McCain: ‘Yes, I’m old but…’

Republican Sen. John McCain, his spirits better than his comic timing, told students Monday he’s the best presidential candidate for youth despite his age.

McCain, participating in an MTV-MySpace forum shown live, appealed to students at Southern New Hampshire University. The 71-year-old Arizona senator offered lighter versions of his common campaign answers and engaged with the students in person and online. He also flubbed several scripted jokes and mistakenly called Osama bin Laden “Saddam Hussein.”

“You might’ve seen three weeks ago, Saddam Hussein got a video out around the world that reached — excuse me — not Saddam Hussein. He’s no longer with us, thank God,” McCain said to applause.

Realizing he had confused the al-Qaida leader with the dead Iraqi president, McCain turned to the audience and laughed.

“I want to mention again, Saddam Hussein is dead,” he said. “Duh.”

McCain talked about the war in Iraq, public education and his belief that climate change must be vigorously addressed, a position that stands him apart from most of the GOP presidential field. He told students that unless something changes, the Social Security system will not be there when they need it.

“I’m not the youngest guy in this race,” he said. “We know that. But I am the most experienced.”

He mixed up his oft-repeated line about the virtues of his age and experience. “I’m older than Frankenstein and have a few scars,” he began, before correcting himself: “I’m older than dirt and got more scars than Frankenstein. I screwed up that line.”

McCain, who a day earlier picked up the endorsement of the state’s largest newspaper, is on a five-day trip to the first-in-the-nation primary state. He was quick to joke with the university crowd. “Some more of those lousy statistics?” McCain asked when a moderator cited live online reaction to his remarks.

He told his audience that his rivals should run national security policy based on reality, not on cable drama, emphasizing the point by making up dialogue for “24,” in which the protagonist makes bad guys talk by threatening to hurt them.

“We all love Jack Bauer,” he said. “‘Where’s the nuclear weapon?’ ‘I’m not telling.’ Blam, blows the kneecap off and ‘I’ll tell ya.'”

That’s not real life, said McCain, a former Vietnam POW at odds with some rivals and members of the Bush administration over what interrogation techniques should be ruled out as torture. “It’s not Jack Bauer. It’s not ’24.'”


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  1. Carl Nemo

    The real tragedy of John McPain is that we have to continually suffer his presence on our TV screens etc. To me, he’s just more noisome pol pollution and needs to retire immediately if not sooner from the Senate. Why he’s even in the Senate is amazing in it’s own right?! Being from Arizona, it must be a case of “revenge of the snowbirds” upon the regular, fulltime residents of the state… 😐

    He’s also lost his last few marbles to even think that he “can” get elected to the presidency! It’s amazing how self-puffery; ie., terminal vanity, can be a fools undoing.

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. Sandra Price

    We who are even older than McCain learn to have an assortment of words when our brains to give out in the middle of a sentence. But we do know the difference between Saddam and OBL. We know that it was OBL who attacked us on 9/11 which is still questioned by the White House.

    We know that we should have stayed in Afghanistan until OBL was located and destroyed. I’m very tired of the whining neoconservatives saying “But we didn’t know where he was!” That’s because our Intelligence Agencies were out to lunch on the tax payer’s dollar.

    Most of us in Arizona are fed up with snowbirds as they return for the winter and give the impression they are slumming. Here in Sun City, we learn to give them the right away on our streets and simply move our golf carts to the right when their Cadillacs push us to go faster. Road rage is downright funny when seniors start terrorizing each other. We, unlike McCain still have our senses of humor and I often wonder if any of us would vote for him.