July 9th, 2008
08:00 AM ET

McCain's smokin' sense of humor

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/08/art.mccainssandwich.jpg]
Steve Brusk
CNN political desk, senior assignment editor

The question clearly caught the candidate by surprise.

John McCain and his wife Cindy were making an unannounced stop at a popular sandwich shop on Tuesday in Pittsburgh. As they sat the counter waiting for their orders, McCain held a quick media availability with the local reporters and the traveling national media pool.

The main questions focused on McCain’s reaction to Prime Minister Maliki’s comments about the US withdrawing from Iraq, McCain's campaigning in the key battleground state, and a possible extension of the emergency loan program for investment banks. McCain’s press secretary tried to end the questioning after the first several, but McCain wanted to take a few more.

The one he didn’t see coming was posed by an AP reporter, asking about a report of a large increase in exports of items like cigarettes to Iran during the Bush administration. McCain’s eyebrows arched as the reporter said cigarettes.
And offering a little humor, which sometimes has gotten him in trouble, McCain said, “Maybe that’s a way of killing them.”

There was laughter in the room, but a reporter said Mrs. McCain poked him in the back after the comment. McCain quickly added, ”I meant that as a joke, as a person who hasn’t had a cigarette in 28 years.” Mrs. McCain corrected him: “29 years.”

In April 2007, another McCain joke about Iran attracted attention, not all of it good. In South Carolina, a voter had asked if there is a plan to attack Iran. Before giving a more substantive answer, McCain started, “You know that old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran?" Then he sang, “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran."

McCain ended his answer to the reporter saying, “I’d like to look into it because it’s the first that I heard. But I’d like to look into it and next time we encounter each other, maybe I can have a better answer for you."

Filed under: John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Holden Litgo

    Yeah, he's a card. And is, quite often, one who knows how to put his foot in his mouth with gusto. There's a saying in the circus; If you're going to make a fool of yourself, do it with conviction. So let's elect him to the circus. Jokes about killing people aren't even funny when a professional comic does them. They're just tacky. We've seen tacky for the last 7 years in the executive branch (and Cheney, too, whatever branch he's in.) McCain is Bush II in the Inappropriate Comments for a President of the U.S. Department. Time to get some brain power in the White House. It ain't him. Add insult to injury and get McCain: Tacky, ill-informed Warmonger. Feh.

    July 10, 2008 at 1:46 am |
  2. James McCurdy

    What McCain said was no worse than what our famous Ronnie said ( the bombing starts in 5 minutes) in his speech.

    July 9, 2008 at 11:36 pm |
  3. James McCurdy

    Mr. McCain

    Why do you all want to give a second stimulus band-aid fix when you should be adopting the McCurdy Factor.

    I have a program that will save our banks, boost the economy monthly forever, produce health insurance with their choice of insurance companies, rebuid the general fund monthly forever, opening up millions of jobs within 30 days of activating this program, also allow people to make more donations to charities or candidates, allow people to pay for their medicine and much more but only if someone is listening. If John McCain does not want to talk about this program maybe Dan Quayle or Oliver North would like to talk about this, these two gentlemen I would back for President.

    Your second package will do not much more than the first one, you need a revolving self funding program like the Mccurdy Factor.

    July 9, 2008 at 11:31 pm |
  4. roman

    I truly believe he has never recovered from the old Vietnam years ... He is psychologically not balanced in my opinion.
    I am sure he will find an excuse to attack Iran and get us into yet another war we don't need.

    One question I have always had: Why are we making enemies with those who have most of the oil in the world. And we support a country they hate so much to the fullest and most rediculous extremes? Is that a smart foreign policy? Or the media is pushing us in that direction?

    July 9, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  5. Eric Burruel

    Yeah, he's a real card. I bet he has a great sense of humor, and real scathing one. But do I want a potential President making a joke about killing innocent people in a country whom is considered our enemy? How does that show me that he will conduct business with them in good faith? Does this mean that under President McCain, war with Iran is inevitable?

    That joke wouldn't have been that funny coming from a drinking buddy. It certainly isn't funny coming from a candidate for President of the United States.

    Phoenix AZ

    July 9, 2008 at 1:50 pm |
  6. Jamie from San Francisco

    He is pretty funny. He'll make a good comedian.

    July 9, 2008 at 1:26 pm |
  7. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    What's the difference between McCain and Obama? McCain makes bad jokes, and Obama is a bad joke.

    July 9, 2008 at 1:01 pm |
  8. Amy

    A lot of people just don't get sarcasm. It takes a pretty fast wit to catch the humor in some people's comments, whether or not they are running for public office. It's the press' job to take sound bites and use them. Do you stop to consider the circumstances in which the comment was made? That is the true test of whether a comment is sarcasm or just an observation.

    July 9, 2008 at 12:58 pm |
  9. Mary

    It all a pretends for vote Pandering that he is humerous. I will never vote for someone like McCain who joks about killing others because they disagree with his war monger policies

    July 9, 2008 at 11:42 am |
  10. Michelle

    This not about sense of humor. McCain just should not have
    gone there. In wake of the serious situation with Iran testing
    missiles, this was not too bright . So much for the campaign
    being more organized.

    July 9, 2008 at 10:44 am |
  11. ANGIE

    what if obama saidthat wow obama haters would have a field day mccain is not funny then you wonder why those people hate us mccain is not funny as a matter of fact i find him to be very dangerous mccain scares the –out of me no doubt we will have world war three wit him as president no thanks my vote as well as my family and friends is going for obama!!

    July 9, 2008 at 10:41 am |
  12. Crake

    Nice one Johnny! Tell us the one about IEDs again, what a hoot!

    July 9, 2008 at 10:36 am |
  13. Marilyn, Houston TX

    John McCain's jokes are the kind that would reflect someone who would shoot first and then ask questions.

    July 9, 2008 at 9:34 am |
  14. Vanya

    Generally, one's first reaction is their most honest response. McCain often forgets he is speaking aloud so his censor button does not always work..

    July 9, 2008 at 9:07 am |
  15. Annie Kate

    McCain does have a great sense of humor – I've seen it on the debates, and in campaigning and on appearances on late night talk shows and the Daily Show where he gives the host a run for their money. Reagan had a good sense of humor too and an exquisite sense of timing – even if you detested what he was doing he could still make you smile.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 9, 2008 at 8:53 am |
  16. Kristen- Philadelphia, PA

    McCain is a war monger and I am not surprised one bit by his tasteless sense of humor. I know sometimes war is necessary but jokes about killing people should not come so wily nily out of anyone’s mouth. I don’t see anything funny about bombing Iran or killing them with cigarettes.
    Hey what happened to the morning buzz post? I enjoyed reading the news for the day please bring it back.

    July 9, 2008 at 8:17 am |
  17. Cindy

    I've always thought that McCain had a wry sense of humor. A lot of his jokes are funny but are taken wrong. When someone is a jokster most of the times that happens. I like that he lets his hair down so to speak and plays around with the media. Nothing at all wrong with that!


    July 9, 2008 at 8:14 am |