Bil Browning

The "Straight Talk Express?"

Filed By Bil Browning | March 17, 2007 11:19 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: condoms, HIV/AIDS, John McCain, Straight Talk Express

The New York Times has a disturbing entry up on "The Caucus" - their political blog. The reporter is traveling with John McCain on his "Straight Talk Express" bus tour and repeats a conversation between McCain and another reporter. What follows is sheer stupidity. Does this count as "straight talk?"

For the record the referenced individuals are: Dr. Coburn is Senator Tom Coburn (R - Oklahoma), Weaver is McCain's senior advisor John Weaver, and Brian is Brian Jones, McCain's press secretary.

Reporter: "Should U.S. taxpayer money go to places like Africa to fund contraception to prevent AIDS?"

Mr. McCain: "Well I think it's a combination. The guy I really respect on this is Dr. Coburn. He believes - and I was just reading the thing he wrote- that you should do what you can to encourage abstinence where there is going to be sexual activity. Where that doesn't succeed, than he thinks that we should employ contraceptives as well. But I agree with him that the first priority is on abstinence. I look to people like Dr. Coburn. I'm not very wise on it."

(Mr. McCain turns to take a question on Iraq, but a moment later looks back to the reporter who asked him about AIDS.)

Mr. McCain: "I haven't thought about it. Before I give you an answer, let me think about. Let me think about it a little bit because I never got a question about it before. I don't know if I would use taxpayers' money for it."

Q: "What about grants for sex education in the United States? Should they include instructions about using contraceptives? Or should it be Bush's policy, which is just abstinence?"

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) "Ahhh. I think I support the president's policy."

Q: "So no contraception, no counseling on contraception. Just abstinence. Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?"

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) "You've stumped me."

Q: "I mean, I think you'd probably agree it probably does help stop it?"

Mr. McCain: (Laughs) "Are we on the Straight Talk express? I'm not informed enough on it. Let me find out. You know, I'm sure I've taken a position on it on the past. I have to find out what my position was. Brian, would you find out what my position is on contraception - I'm sure I'm opposed to government spending on it, I'm sure I support the president's policies on it."

Q: "But you would agree that condoms do stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Would you say: 'No, we're not going to distribute them,' knowing that?"

Mr. McCain: (Twelve-second pause) "Get me Coburn's thing, ask Weaver to get me Coburn's paper that he just gave me in the last couple of days. I've never gotten into these issues before."


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That's scary...his comment that he hasn't gotten into these issues before. I'm afraid all too many of our legislators have the same dilemma of taking positions and making laws based on their uneducated viewpoints. Scary stuff!

Start the Bus, Baby! | March 17, 2007 4:07 PM

This is frightening, for a man who could very well be the next president.

This sounds like a senior moment to me. He is 72, and would be 74 or so when he takes the oath, if he wins...

We've been through the president-in-nap phase before: remember Reagan? We don't need it again, thank you very much.

Excellent post.

Don Sherfick | March 17, 2007 9:48 PM

Hey, Start the Bus, Baby!: Agree with you wholeheartedly about the McCain viewpoint.....but please hold the generalized "old age" stuff....there are some contributors to this site (one I know in particular) who is pushing the 70 mark and while he isn't at all interested in being POTUS, doesn't wish to be written off any time soon for an "in-nap" propensity. Young whippersnapper!

Haha, you let those kids have it, Don!

Sounds like a bad case of Ronald Reaganitis.

I generally like to go with candidates who are middle of he road, but I gave up on McCain ages ago. He left the middle and started pandering to the ultra-right. The man seems to no longer know his own mind.... or maybe he's loosing it.

Age is Relative | March 18, 2007 10:46 AM

Ronald Reagan was an old man at 30. Crass, cold, shutting out his kids...messing around on his wife, flirting with every skirt in the studio, and formulating those God-awful values he later thrust upon all of us.

And he married a woman who was similarly closed-minded. A schrew who wanted nothing to do with his kids, and who had visions of granduer that no ordinary White House china would soothe.

Age is a relative term. I know 90-year-old who are more vital than me.

Don is right. Not all 70-plus folk are ready for the nap corner. But God I wish someone would've shown Reagan how to nap more often, and we might have been better off.

Ronald Reagan, a quarter-inch thick and four miles wide. Biggest spender to ever occupy the office. Void of true character and content.

And the true believers these days want to emulate those days. Including McCain.

With due deference to his POW days, for which none of us can ever imagine the horror...McCain needs to start napping a lot. In retirement.