July 22nd, 2008
05:00 PM ET

McCain gets some straight talk back

Editor’s note: Senator John McCain visited Rochester, NH, today, and got some pretty straight talk from a volunteer. Here's a clip from that exchange. You can read the transcript, provided below.

Volunteer: Senator McCain, you are the man that we want for our next president of the US. I'm gonna do a little straight talk. You're a straight talker and so am I, very much. I'm a die hard Yankee and I'm a straight talker.

McCain: I could never tell by your accent.

Volunteer: (laughs) Mine's not really a question, it's a statement. It's a statement about a lot of your campaign staffer members and I'll tell you right now I know I'm going to be right on top of their s**t list but I could care less…

McCain: Shhh…

Volunteer: You have a lot of people here, I'm one of your volunteers that's been doing work for you since I first met you in October. And there's a lot of people here that are volunteering their time. You've got two people sitting right here next to me, Brad Marston, Sheridan Folger. They have done more work for you volunteering than a lot of your paid staff have. I've had problems with a lot or your paid staff…

McCain: A lot of our paid staff, a lot of them are on work release programs as you know… (laughter)

Volunteer: That I can believe the way they work because you know, all your signs that are up outside today, they were put up by us, not by your staff people.

McCain: I understand, and I thank you.

Volunteer: You've got to make some changes.

McCain: All right.

Volunteer: You've got to make some changes in your…

McCain: We'll put you in charge.

Volunteer: (laughs) No I want Brad and Sheridan in charge.

McCain: Ok good.

Volunteer: 'Cause we've done some good work.

McCain: Good

Volunteer: They've done some good work for you, you've got thousands and thousands of people who love you, admire you, respect you greatly and we want you as our next president of the United States.

McCain: Thank you, thank you and we'll fix it. We'll have our folks sit down and chat with you about what needs to be fixed in your mind and in your view and let me just say again, I'm very aware, I'm very aware that the only way that campaigns succeed and certainly the only way every one of mine have is through volunteers and I'm extremely grateful and I thank you.

Filed under: John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Carl Capello

    Senator McCain doesn't have a prayer to help him get elected president against senator OBama. Why is it ? Well, after 8 yrs of republican rule, we are in one of the worst messes ever since the (great depression) ! How can you expect the people of the United States to want another 4yrs of republican rule? This has been a diaster created by the republicans and the do nothing congress who actually worry more about putting the blame on the opposite party rather than, to try to work together and solve Americas problems. We need senator Obama to become President and actually makes changes we can believe in!

    July 23, 2008 at 5:46 am |
  2. Rosie

    It's so beautiful the way so many minds come together in these great debates. The problem is, you are looking trough the wrong end of the vial. Yes McCain is a blessed person. But it was God, and not he himself, who took him through his time of military suffering. So the credit, for his survival, belong to God, not to McCain.
    It is a testimony that shows the great love and kindness of God. A testimony given to McCain, that he might give God praise for his act of Kindness, and not to be used to exalt himself above another, or as a drawing card in his campaign.
    While I have the utmost respect for McCain, and rank him among every male and female who have given their all for our country; I do not think any less of Obama, whose sufferings are hid from the natural eye. But this is not about the ability to endure life's hardships, but a vision for America's future.
    We know that Obama has a vision for America's future. We got a glimpse of this vision when he saw the outcome of the Iraq war before it begin. Many are praising McCain because of a surge, which came approximately 3000 lives too late; but who is praising Obama, by whose vision, had it been heeded, these children would not have had to die. The wisdom is, had Obama's judgment been heeded, this unneccesary war would have never been started, and a surge which came, approximately 3000 lives too late, would not have been needed. THINK ABOUT IT.

    July 23, 2008 at 5:26 am |
  3. Kim, Wisconsin

    James: Obama does answer questions from people, its just not all he does.

    McWar does hand pick his "town hall" meetings.

    Some other good questions for McCain.

    What do you consider a "win" in Iraq?

    Since Iraq also wants us out how have we brought them freedom if they do not get to choose to run themselves?

    Sen. McCain just a few months ago you stated that we could be in Iraq for 100 years or more, on 7-22-08 you stated, "We're going to withdraw. We will withdraw. The fact is whether we withdraw in victory or whether we withdraw in defeat." What has changed and how is this not a "flip-flop"?

    Why do you Sen. McCain focus so heavily on Obama and not your own programs?

    Sen. McCain part of your energy plan is to open up new drilling for oil companies. 7 to 10 years from now what is to say that the oil companies are going to overproduce oil to bring up the supply and the price down when they are making record profits?

