Reid on McCain: "he doesn't have the temperament to be president"

Joe at AMERICAblog catches an interview Harry Reid did with the Nevada-based pundit Jon Ralston:

"I just think he doesn't have the temperament to be president," Reid told Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston during the taping of "Face to Face," in Denver on Wednesday. The show airs on a Las Vegas, Nev., cable channel.

"I've served with the man 26 years," Reid said. "Do I have the ability to speak with experience about someone who has abused everyone he's dealt with? Someone who does not have the temperament to be president, who's wrong on the war, wrong on the economy, wrong on nuclear waste. What am I supposed to do? Walk around talking about what a great guy he is? I don't believe that. .... "

"There isn't a Republican serving in the Senate that's happy he's the nominee. Now, they're all supporting him, but I'll tell you they have told me. I've had Republican senators tell me they don't think they'll vote for him," Reid said.

When Ralston asked if Reid thought it would be "dangerous" to let McCain be president, Reid answered: "Well, if you said it, I wouldn't correct you."

"Is that right?" Ralston asked. "You really think that?"

"That's right," said Reid, who predicted that Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama would carry the battleground state of Nevada by 5 percentage points.

And there's no chance the "temperament" charge from Reid was an accident: he just repeated the point in a meeting with bloggers this morning.

You hear "John McCain is my good friend, but..." line from many Dem Senators as a pretext to criticism the Republican candidate. But no such qualification from the Majority Leader: Reid told Lieberman he "can't stand John McCain." But more than that, I think now is precisely the time to begin introducing this aspect of McCain's personality - right when the traditional media is discovering the same thing:

McCain's Prickly TIME Interview

For years, John McCain's marathon bull sessions with reporters were more than a means of delivering a message; they were the message. McCain proudly, flagrantly refused direction from handlers, rarely dodged tough questions and considered those who did wimps and frauds. The style told voters that he was unafraid, that he had nothing to hide and that what you see is what you get. "Anything you want to talk about," he promised reporters aboard the Straight Talk Express in Iowa back in March 2007.

...so when TIME's James Carney and Michael Scherer were invited to the front of McCain's plane recently for an interview, they were ushered forward, past the curtain that now separates reporters from the candidate, past the sofa that was designed for his gabfests with the press and taken straight to the candidate's seat. McCain at first seemed happy enough to do the interview. But his mood quickly soured. The McCain on display in the 24-minute interview was prickly, at times abrasive, and determined not to stray off message.

McCain, now with a shot at winning, is not acting well under pressure. And when that happens, as Reid acknowledges, he's dangerous.

Tags: Harry Reid, John McCain (all tags)

Comments

22 Comments

The most effective point of this

might also be the reason it should come hard at McCain. Calling McCain angry and a hothead, ironically, seems to really, really piss him off.

But this can also mean that the GOP will be sending him through a crash course in anger management ASAP. So we need to either go hard and go until it's clear he isn't responding or go very slowly, taking a whole bunch of jabs and then saying something that will set him off at the debate.

by vcalzone 2008-08-28 09:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on McCain

Harry Reid really can be a great red meat guy when he gets going.  That casual allegation, "I've had Republican senators tell me they don't think they'll vote for him," damn that's good.  I'd love to see some buzz get started around THAT.

With Lieberman gone from the party, is there a single Democratic Senator who won't vote for Barack Obama?  The very notion is absurd.  Tells you something.

by Steve M 2008-08-28 09:56AM | 0 recs
"he doesn't have the temperament "

Wow.  That is the kind of attack I have been waiting to hear.  

I love that he lets the reporter quote him saying that McCain would be dangerous.

by gavoter 2008-08-28 09:57AM | 0 recs
"fear and loathing in las vegas"

That would be a great title for this post.

by mikeinsf 2008-08-28 10:04AM | 0 recs
Re: "fear and loathing in las vegas"

Would have to be "in Searchlight."

by Josh Orton 2008-08-28 10:11AM | 0 recs
Re: "fear and loathing in las vegas"

Fear and Loathing in the Las Vegas Sun?  

by mikeinsf 2008-08-28 10:39AM | 0 recs
What can we do to set him off?
I believe a possible strategy for the Democrats to use against John McCain is to try to trigger his quick temper, but it would have to be in front of cameras. Any ideas?
by zenful6219 2008-08-28 10:40AM | 0 recs
Re: What can we do to set him off?

Too bad McCain stopped doing his job as a Senator, otherwise there'd be that. I don't know, I think we can get him pretty boiling mad from a distance, to the point that when they get together, it won't take much to set him off.

Something else that would do it? Going after him or stealing the spotlight on the day he's accepting his nomination. A big rally the day of or day before would do it. So would buying a big chunk of ad time about 15 minutes before his speech.

by vcalzone 2008-08-28 10:48AM | 0 recs
Re: What can we do to set him off?

Maybe Barack can needle him during the debates. Can you imagine him exploding and shouting "F**k You, asshole!" on camera as has been alleged he has done in the Senate.

by antiHyde 2008-08-28 03:17PM | 0 recs
Re: What can we do to set him off?

I honestly suspect this may be why Obama has been hitting the gym so much. he plans to really piss Mccain off at one of these debates and wants to make sure he doesn't get his ass kicked by an old man.

by vcalzone 2008-08-28 10:08PM | 0 recs
Re:McC will have at least 1 public meltdown...

