McCain stumps for dad

Published 11:51 pm Thursday, October 30, 2008

FRANKLIN—Sen. John McCain has the experience, instincts and demeanor to lead the country as its next president, according to someone who probably knows him best.

“He’s very, very bright and he has an unbelievable sense of humor,” said Doug McCain, the candidate’s oldest son, during an interview at The Tidewater News. “He’s a walking encyclopedia of history. He understands looking back at history the mistakes that were made and is able to call on that and — with his instincts and his experience — is able to make the critical decisions that the country is going to face.”

Doug McCain, an airline pilot who resides in Virginia Beach, was making stops in the Hampton Roads area to campaign for his father before Election Day.

McCain stuck mostly to the campaign talking points during his visit — his father won’t raise taxes, he will finish the job in Iraq and he’s not afraid to take on the establishment, to name a few — but he did offer some insight into the mindset of the campaign and its leader on other big issues.

McCain said his father sticks to his principles, as was evidenced by his push to send more troops to Iraq when it was an unpopular stance to take.

“This one gentleman his entire life has put his country ahead of any political or personal gain,” he said. “He’s never going to do things because they’re politically expedient.”

His father’s character has been unfairly characterized by the media, McCain said.

“They say he’s got a hot temper. They say he’s erratic,” he said. “The second day that the credit crisis broke, he said ‘Chris Cox, the head of the SEC, should be fired.’ What’s the consensus now? The consensus is that Chris Cox was asleep at the wheel. His instincts and his intellect and his experience are so good. He’s nearly always right.”

As for John McCain’s pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as a running mate, a move that has been criticized from both sides of the aisle, McCain said, “she’s gotten a very bad rap in the newspapers. I think perhaps maybe the campaign was a little bit responsible for that by leaving her ‘under wraps’ too long.

“I’ve met her several times and she’s an incredibly poised and smart individual. When people meet her in person, they see that.”

McCain said the Obama campaign’s goal of trying to connect his father with President Bush at a time when the president has the lowest approval ratings of any sitting president might be the thing to do politically, but it’s not accurate.

“There’s absolutely no comparison between George Bush and John McCain,” he said. “They’re just two very different people — the way they’ve lived their lives, their service.

“The game that’s played in politics is linkage. If there’s somebody bad on the other side and you can link the candidate to that person, then that’s typically a pretty good play.

“There’s a lot of, and I think correctly so, anger at President Bush. There’s perhaps not enough anger at some of the Democrats in Congress who let Fannie (Mae) and Freddie (Mac) get out of control and the risks that they took on.”

Sen. McCain will appear at 7 a.m. Saturday in the David Student Union at Christopher Newport University in Newport News. It will be his last Virginia rally before Election Day.