    Sen. McCain it has been said that speculation on oil is a large part of the current cost. Why did you oppose the bill that would of ended speculation on oil, a loophole that was made by your own staff members?

    This is just a few questions that should be getting asked.

    July 23, 2008 at 12:05 am |
  4. Jan

    McCain has focused his campaign on the constant criticism of his opponents. He did this in the earlier primaries also. In doing this, he does not have to discuss his record in government service. For someone who has served for a quarter of a century, he doesn't have alot to show as positive results of his service. Set aside the military aspect of his campaign and there isn't anything else positive you can find about him. His associations with people like former Senator Phil Gramm and another individual in the 80's for which McCain was admonished by the Congress as having bad judgement in his association with him, should give an indication about McCain's character. He has no detailed policies on anything. He gets annoyed if questioned for details and this recent issue over the news media refusing to print a piece without details on how he defines a "win" in Iraq, and his resulting tantrum about it, is evidence of that. He misrepresents facts, fails to detail his vision for the future of the country other than indicate it will be more of the same no action goverment unless it involves military action ... this is all very frightening to me.
    It aggravates McCain that Senator Obama is being received so well in foreign areas. Maybe those governments are seeing in Obama the character of a man who will listen, and diplomatically address issues responsibly as this country has done in the past and will improve diplomatic relations again throughout the world.
    Senator Obama is projecting a presidential demeanor. Good Job !

    July 23, 2008 at 12:05 am |
  5. James Dylan

    Lynn; Was the audience picked when McCain spoke to the NAACP? Did he field questions there; a place where he was, with very little doubt, not going to pick up any votes? Did Obama field any questions when he spoke there or anywhere else in the last months?
    The answers; No, Yes, No.
    As for buying McCain's rhetoric; I've been paying attention to him for about 15 years now. It's well beyond rhetoric and into the seemly strange realm, for some, of actual actions.
    Those who are fully buying rhetoric are the Obama supporters. There is nothing else there to buy. There has been virtually no actions, just talk for those who are in love with their hope.
    Of course one might have to be from this country and have payed attention to the entirety of US politics before this elelction to possibly have a better understanding of McCain's history; beyond the little snippets played in today's media.

    July 22, 2008 at 11:48 pm |
  6. Marc from San Diego

    Mr McCain – get your house in order. Stop your 'whining' about Obama and act like a candidate. Ok – the surge (with other things) helped. What do you propose next? If it is a couple years instead of 100 then what do you plan? Or are you going to let the Generals run the show? Then let's elect another Eisenhower instead of you. Stop the whining – get your campaign under control and start talking about the future instead of pointing to the past (you made a few errors) and mostly – just stop the whining – Phil Gramm may have been right – about you.

    July 22, 2008 at 11:22 pm |
  7. Ali

    I do not undrestand why Obama just doesn't say that he is and was against this unjust war and he does not care about some "Surge" and the fact that they put a tank on every corner and calm the city a little, this is still a wrong war and talking about some stupid surge is a diversion from the main problem which is the war.

    July 22, 2008 at 10:14 pm |
  8. Lynn, Vancouver

    James: How is the audience picked? Have you watched any other candidates (both Hillary's and Obama's)' question and answer session? Did you watch Obama's press conference in Jordan. Too many people are buying McCain's rhetoric and the media isn't really investigating much of his inaccuracies!

    I have seen a Mccain speech and there is little wonder why he doesn't do them.

    July 22, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
  9. lampe

    Mc cain doesn't need alot of people telling him what to say or do ,for the simple fact that he is telling it like it really is. Obama, on the other hand needs alot of help because he has no idea what he is talking about, thats why he has all these idiots around him, their just a bunch of flunkies, Kerry, Edwards ,Kennedy they're all a bunch of losers who couldn't win The White House, so their pinning all their hopes and dreams on a Sen. with no experience real smart. The only one who has a lick of sense in this whole mess is The next POTUS McCAIN, and I hope he picks HRC as his Partner, then the Dems,will really be losers.

    July 22, 2008 at 9:51 pm |
  10. John

    Well, that women said she wanted him as her next President, but she sure did a good job of trying to make him look like a fool in a publc forum

    July 22, 2008 at 9:49 pm |
  11. kay, Huntsville, AL

    The main stream media does seem to support Obama. I wonder sometimes why McCain does not seem to get any media coverage compared to obama. He is a lot older and I'm sure he is a smart man but he does not seem to assert himself. I think people pick up on that. If he wants to win he better give is honest opinion no matter what and stop him hawing around!

    July 22, 2008 at 9:43 pm |
  12. Annie Kate

    Good clip. The volunteer was able to give her straight opinion and McCain listened, injected some humor to defuse what could have been a tense moment, and then told her straight that he would talk with her and see what she thought the problems were. McCain seems to always place emphasis on listening to what people around him say although he makes his own decisions in the end. Its refreshing to see a politician that you can talk to straight and will give you a straight answer instead of the political mumbo-jumbo they all speak.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    July 22, 2008 at 9:02 pm |
  13. James Dylan

    It is wonderful to have a candidate that fearlessly will allow anyone to ask him any question. He doesn't care how it may make him appear he just wants to hear what the American people have to say. Unlike that other guy who would rather give speeches and statements and tell Americans what they have to say. McCain has always been a man who understands his job; to listen to the people and do their bidding. He is far more an independent than a republican or just another partisan politician. Again, unlike the other guy, who will not dare to field a question let alone from someone who might have something negative to say. Of course if he did he would just dismiss it by calling it the politics of the past. Well guess what? Politics has been virtually the same for as long as we've had history. Nothing is going to change that.

    July 22, 2008 at 8:18 pm |
  14. Heather

    Unlike Obama McCain is a modest ,honorable and humble man. Hes been through this before and he knows that he wouldnt be where he is today if not for the volunteers who work selflessly for him. Obama is arrogant completely and totally.

    July 22, 2008 at 7:47 pm |

    Senator McCain has said that the troop surge has been "successful", but I have yet to hear what has defined that success. I am curious to know because in the same breath, Senator McCain has said Senator Obama would lose the war to win the campaign...but if the surge was so soundly successful...then how could you lose the war with withdrawing troops. Sounds eerily similar to "Mission Accomplished".

    July 22, 2008 at 7:18 pm |
  16. Wendy Ontario, Canada

    McCain is far too rigid & will not change a thing unless it's his idea. The lady that stood up today & asked him why is wasn't time to end the "occupation" in Iraq got no answer. All he does is condem Obama but he will never admit the War is a mistake, just that is was not managed properly. Whenever he doesn't want to answer a question he makes a joke out of it, truly appears to belittle the person asking the question.

    July 22, 2008 at 6:44 pm |
  17. lamont austin

    Sounds like a bunch of (you know what) to me, whoever supports Mccain with a monitary donation will be wasting there money, Mccain is too old to slow and so obvious about being out-dated compared to Obama, did you see Obama hit not just one 3 pointer but two, Obama has a lot more energy and skill to be president. It looks like the Mccain and Bush camp are taking notes from Obama by trying to negotiate with iran without conditions, didnt they say they were against that?

    Mccain you might as well give up

    July 22, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  18. Jackfolleyoff

    I don't know about straight– talk; but John McCain wasn't the one doing the straight–talking. According to what I saw on the clip, it was a lady in the audience who did the "straigt–talk" about McCain's own staff being out on workreease..

    July 22, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  19. Karen-Phoenix

    McCain scares me!!! No organization and only fear, fear and more fear! Tooo old!!! And there is nothing to win in Iraq. The Iraqes are the winners not us unless you call "Haliberton" us!! I want New Experience in Washington, NOT OLD EXPERIENCE returning!

    July 22, 2008 at 5:45 pm |
  20. Sharon from Indy

    Are heads going to roll in the McCain camp? Maybe.

    I wish every American had the guts to speak out like this McCain volunteer. Somehow the volunteers were not validated by the McCain staff. If this is an indication on how his "paid staff" is going to work if he becomes President, then "Houston, we have a problem."

    July 22, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
  21. Marcia

    This is the same talk I've heard from every politician tell your supporters what they want to hear and as soon as their out of earshot do an about face and chuck every note, every thought your given into the circular file. Why should McCain be any different he's already proved he doesn't listen and doesn't take any advice from anyone, not even those people who are out in the trenches and on the front lines of the campaign – the loyal, unpaid volunteers,

    July 22, 2008 at 5:36 pm |
  22. Jeannette

    How sad is that????? McCain, just crawl right on under a rock.

    July 22, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  23. Cindy

    It seems McCain took this all in stride! But he does need to change things up a bit to get his campaign on an even keel again. Hopefully that can be achieved.

    The volunteer was actually ballsy to speak like that to McCain. LOL


    July 22, 2008 at 5:26 pm |