From the man whose best-sellers include “Why Courage Matters” and “Character Is Destiny” comes this underwhelming reaction to the cowardly smearing of Sarah Palin by his own unnamed staffers:
“These things happen.”
Not: “Shame on the leakers. I denounce and renounce them.”
Not: “I’m going to get to the bottom of this and make sure those blabbermouths never work in a major campaign again.”
Just: “These things happen.”
Yup. Business as usual from The Maverick’s not-so-maverick campaign:
Senator John McCain: She understands all the energy issues. There’s a $40 billion pipeline coming to bring natural gas to places like California. And so look, she’s a marvelous person.
Jay Leno: Now, these aides that were criticizing her — and I think everyone agrees there were Republican aides who were criticizing her. I know you wouldn’t go for that. I know you’re an old soul. You don’t let people talk — but why?
Senator John McCain: One — these things happen in campaigns too. I think I have at least a thousand, quote, top advisors. “A top advisor said” — people I’ve never even heard of, much less a, quote, top advisor or a high-ranking Republican official. It’s — these things go on in campaigns, and you 6 just —
Jay Leno: Why don’t we just move on.
Senator John McCain: I’m just very proud to have had Sarah Palin and her family, a wonderful family.
Now, contrast McCain’s apathetic response to the fragging attacks on his running mate with McCain’s effusive praise for Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman (and watch out for the snarky dig at Palin over the clothes brouhaha):
Jay Leno: How about Joe Lieberman? Was he a close choice? Was that possible?
Senator John McCain: Joe is one of the finest, most wonderful men I’ve ever known in my life. I have never known a finer man than Joe Lieberman, and I believe I won the nomination because right before the New Hampshire primary — and I know I don’t expect a lot of you to remember all the details — he came out to supported me. It mattered. Independent voters 7 voted with us. I love Joe Lieberman.
Jay Leno: That might cost him the chairmanship now. Is that —
Senator John McCain: I hope not, because Joe is a wonderful person. And we want people to stand up for —
Jay Leno: Can you do that? Can you lose your chairmanship in the Senate just because you picked what your party perceives as an —
Senator John McCain: It generally is not done. I don’t, obviously, know what — what’s going to happen. But I know that Joe Lieberman is one of the — and by the way, on national security issues, he’s really, really good.
Jay Leno: And he’s an independent now; right?
Senator John McCain: He’s a, quote, independent Democrat.
Jay Leno: Would you want him to be a, quote, independent Republican?
Senator John McCain: No, no.
Jay Leno: Try to get him over on the other side, kind of lure him over —
Senator John McCain: I’m honored to have —
Jay Leno: — get him some clothes, expensive clothes, maybe nice suit? (Laughter.)
Senator John McCain: Neiman Marcus?
Jay Leno: Neiman Marcus.
Senator John McCain: But yeah, I think that — I think that Joe is going to probably remain as what he is, an independent who stands up for what he believes in. We need more people like Joe Lieberman.
Oh, and to add insult to injury, McCain’s opening joke was recycled from Bob Dole’s 1996 joke book.
Bob Dole, February 15, 1996:
If Bob Dole hears the footsteps of the ghosts of New Hampshires past, he is not admitting it.
“Ghosts?” he said in response to a question here this morning. “I don’t see any ghosts.”
And, as if tempting the fates, Mr. Dole went further than his aides, who have been saying lately that he does not have to win New Hampshire to win the Republican Presidential nomination. “Whoever wins next Tuesday in New Hampshire,” Mr. Dole predicted, “will probably be the Republican nominee.”
Twice before, the Granite State has proved a graveyard for Mr. Dole’s Presidential dreams. But Mr. Dole opened his weeklong run-up to next week’s primary here exactly as he did eight years ago, by addressing the New Hampshire Legislature in Concord on Tuesday.
He told the lawmakers about losing back then, but “sleeping like a baby — every two hours, I woke up and cried.”
John McCain, Nov. 11, 2008:
Jay Leno: As I said, today is Veterans Day. I cannot think of a better person to have as my first guest. Vietnam veteran, real American war hero, also just ran a hard-fought campaign against Barack Obama, now our President elect. Please welcome, in his first television interview,
Senator John McCain. (Applause.) Welcome back, sir.
Senator John McCain: Thank you, my friend. And thank you for having all these brave servicemen and women here. I’m honored to be with you. Thanks.
Jay Leno: It’s been a week since the election. How are you doing?
Senator John McCain: Well, I’ve been sleeping like a baby. (Laughter.) Sleep two hours, wake up and cry. Sleep two hours, wake up and cry. (Laughter.)
Heckuva job, McLame.