McCain, asked about Viagra and birth control pills, couldn’t get it up

The eight seconds of McCain’s deer in the headlights expression when asked what he thought about some insurance companies paying for Viagra but not for birth control pills was classic unscripted political theater. His response, basically was that he had an opinion but he’d have to look it up. And this man wants to be president?

Here’s a transcript (see video from Huffington Post) of the exchange aboard his campaign bus, dubbed “The Straight Talk Express”:

Maeve Reston of the L.A. Times: Earlier this week Carly (Fiorina) was meeting with a bunch of reporters and talked about it being unfair that insurance companies cover Viagra but not birth control. And –

McCain: I certainly do not want to discuss that issue.

Reston: But apparently you’ve voted against-

McCain: I don’t know what I voted –

Reston: Voted against coverage of birth control, forcing health insurance companies to cover birth control in the past. Is that still your position?

McCain: I’ll look at my voting record on it, but I have, uh, (5 second pause) , I don’t recall the vote right now. But I’ll be glad to look at it and get back to you as to why, I don’t –

Reston: I guess her statement was that it was unfair that health insurance companies cover Viagra but not birth control. Do you have an opinion on that.

McCain: (after 8 second pause) I don’t know enough about it to give you an informed answer because I don’t recall the vote, I’ve cast thousands of votes in the Senate. I will respond to – it’s a, it’s a-

Reston: Delicate issue?

McCain: It’s something that I had not thought much about and I did hear about her response but I hadn’t thought much. But I will get, I will get back to you today on it.

Reston: Ok

McCain: I don’t usually duck an issue, but I’m, I’ll try to get back to you. (Fox News)

McCain has a memory deficit since he voted against mandating birth control insurance coverage in 2005. This doesn’t seem to be a vote he’d forget. Call it a medi-gap in memory.

Female voters should be made aware of McCain’s rather missionary positions on their rights to control their own bodies.

When he was asked a question with the political red flags Viagra and birth control be became befuddled.

Perhaps the kindest explanation is that his answers were a function of normal aging. Most people have moments like this more frequently as they age.

Or maybe this incident proves nothing more than that McCain is uncomfortable talking about sexual matters. It could be that he takes Viagra himself and had a twinge of anxiety that the reporter had some usually personal (except for Bob Dole) inside the zipper information she might bring up in her next question.

As likely as these possible reasons is the explanation that McCain isn’t in the upper percentile of being intellectually adept when under pressure or feeling irritated. We’ve seen other indications of this in his remarks from “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” to throwing out the f-word.

I suspect McCain is, in his own way, as intellectually lazy as George W. Bush. I don’t think he is either an analytic or profound thinker.

Since this story is as much about sex as it is about health insurance and McCain’s squirming it is getting a lot of play on television. Unfortunately commentators are laughing about it rather than delving into asking more substantial questions about how it reflects on McCain. But at least as they replay the interview more and more people get to see it.

Hopefully some undecided voters will ask themselves whether the captain of the Straight Talk Express really has the type of intellect to be promoted to commander-in-chief.


Added 7/12/08 “Liar, liar, pants on fire”: The nature and timing of McCain’s divorce from Carol Shepp alienated key friends including the Reagans — and his version doesn’t always match that in court documents. LA Times link

He’s running in part on his history; but can we believe anything this candidate says?

We may never know whether he embellished his POW story. His veracity is thrown into question by his recent Pittsburgh Steelers incident (here’s what the local paper had to say in “McCain’s mind no steel trap in recalling Steelers”: Sen. John McCain stuck his Terrible Towel in his mouth this week.). He really needs Pennsylvania to win so this IS a big deal.

Can we believe this story (from the LA Times article cited above): In 1974, Reagan invited McCain to speak at a governor’s prayer breakfast in Sacramento. The former prisoner of war told the story of a fellow captive who had scratched a prayer on a cell wall. Ronald and Nancy Reagan were reduced to tears. It was “the most moving speech I had ever heard,” Reynolds said.

