McCain’s October surprise? Humor from the candidate and candy from his wife
NEW YORK – With just a few weeks to go before the U.S. election, the John McCain campaign is still full of surprises.
Declaring an “autumn surprise”, an aide pulled back the curtain that normally separates the press cabin from the candidate and staff to reveal the potential first lady striding down the aisle doling out smiles and chocolate. The visit was fast and purely social.
When asked how things were going she responded quickly: “It’s going great. We’re right where we want to be.” Yet polls show her husband lagging behind Democratic rival Barack Obama.
The visit was all the more unusual because of the dramatic decrease in access that reporters have had to McCain and even his staff in recent weeks. The Arizona senator, who used to hold press conferences and informal chats regularly, has cut them off nearly altogether.
A section of the plane that was designed for press pow-wows was used only once — in July. But glimpses of the “old McCain”, as some reporters describe the senator before his more recent evolution, are beginning to come through.
On Thursday he rocked the house at a New York dinner with a rare roast of himself and rival Obama, who also spoke.
With jokes about his many houses, verbal gaffes and decision to suspend his campaign during part of the financial crisis, McCain outshined his usually-more polished opponent in delivery, timing, and eloquence. The audience roared.
Why the rush? Comedian David Letterman, whose show McCain had skipped a few weeks before in a move that drew extensive ribbing, was waiting for a make-up date.
“Old” McCain or not, he made it to the show, the press followed in the plane, and Letterman was happy.
- Photo credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria