March 3rd, 2008
04:23 PM ET
12 years ago

McCain: I am the best at 3 a.m.

 McCain said Monday he's best equipped to handle a 3 a.m. crisis.

McCain said Monday he's best equipped to handle a 3 a.m. crisis.

(CNN) – Each of the two Democratic presidential contenders said this weekend they were best-suited to handle a foreign policy crisis should the phone ring in the White House at 3 a.m. On Monday, John McCain said they were both wrong.

"I would believe that my knowledge and experience and background clearly indicates that if the phone rang at 3 a.m. in the White House, and I was the one to answer it, I would be the one most qualified to exercise the kind of judgment necessary to address a national security crisis," McCain said at a campaign stop in Phoenix.

"I've been involved in every major national security challenge for the last 20 years that has faced this country," he added. "I look forward to having that debate as to who's most qualified in the event of a national crisis and the phone ringing at 3 a.m. in the White House."

McCain's comments follow dueling campaign ads from Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that pose the scenario of a foreign crisis in the early morning hours. Clinton's ad, which launched first, argues the New York senator is more experienced to handle such a situation. Hours later, the Obama campaign launched a spot in response that says his initial opposition to the Iraq war proves he has the better judgment to deal with 3 a.m. emergencies.

- CNN's Tasha Diakides contributed to this report

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. Phyllis, Dallas TX

    It's absolutely scary to me that this old man would be responsible for this countries national security issues.

    March 3, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  2. Paul

    U r a good man, but, no, you are not the best answering the phone at 3 am, cause you wanna stay in war Mr. McCain.

    Hillary has the strenght, and the skills to lead our nation based on experience. Obama has a good will, but that is not enough . What do we calll people who says one thing and does a different one? why don't we "read about the memo" and the false talk of Mr. Obama, is that the change we hope for.

    We are running to change things based on the D agenda and Hillary will successfully lead our nation.

    Come March 4th, Hillary will once again prove that she is the "come back kid."

    Hillary 08!

    March 3, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  3. Politico Crab

    All three of these clowns are wrong. The person most capabale and most likely to answer the call at 3am is the help desk agent in India, Hungry, Malaysia, Brazil and some day...China.

    March 3, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  4. Eric Jimenez

    McCain is on life support at 3 A.M everyday, thats why he is at his best. How is he going to be answering the phone.

    March 3, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  5. Franky

    I just hope I get invited to a BQ next time, LOL!!!! Na'h, na'h I'm just playing, LOL!!!

    March 3, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  6. Lamps

    No doubt! John McCain is by far the most qualified.

    March 3, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  7. Bob Ussery

    The argument against McCain and is age is rather, well, old. The President is supposed to be strong in the area of foreign policy and leading the military.

    Hillary hates the military, and Obama thinks he can talk our enemies into a treaty, thinking because he can make a speach he will be listened to.

    Life is more complicated than Mr. Obama thinks, though he can talk a great line.

    McCain has done both the leg work and the home work; that is a qualification of age.

    McCain is our man, he is ready to lead America in 2009.

    March 3, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  8. Jack from WV

    I didn’t know McCain was an oil baron, so I must read up on that. Being a Vet I can understand McCain and being ready at 3am. For those of you who have not had the privilege to serve our country when you have a post no matter where it is you take it seriously, very seriously, and I believe McCain has the knowledge and sound judgment to make those decisions. Hillary was in the White House and not running the country so for her to say she has 35 years of experience show me please where did you get it from. Obama is a freshman Senator and talk about the lack of experience he is at the top of the list. From what we have so far running for President we don’t have much to choose from so I’ll take a 75 year old Senator with 20 years of experience over a new Senator who sounds good and has yet to deliver and another Senator would rather debate than anything else. Please in another 4 years could we have someone run for President who has proven experience, sound judgment and who hasn’t been in politics their entire life and will bring back respect to our country and appreciation abroad?

    March 3, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  9. patrick

    Red phone ring......

    2 days later... McCain finally wakes up to the 3am ringing phone question..

    Mccain: Bomb... bomb.... bombbb bommbbbb IRAN, 100 years of war here we go!!! yippeee

    March 3, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  10. TooIndependent2bfooled

    No doubt, at 71, you are experienced. Point is, we DO NOT want your type of judgment. That's the point exactly. Its the future vs the past. No brainer.

    March 3, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  11. PCS / North Carolina

    bond wrote March 3rd, 2008 6:48 pm ET

    "wasting $12 million a month, for what?"

