March 7th, 2008
01:25 PM ET
12 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. Matt, Chico, CA

    yes we do need a president with a short temper.... he wont put up with any crap from foreign leaders

    March 7, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. Abe

    "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.

    Hmm...isn't he the same person who said quote

    He doesn't understand the economy.

    I didn't have a sexual relationship with the lobbist

    March 7, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. Emeka

    It is 2pm. Senator, isn't it time for dinner?

    March 7, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. Altoid

    a "rationalized" quick temper is still a quick temper and not somebody i'm comfortable with running world diplomacy and our military. belligerance is not a quality that will enamor him to the citizens of this country – and if Schmidt thinks people vote for a candidate solely on issues and not personality, he's been living under a rock.

    March 7, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  5. Dina

    McCain...just calm down..all you have to do is to see Hillary and Obama fighting. Why are you even sabotaging such a golden opportunity to become the President by being so mean to reporters?

    Anyway- whatever you do- nobody cares- it is all about Hillary and Obama

    But you will be the President

    March 7, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  6. Mercedes

    WHAO!!! Imagine if he's sleeping at 3 am and the red phone rings. I don't think that temper will do good at that time. When you fuel up so fast it is worse when they wake you up from a phone call. Are my children going to be safe with this aarp member in the WH as commander in chief? I DON'T THINK SOOOOOO!!!!

    March 7, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  7. bh

    Get Real. This reporter was from the NEW YORK SLIMES (Times). The same liberal rag that tried to smear John McCain not too many days ago!!!

    March 7, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  8. D.Kimbro OHIO

    That was before he realized a more logical running mate would be Hillary (no morals) Clinton. I wonder how long she will be in the White house before she has an affair.

    March 7, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  9. midora

    I hope he gets "testy" with Hillary Clinton if she is the Democratic nominee. I'd love to see him wipe up the floor with her!

    March 7, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. Dan from california

    McCain will do eveything possible to distance himself from the past. Obama's past is shorter and much sweeter than McCain's. However I do respect McCain's stance on global trade versus isolationism. I guess I want aspects of both parties views in a candidate, unfortunately with our two party system we are limited in what we have offered to us.

    March 7, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
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