March 7th, 2008
01:25 PM ET
10 years ago

McCain grows testy with Times reporter


Watch McCain's exchange with a New York Times reporter.

NEW ORLEANS (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain grew testy while talking to reporters Friday when questioned about whether he’d ever talked to Democratic Senator John Kerry about becoming his presidential running mate back in 2004.

On a campaign flight, New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller asked the Arizona senator about a story in that paper in 2004 quoted McCain as saying he had never discussed the possibility of joining the Democratic ticket that year. "Everybody knows that I had a private conversation,” McCain said, shortly. “Everybody knows that, that I had a conversation. …

"It's well known. Everybody knows it’s been well chronicled a thousand times,” said McCain, repeatedly interrupting Bumiller. “That John Kerry asked if I would consider being his running mate and I said categorically no, under no circumstances. …I don’t know what you may have read or heard of and I don’t know the circumstances. Maybe in May of ’04 I hadn’t had a conversation. I don’t know—but it is well known that I had the conversation. It’s absolutely well known by everyone. So do you have a question on another issue?”

During a town hall in Atlanta before the flight, McCain had been asked if he’d consider Kerry for his running mate. “That’s the first time I’ve ever gotten that question,” he deadpanned, adding that he respected the Massachusetts senator, and had spoken with him about that possibility in 2004, to turn him down - a statement that Bumiller later questioned him over. McCain had also told the Atlanta crowd he could not share a ticket with Kerry because “I just totally disagree with him.”

Earlier this week, 1996 GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole told CNN’s Larry King that his former Senate colleague “does have a… I guess you could say temper. But I always sort of rationalized that because the poor guy had been locked up” in a tiny cell for six years. He added that McCain “can control it. It's not a problem anymore.”

UPDATE: McCain Senior Adviser Steve Schmidt called this issue "complete and total nonsense."

"What Americans really care about are things like 63,000 jobs lost last month, and that's the kind of thing McCain is going to talk about," said Schmidt.

–CNN's Carol Cratty and Dana Bash contributed to this report

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Re-purv-ican, Washington D.C.

    Now, now, McCain. Just calm down... Here, take these blood pressure meds and go take a nap. Do we really want a short-tempered, cranky senior citizen to lead this country?

    March 7, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  2. illinois voter for truth.

    Oh testy? We hav not seen nothing yet. Maybe he
    got tired. You have to have an superior amount
    of energy to be President of the U.S.

    OBAMA 2008

    March 7, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. JB Cali

    That's cause the man in nuts.

    March 7, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. andrea

    mccain you are so arrogant. just what we need – more of the republican 'my way or the highway" cowboy mentality. Sounds a lot like George W Bush. Oh right I forgot W ENDORSED MCCAIN

    March 7, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. SD

    I guess only John McCain with his temper and straight talk can get Hillary to show us he TAX RETURN

    March 7, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. Grif

    Keep it cool John... You did in the last 3 month's. Just do!!

    March 7, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. Gary in CT

    Maybe he should release his medical records. Cancer patients can get real testy.

    March 7, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. Bubba

    Grampy, you skipped your nap again. Take some of these white pills your wife had.

    March 7, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  9. Darth Vadik, CA

    temper temper mo capitan,

    this man should not be allowed to become president.

    March 7, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. Bob

    I think that if Hillary loses to Obama she should offer to be McCain's running mate.

    And the Democrats and Republicans should just admit that they're different factions of the same Business Party.

    March 7, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  11. Haley Rodman Clemson

    McCain was pretty generous to let a NYT reporter on his plane in the first place. Second, the question was stupid and the Kerry thing is really old news. Third, he had already answerred the question at a public event. Biased reporting=misinformation.

    March 7, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  12. After further review,Texas

    Doesnt anyone remember what happened to Reagans brain function and how Nancy was running the country?The scariest part will be who he picks for V.P.Look at what Cheneys numbers are in the polls and what he has done for us.Be afraid,be very afraid.

    March 7, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  13. illinois voter for truth.

    Well now folks, MeCain is all set to run.............and run
    for President of the good ole USA. Can't stop that kind
    of energy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 7, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  14. aware

    Barack gets testy with the press too. Do we really want a short-tempered, spoiled, citizen in his late 40's leading this country? McCain is preferable to Barack but of course Hillary is the smart choice. 🙂

    March 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. Jermaine


    March 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  16. kathleen.

    Did John's cronie BBQ, slumber party wear him
    out last weekend. It takes time to recoup from
    that party animal style of living. Who paid for the
    BBQ? How much did it cost? Did Cindy cook?

    Obama-The bunny keeps going and going and going
    on the the finish line. No V.P. job for Obama. He wouldn't
    work under a liar.

    March 7, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. Jermaine



    March 7, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. mk

    Hmmm an president with a short fuse. Not exactly a quality that would be desirable.

    March 7, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  19. Larry, Hazleton, pa

    While I competley respect Mr McCain's service to our country I could never vote for a person who thinks that we could be in IRAG for the next 50 to 100 years under any circumstance. This is just NUTZ!!!!! Mr Dole could be right – the time he spent in the prison camp in a small cell being tortured must have had a impact upon Mr McCain's ability to think with reason. Just the thought of having our military in the middle of a civil war for that period of time should give any reasonable person a clear thought on not voting for Mr McCain.

    March 7, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. Obama 08

    This is just the beginning folks.

    March 7, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  21. Ken, Suitland MD

    Now you bad reporters, don't go upsetting King McCain. He thinks he is entitled to the throne, because King Goerge has given him the blessing. True to [R] form, he wants no one questioning his past, his motives, anything. He'll tell you what to think. So shut up, and listen to what your new [R] father figure has to say. Oh and by the way, obey, or be labled a traitor.

    John sell-out McCain. One would have hoped that someone who focusses so much on character could have done more to hold his ground against the despicable wing of his party. In the end, a vote for McCain is a vote for Busch III. And it is a sad comment on the state of America that millions will do it.

    March 7, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. anonymous

    I don't blame him for being annoyed! These are the kinds of things the American voters really don't care about. I AM more interested in 63,000 jobs lost last month and what our government is going to do about outsourcing. I will not vote for McCain, but let's stay focused on what is really important. Stories like this are nothing more than distractions and I find it offensive that there are those in the media or politics who think we are dumb enough to base our decisions on this kind of nonsense. Oh, but then again, it does seem to work, doesn't it? Sad.

    March 7, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  23. ben

    I realy don't care if you "moderators print this or not! It does amaze me why you print so much ridiculous stuff and leave my comments awaiting
    moderation. So here goes anyway.
    I have nothing against McCain as a man or a good American. What I don't understand is why he is called a war hero.
    What about the thousands of young men who died in that shameful war?
    Are they just numbers or at best , brave men who died for their country
    Why is someone who was fortunate enough to survive instead of dying
    called a war hero? A war hero is someone who by an act of bravery
    managed to save the lives of his comrades, or the lives of inocent people locked in an inevitable situation of pending doom.
    It isn't necessary to die to be a hero, although many real heros have done so. McCain was no hero. However to his credit, I don't think he ever said he was. It is the republican political machine that says so.

    March 7, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  24. Carol in Roseville

    I think he should ask Hillary to be his running mate. She is doing everything she can to ruin the democratic party.

    March 7, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  25. nipthedog

    I had to laugh. I recall McCain describing the fact he is older than dirt. My wife just yelled at me for tracking some in the house on my shoes. And he reminds of something unpleasant embedded in the bottom of my shoes.

    March 7, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
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