    Correction: Bond it is 12 BILLION a month not 12 million a month ( This is a staggering 400 million a day !!) The total amount of money GW Bush had loaned is more than all other US Presidents combined. We are in a recession !! make no mistake about it. Can anybody rationally think of voting for a GOP candidate unless they want India and China to overtake is in the next 10yrs.

    March 3, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  12. kerry d

    Senator McCain will not hold his opponents' age and lack of experience against them, for now. I cannot wait till he makes them look like ill-tempered attack dogs in the general election debates.

    March 3, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  13. J. Kreider

    And he cheated on his first wife with his current wife. Great morals from a conservative leader that the religious right wing love.

    March 3, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  14. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    McCain should be able to wake up at 3am in the morning after having been asleep since 3pm. At 71 years old at 3pm every day is about the time us old timers to take a nap and call it a day. If you think I'm joking, wait until you get there and trust me McCain is no acception. Vote Obama.

    March 3, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  15. Ron

    The thing that matters the most here is if Hillary is President There wont be no need for a red phone call,Lets face it Hillary will make it so we have jobs Healthcare and can stop worrying about everything so we can go back to are jobs and go on vacation and play golf again

    March 3, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  16. Adam, Los Angeles

    When Clinton ran this ad, I thought the same thing. Because, if Clinton's "lifetime of experience" makes her better equipped to answer the phone at 3 AM, then McCain's lifetime of experience makes him far much more equipped to answer the call.

    But we've learned that experience doesn't mean you'll make the right decision.

    Judgment Matters
    Obama 08

    March 3, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  17. Ennis, LA

    At his age would it be healthy to stay up that late?

    March 3, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  18. rd


    I'll put the judement of Ronald Reagan in his 70's against Bill Clinton in his 40's any day of the week.

    McCain 08!

    March 3, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  19. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    At 3 AM this dude would probably need a cardioconverter to wake up and deal coherently with a call from the White House Situation Room.

    March 3, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  20. Christoph

    "Invasion of a country who doesn't want us there..."

    Grammar aside, now that's funny!

    March 3, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  21. Love4Country

    Mike Huckabee March 4th in Texas, and Mike Huckabee in November too!

    March 3, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  22. Mitch

    But who is best equipped to handle non-3 am crises?

    I could be wrong, but I doubt that the vast majority of crises occur at precisely 3am, so I therefore conclude that this argument is ridiculous.

    March 3, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  23. Andrew

    John Mc Cain has had a string of episodes of, “I did not meet him”, statements. He said he never met Mr. Cunningham. Mr. Cunningham says he did. Mc Cain said he never met with the lobbyist’s boss that worked for the Media giant. I cannot find his name now, but that boss, said in reports that he did in fact meet with McCain. Mc Cain’s top advisors said that they did met with McCain about the lobbyist problem. McCain has said he did not. Mc Cain has also gone through a retraction mode. First he says “I lose” on Iraq with a quick retraction. Then Mc Cain says, “ I am a Liberal Republic”, with a quick retraction of “hold on there, I am a Conservative Republican”. Add this all up and you have to ask a couple of questions. Is he lying or are they? I do not think McCain is a liar, nor are they. I think McCain doesn’t remember meeting these people. I think his miss steps in words are a more frightening possible cause. I think it is possible McCain’s best days are behind him. Is it possible he is moving towards senility?

    se·nile adj
    1. forgetful, confused, or otherwise mentally less acute in later life
    2. occurring in or believed to be characteristic of later life, especially the period after the age of 65 years

    Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

    McCain is a hero. But you can not elect a man who can't remember.

    March 3, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  24. Mk

    People need to think this thought.
    If your parents are in their 70's, would
    A. Want to endure the stress of being the President of the US
    B. Would you be totally sure that they would have the same ability to react quickly and effectively in all situations after living with the stress of being the president.
    D. Would you vote for them because you knew they could do an excellent job

    There is nothing wrong with being 70ish. But it is not the right age for a job this stressful

    March 3, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  25. Robert Whale

    Shucks, 3 a.m. is for pantywaists. What we are all dying to know is who is the best at picking up the phone at 4 a.m.? That's where we separate the men from the boys. And more to the point, how would they describe their phone-picking up technique? A manly thrust of the arm and a grunt? A crisp and decisive lift? A snappy movement like a military salute that thrills all patriotic Americans to their red, white and blue socks?

    March 3, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
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