20 Responses to "McCain, asked about Viagra and birth control pills, couldn’t get it up"

  1. Lillibet  July 11, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Lillibet Get it up, keep ‘em preggers.

    Next they’re going to outlaw women’s “go to work” shoes, or whatever else prevents the state of “non-barefootedness” in the kitchen.

    What’s next?

    Insurance paying for vasectomies, but not tubal ligation?

    It won’t matter, because we all know women have absolutely no right to control over their bodies, nor do they have any right to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Maybe women will be forced to don their very own chastity belts, and hide the keys from the hubbie.

    Now, that’d teach them to treat women without health care parity to control their own biologic destinies.

  2. Hal Brown  July 11, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    Lillibet – welcome to an old pal. It’s been a long time. Pollchecker: I am turning on MSNBC now hoping to see a video of this.

    Read the rest of what happened from The Washington Post LINK

    The media is starting to pick up this new wrinkle in how clueless McCain is about women’s issues. Check it out here.

    Maybe McCain is really a total prude and his mind goes blank when anybody brings up sex.

    Speaking of sex, what’s with his wife Cindy showing so much cleavage? (Here’s the Google.) I wonder how the press would have reacted if Michelle Obama dress the way Cindy did in her appearance with her husband yesterday.

  3. Hal Brown  July 12, 2008 at 9:41 am

    “Liar, liar, pants on fire”: The nature and timing of McCain’s divorce from Carol Shepp alienated key friends including the Reagans — and his version doesn’t always match that in court documents. LA Times link

    He’s running in part on his history; but can we believe anything this candidate says?

    We may never know whether he embellished his POW story. His veracity is thrown into question by his recent Pittsburgh Steelers incident (here’s what the local paper had to say in “McCain’s mind no steel trap in recalling Steelers”: Sen. John McCain stuck his Terrible Towel in his mouth this week.). He really needs Pennsylvania to win so this IS a big deal.

    Can we believe this story (from the LA Times article cited above): In 1974, Reagan invited McCain to speak at a governor’s prayer breakfast in Sacramento. The former prisoner of war told the story of a fellow captive who had scratched a prayer on a cell wall. Ronald and Nancy Reagan were reduced to tears. It was “the most moving speech I had ever heard,” Reynolds said.

  4. pollchecker  July 12, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Hal — apparently it is more important that Obama said we should speak a 2nd language than it is that McBush doesn’t know what he said or voted for…regardless of the issue.

    Oh, and here is the new distraction….

    “Sticking A Wrench In The Gearbox” – click here for article

    Want to bet where this got started?(wink)

    By July 25th, it will be refreshing to go to the movies and just watch the new X-files movie…(har,har)…you know…”THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE!” (grin)

  5. Hal Brown  July 12, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    Well, whatever happens at the convention(s), barring martial law (and lot’s of “I told you so” from the folks who are predicting this), the election will happen and a year or two after that (perhaps much sooner) we will know whose predictions about the candidates are right.

    I think it is just as likely, perhaps more likely, that events and revelations prior to the convention will lead to McCain not being nominated than Obama being replaced by Clinton.

    I bet that many of the Republican power brokers behind closed doors are lamenting that Romney isn’t their candidate.

    And I also bet Mitt himself watches MSNBC to catch the latest left-wing take on McCain’s latest demonstration of his unhinged personality and is sorely tempted to tie one on.

  6. pollchecker  July 14, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    McCain References Non-Existent Country Of Czechoslovakia — Again

    Not that anyone would know this stuff since over 60% of the country doesn’t know simple geography.

  7. Lillibet  July 14, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Lillibet Perhaps he was “assignating” more time to Cindy’s cleavage and blue pill availability, than in studying geopolitical border assignations, err, assignments?

    And Hal, nice to have the box on the desk communicating with CHB again. Nice job you’ve been doing.