...before this thing is over.  Incoherent, spit-spraying, and laden with f-bombs.  I can't wait!

by half nelson 2008-08-28 10:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on McCain:

Additionally, just because somebody is turning 72 years old tomorrow does not mean that they are mature.

If Drudge is correct and McCain is trying to stage some sort of coup event during Obama's speech, it only goes to show how immature and childish and petty that McCain really is.

I know that MSNBC will have the guts to showcase it this way, but I doubt that CNN would, and FOX will of course call it brilliant and probably refuse to even air Obama's speech.

I think that this is the way Democrats need to frame this election.  McCain does not have the temprement to be President.   Bill did a great job last night with his line about the "power of our examples versus the examples of our power"

We need to remind Americans of this fact.

by gavoter 2008-08-28 10:50AM | 0 recs
NV: 14% want 3rd party candidates

When 3rd party candidates are added into the mix the in the latest CNN/TIME poll in NV, here are the results.

NEVADA
Registered Voters 4% MOE
Aug 24-26
Obama 41%
McCain 41%
Barr 5%
McKinney 3%
Nader 6%
None 3%
Other 0%
No Opinion 2%

Obama's got some work to do with 3rd party and independent voters in Nevada if Reid says he'll win by 5%.

by brooklyngreenie 2008-08-28 11:11AM | 0 recs
Re: NV: 14% want 3rd party candidates

Vote for a true progressive in November: Cynthia McKinney (GRN) for President!

. . . and watch all your progressive goals get flushed down the drain by an out-of-control, corporate-owned, war-mongering Republican president.

by blueAZ 2008-08-28 11:16AM | 0 recs
he doesn't have the temperame

It's true, he's a hothead, but right now he's being handled well, and he won't show it.  I suppose it could even backfire, if he were goaded in some way that would win sympathy it could make his hot-headedness look refreshing.  Best to not game him, he is what he is, best to run on issues.  Barack needs to win people who don't necessarily like his coolness and his even temperament, by being humble, by asking people to vote for him (even though that's considered retro and uncool) and by being clear and specific on the issues that matter.  

by anna shane 2008-08-28 11:31AM | 0 recs
Re: he doesn't have the temperame

Why would I care about your take on things? You made it clear that even if my daughter died because she couldn't get access to health insurance under John McCain, you'd find that acceptable for you to have a fit of pique.

Really. Run back over to Alegre's litterbox and let her know we don't want them back in the Democratic party, ever. Why would I want to work with people like you? How do I know the next time things don't go your way, you'll just bugger off ina a cloud of arrogance and self-pity?

by ragekage 2008-08-28 09:07PM | 0 recs
you are really dumb?

the primary is over, I have made it more than clear that I vote Democratic, and that I'll vote for Barack.  You are fighting the wrong race, that one is over.  While you do this you just keep it going, remind others (not me) of how wacky some of Barack's early supporters remain.  Is this what you want  Are you a pug troll?  You think Barack doesn't need my cootie vote?  

by anna shane 2008-08-29 08:44AM | 0 recs
Reid said this during a local interview months ago

I heard Reid make this exact same comment about McCain several months ago on a local NPR talk show while he was promoting his (Reid's) bio book.  I was a bit stunned by his forthright comment.  So, apparently was the interviewer who asked for clarification.  Reid was only willing to rather vaguely refer to some runins he's had with McCain in the Senate, but he implied that McCain is a loose cannon who doesn't deal well with people who disagree with him and even hinted that he and McCain came close to blows at least once.  At the time, I was disappointed that there wasn't more coverage of Reid's assessment of McCain in the media (though I wasn't surprised, considering how much the media is on the tire swing for McSame).  Let's hope that Reid's characterization gets more attention now.

by katerina 2008-08-28 11:45AM | 0 recs
Reid said this during a local interview months ago

I heard Reid make this exact same comment about McCain several months ago on a local NPR talk show while he was promoting his (Reid's) bio book.  I was a bit stunned by his forthright comment.  So, apparently was the interviewer who asked for clarification.  Reid was only willing to rather vaguely refer to some runins he's had with McCain in the Senate, but he implied that McCain is a loose cannon who doesn't deal well with people who disagree with him and even hinted that he and McCain came close to blows at least once.  At the time, I was disappointed that there wasn't more coverage of Reid's assessment of McCain in the media (though I wasn't surprised, considering how much the media is on the tire swing for McSame).  Let's hope that Reid's characterization gets more attention now.

by katerina 2008-08-28 11:46AM | 0 recs
Sorry about the double post

by katerina 2008-08-28 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on McCain:

I wonder how the debates will pan out.
If you read the article from Time in the diary, he was quite "prickly"  about a couple of questions:

There's a theme that recurs in your books and your speeches, both about putting country first but also about honor. I wonder if you could define honor for us?
Read it in my books.

I've read your books.
No, I'm not going to define it.

But honor in politics?
I defined it in five books. Read my books.

by skohayes 2008-08-28 03:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Reid on McCain:

hopefully this is the wheels falling off of the bus.   McCain has been the friend of the press for a long time.  If his pisses them off, they might just turn against him

by gavoter 2008-08-28 04:01PM | 0 recs

Diaries

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