McCain bristled at the comments on "Face the Nation" last weekend by an Obama supporter, retired general Wesley Clark, who belittled the relevance of McCain’s wartime experience as a qualification for the Presidency.
"I think it’s up to Sen. Obama now not only to repudiate him but to cut him loose," McCain said.
McCain became visibly angry when I asked him to explain how his Vietnam experience prepared him for the Presidency.
"Please," he said, recoiling back in his seat in distaste at the very question.
McCain allies Sen. Lindsey Graham stepped in to rescue him. Graham expressed admiration for McCain’s stance on the treatment of detainees in US custody.
"That to me is a classic example of how his military experience helped him shape public policy in a way no other senator could have done,’’ Graham said.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, also traveling on the trip, expressed admiration for McCain’s wartime service as well.
McCain then collected himself and apologized for his initial reaction.
"I kind of reacted the way I did because I have a reluctance to talk about my experiences," he said, noting that he has huge admiration for the "heroes" who served with him in the POW camp and said the experience taught him to love the U.S. because he missed it so much.
"I am always reluctant to talk about these things," McCain said.
Asked about one of his former jailors from the notorious Hanoi Hilton who has now endorsed his candidacy for President, McCain chuckled.
"Yeah, I saw that," he said. "He also said that he and I used to have these nice, long philosophical chats. The ones that I recall is, confess or else."
It's a wonder he didn't grab the reporter and have Huckleberry and Holy Joe sit on him.
But Cochran said he observed McCain engage in a physical confrontation with a Sandinista while participating in a diplomatic mission led by Sen. Bob Dole and others in the fall of 1987. Cochran, McCain - who had won election to the Senate that year - and other members of a bipartisan committee of lawmakers called the Central American Negotiations Observer Group - met with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, head of the left-wing political party known as Sandinistas, about tensions in the region..."McCain was down at the end of the table and we were talking to the head of the guerrilla group here at this end of the table and I don't know what attracted my attention," Cochran said. "But I saw some kind of quick movement at the bottom of the table and I looked down there and John had reached over and grabbed this guy by the shirt collar and had snatched him up like he was throwing him up out of the chair to tell him what he thought about him or whatever. I don't know what he was telling him but I thought, good grief, everybody around here has got guns and we were there on a diplomatic mission. I don't know what had happened to provoke John but he obviously got mad at the guy and he just reached over there and snatched him."
And for Graham to bring up McCain's stance on the treatment of detainees is to invite ridicule--McCain was for giving the detainees a trial before he was against it, he was against waterboarding before he decided he needed to sell out his principles and run to the right so he could appeal to the craven wingnuts in order to win the nomination. I wish Graham could speak for McCain all day and every day--it's like a gift to the Democratic Party.