  8. pollchecker  July 10, 2008 at 9:48 am

    McCain has a memory deficit

    Not unusual for a 72 year old.

    McCain is, in his own way, as intellectually lazy as George W. Bush. I don’t think he is either an analytic or profound thinker.

    He’s not a thinker. He’s not an economist. He’s a butt kissing POTUS wannabe that has sold his soul to the Bushie neo-cons.

    He is unfit to be POTUS and will no doubt lead our country into World War III.

    UPDATE: Hal, perhaps the links to the articles below will shed some light on why McBush doesn’t know what he has said or voted on.

    Gramm calls slowdown ‘mental’

    Former Sen. Phil Gramm, a top economic adviser to presumptive GOP nominee John McCain, referred to the economic slowdown as “a mental recession” and called the United States “a nation of whiners.”

    Here’s another one….
    McCain’s Adviser Salter Writes, Speaks and Fights for Candidate

    Salter, 53, is his most trusted adviser, traveling companion, image-shaper, sounding board, wordsmith and defender. He weighs in on almost every campaign decision, and in McCain’s absence, even speaks for the presumptive Republican nominee.

  9. CheckerboardStrangler  July 10, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    “Former Sen. Phil Gramm, a top economic adviser to presumptive GOP nominee John McCain, referred to the economic slowdown as “a mental recession” and called the United States “a nation of whiners.”

    —Is that anything like “nattering nabobs of negativity”?

  10. woody188  July 10, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    They need to stop comparing apples to oranges.

    The way it has always been explained to me is that Viagra is covered because it restores normal functionality while birth control is not covered because it prevents normal functionality. Although the argument could be made that it is normal for older men to have erectile dysfunction.

    It is also my understanding that many companies will cover birth control if there is a medical reason to administer it other than to just prevent pregnancy.

    Many fertility drugs are covered, which would be the real Viagra equivalent.

    Why waste a question on this issue? Oh it’s the corporate media distracting from real issues again. (sigh)

  11. pollchecker  July 10, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Why waste time on this issue? I guess that’s easy for you to say. You are a guy. You can get the Viagra.

    So insurance cos don’t pay to stop pregnancy and don’t pay to cover pregnancy (it’s an extra charge)…but they pay for some old ass hole to get some young babe preggers?

    The sexism in this country simply amazes me. It really is true that it would be easier for a black man to be POTUS than a woman, ANY woman, even without the last name Clinton.

    The lie and cheat REpublicans are the biggest sexists in the Western World, second only to the Muslums.

    But I believe Hal’s point is that McCain can’t remember what he said or even what he voted on less than 4 years ago. And he wants to be our next POTUS? Geez, give me a break.

  12. ekaton  July 10, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Former Sen. Phil Gramm, a top economic adviser to presumptive GOP nominee John McCain, referred to the economic slowdown as “a mental recession” and called the United States “a nation of whiners.”

    Damn right. So what that 37 million people in this country are on the brink of starvation. Damn whiners. Damn useless eaters. And thank you to Phil Gramm for making sure Glass-Steagle was repealed making it that much easier for the housing bubble to inflate and to make it easier for taxpayers to bail out the likes of Bear Starns. Damn right Phill Gramm. Damn whiners.

    — Kent Shaw

  13. woody188  July 10, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Pollchecker I’m sorry, but my wife and I just had a kid and insurance is paying for 90% of her hospital bills and covered her OB charges except for the co-pay. So they certainly do pay for pregnancy.

    They won’t pay for a vasectomy, but they will a medically necessary hysterectomy. Isn’t this the same type of issue only in reverse to benefit women?

    I think your calls of sexism are unwarranted.

    Yes, McCain probably has trouble remembering what he ate yesterday. If that is Hal’s point he had ample situations to show that. He didn’t need to promote a hot button non-issue.

  14. pollchecker  July 10, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    I am happy that you have insurance that pays for pregnancy. I have never had that luxury. When I needed it, it only paid for complications that required C-sections….is it a wonder that more and more c-sections keep being performed?

