Opinion: McCain, 71, nods off on ‘Late Night with Conan’


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By the time Sen. John McCain gets on NBC’s ‘Late Night with Conan O’Brien’ tonight, it’s gonna look like it’s way past the veteran senator’s bedtime.

The show was, of course, taped this afternoon, a little bit late due to a very surprising event: air traffic congestion above and around Newark’s airport. Imagine that! And on a Friday, too.



But it’s amazing what can happen when you have the Secret Service on your side: the Lincoln Tunnel was closed and McCain’s motorcade sped through midtown Manhattan to the NBC studios.

(Oh well, he wasn’t gonna win New York’s voters over anyway.)

There, the Republican nominee-to-be was well-received, even when Conan begged the 71-year-old war vet and POW to give late-night comedians something other than his age to joke about.

There was a pause. And McCain fell over asleep.

The late-night host acknowledged his colleagues had been unable to find anything to make fun about Barack Obama. (One idea: How about those Prince Charles-like jug ears?)

‘I say we’re tired of this take on you,’ O’Brien complained. ‘We....

...don’t want to do those (old) jokes anymore. Can you give us anything else? Do you have a kooky uncle? Do you have bad breath? Webbed toes? Anything? Give us something, and we’ll run with it.’

Quipped McCain: ‘All of the above!’

Then the Republican candidate suggested, ‘I was able to get shot down...I intercepted a surface-to-air missile with my own airplane. That’s no mean feat.’

Conan observed: ‘People don’t really laugh at that. I’ve tried that, they’re like, yeah, yeah, he’s a war hero. What’s your problem? I don’t know, we need to find something else, and so just think about it, get back to me.’


‘How ‘bout my mom. You know about my mom. She’s 96.’

McCain said when he got back from nearly six years in a North Vietnamese prison, his mother wanted to talk to him. She had seen videotape of him cussing out his guards and was disturbed with his language. McCain tried to explain to his mother, now 96, ‘they were the bad guys.’

When Conan asked McCain about the polls showing him behind Obama by three, four, five, 15, 20 points, McCain said that he was ‘dead, buried,’ just like last summer. When, he said, ‘we learned what it’s like to be in Group C on Southwest Airlines between (Baltimore) and Manchester Airport in New Hampshire.’

After a day in Michigan that included a speech, tech center tour and fundraiser, McCain seemed in fine form. Conan inquired about the search for his vice presidential running mate. Could he even find anyone after McCain himself had pooh-poohed the No. 2 job for so long?

‘That job,’ replied McCain, ‘will be very, very important with my vice president!’

The complete show will be aired late tonight on NBC. For a couple of video clips, courtesy of our buddy Lee at NBC, see below.

--Andrew Malcolm

Photo credits: NBC