He clearly gets the better of the exchange; I especially like his observation that if he described his private conversation with Kerry as Bumiller requested, it wouldn’t be private:

Also, for what it’s worth, among voters who could conceivably vote for McCain, the fact that he showed annoyance with a reporter, and didn’t let the reporter bully him, is a positive, not a negative.
A final point: Bumiller’s implication that McCain has lied about having had a conversation with Kerry about being Kerry’s vice-presidential nominee is false, as this July 2004 transcript shows. McCain clearly indicated that Kerry had approached him about this concept, but that Kerry had not offered the V-P spot to him, presumably because McCain shot it down. That’s only an assumption, however, because in 2004 as in 2008, McCain took the position that private conversations should be private.
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