    If men had to pay extra for pregnancy the way most women’s policies do because after all without sperm …well that’s another issue but I know you get my drift…then the entire pregnancy, birth control, abortion, etc etc issue would have been resolved a long time ago.

    I apologize if my inference to you was taken as sexist. But that quote came FIRST from my 84 year old conservative father from Mississippi. I was totally flabbergasted that he said it but it only proves that we can still all change our positions over the years.

    However, I agree that Hal’s point was McCain doesn’t even know his position, what he said, what he voted. And this is a serious contender for POTUS? Good grief!

  15. pollchecker  July 10, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    McCain Campaign Initially Stood By Gramm Remarks

    But in an initial statement published by Politico and then, seemingly, removed from its site, a McCain campaign aide actually stood by Gramm’s remarks, saying the interview as a whole was merely meant as a preview of the Senator’s economic agenda.

    …Only after the fallout from Gramm’s statement did the McCain campaign fully backtrack.

    Here’s one even better for you Hal (grin)!

  16. Hal Brown  July 10, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    Obama’s a member of the intellectual elite and when he shows it too much he risks alienating some voters. I suspect McCain is a member of the social elite, those who think they are superior because they have money, position, power and connections… it sure seems that Gramm is.

  17. pollchecker  July 10, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Social Elitist…that’s a good word for it….where they all stand around drinking and talking about how anyone who is white and poor is defective? That kind of talking? that it’s ok to be poor and black, that’s expected. and it’s ok to be a poor mexican because hell, half of them are illegal anyways…but you have no excuse for being poor and white except lazy or a druggie. You mean that type of social elitist? Ok…talk to Karl Rove about that type of elitist…or even Jesse Jackson perhaps. For certain the entire Bush family knows about that type of elitist. I grew up listening to that crap!

    In fact, ask Barbara Bush what type of champagne she likes best to drink out of her shoes after dinner (wink, wink). Wouldn’t surprise me if Cindy McCain has enjoyed a sip or two as well. America doesn’t get that type of social elitist, Hal. perhaps that is why they fall prey to it on a fairly consistent basis.

  18. pollchecker  July 11, 2008 at 12:23 am

    Here you go, Hal. You scooped the MSM on this one.

    McCain’s Birth Control Problem complete with Video

  19. Hal Brown  July 11, 2008 at 6:59 am

    Hmmmm:

    More troubling for the presumptive GOP nominee is that the video of his awkward exchange aboard the Straight Talk Express is getting wider attention from major media outlets (which apparently can’t resist the Viagra angle). (above link from HuffPo)

    It is sexier, hence bigger story than this will be:

    “In Pennsylvania, McCain Tells a New Version of Heroic P.O.W. Story — Subbing the Pittsburgh Steelers for the Green Bay Packers” LINK; but such reported incidents of McCain’s cognitive lapses seem to be increasing.

    The commonality between this two goes beyond his not being mentally sharp. Both demonstrate he is trying to make sure that whatever he says will be either gain him votes, or not loose him votes.

  20. pollchecker  July 11, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    Another Gaffe: McCain Unsure Whether Condoms Prevent STDs

    The bus had been rolling for a half-hour and McCain was holding court on everything from Iraq to college basketball. (“Who woulda thought? VCU,” he exclaimed upon boarding.) And then someone asked about public funding for contraception in Africa to prevent the spread of AIDS.

    “I’m sure I’ve taken a position on it in the past,” he stammered as he looked to his communications director. “I’m sure I’m opposed to government funding.”

    Sensing a vulnerable moment, reporters kept the questions coming. What about sex education in the schools? Should it mention contraceptives? Or only abstinence, like President Bush wants?

    “I think I support the president’s present policy,” he said, tentatively.

    More questions: Do condoms stop sexually transmitted disease?

    A long pause.

    A stern look.

    “I’ve never gotten into these issues or thought much about them,” he said, almost crying uncle.

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