December 21, 2005


A book tour or whistle-stops?: Sen. John McCain's signings look a lot like campaign rallies as crowds question him on Iraq and human rights at every turn. (Anne-Marie O'Connor, December 21, 2005, LA Times)

At moments like this, you had to remind yourself McCain is on a book tour. Such a popular book tour that a seasoned media advisor for President Bush, Mark McKinnon, who once worked for liberal Democrats, joined McCain at book signings in three Texas cities earlier this month and has told McCain he might be available to help with a presidential run in 2008, according to McCain staffers. [...]

Will Bush loyalists in the Republican Party ever forgive McCain for upstaging Bush early in the 2000 primaries? Or, more recently, for forcing Bush to yield to his amendment spelling out a ban on torture, after reports that CIA operatives were running secret detention centers overseas?

Some Bush camp followers apparently found forgiveness in their hearts. As McCain moved through Texas, media strategist McKinnon accompanied McCain to book signings in Austin, San Antonio and Houston, a McCain aide said.

McKinnon helped arrange a dinner in Austin that included James R. Huffines, chairman of the University of Texas System Board of Regents and a senior advisor to Texas Gov. Rick Perry; rock singer Sheryl Crow; and her fiancé, Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

McKinnon, who puzzled some of his oldest friends when he went to work shaping Bush's media campaign for 2000 and again in 2004, has told McCain staffers he would be interested in assisting a McCain run in 2008, provided that a candidate preferred by Bush doesn't run, a McCain aide said.

The aide said McKinnon was an "informal advisor" to McCain; McCain said he considers McKinnon a friend.

"I told the senator, as I've told the president, that if McCain chooses to run, and if people close to the president don't run, specifically Jeb Bush or Condi Rice, then I would be inclined to support him," McKinnon wrote in an e-mail, when asked about his relationship with McCain.

"I got to know the senator [McCain] when he campaigned for the president in 2004. I admire him, I respect him and I like him," McKinnon wrote. "I was glad to help facilitate a recent book-signing trip through Texas."

Karl isn't far behind.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 21, 2005 10:34 AM

"McKinnon...said he would be interested in assisting a McCain run in '08, provided that a candidate preferred by Bush doesn't run".

Doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement of McCain to me.

McCain may indeed by the GOP nominee and the 44th President. But it is only December '05 and a lot can happen between now and November '08.

Posted by: AWW at December 21, 2005 11:48 AM

Wow McCampaignFinance is really calling in his markers with the MSM.

Seems a little early to be doing that.

His polling must look real bad.


Posted by: Jim in Chicago at December 21, 2005 12:00 PM

McCain is the chosen one.

Posted by: oj at December 21, 2005 12:19 PM

OJ, you don't get to choose. All your chosen ones appear chosen only in hindsight. Three years from now you'll be talking about how Rudy or George Allen was the chosen one.

(In any case, the true chosen one is Jose Mourinho of Chelsea. Perhaps the one man in the universe with a bigger ego than Senator McCampaignTortureFinance.)

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at December 21, 2005 12:36 PM


Yes, W gets to choose and he has. That's why he sent McKinnon.

Posted by: oj at December 21, 2005 12:49 PM


Correct on Mourinho. By the way, it seems that the Gooners, the Reds, Chelski and Rangers are all moving on in the Champions League (along with Fort Wayne's own Demarcus Beasley of PSV). Am I missing anyone???

Posted by: jeff at December 21, 2005 1:08 PM

Jim: Maybe Rudy but George Allen? Only Chuck Hagel among "contenders" has less chance. An empty suit.

Posted by: Bob at December 21, 2005 1:56 PM

No that OJ needs me to stick up for him, but he did choose George Bush back in '99 when nobody but nobody thought his candidacy would get off the ground. So his picks at least get the time of day from me.

Posted by: Bryan at December 21, 2005 2:30 PM


W was the overwhelming favorite in '99, just as McCain is now. The Party always sticks with the favorite.

Posted by: oj at December 21, 2005 2:52 PM

The Conventional Wisdom prior to the primaries in '99 was McCain. As a wise man once said to me, "The Conventional Wisdom is always wrong."

Posted by: Bryan at December 21, 2005 2:57 PM

Recall that McCain winning NH was an upset. After he won it became conventional wisdom that the nomination was his.

Posted by: oj at December 21, 2005 3:19 PM

So if McCain tanks after New Hampshire '08, then being anointed by oj as The Chosen One will hereinafter be known as "bearing the Mark of McCain."

Posted by: joe shropshire at December 21, 2005 3:40 PM


Not by me, by the party. The heir apparent always wins in the GOP since it's gone to primaries.

Posted by: oj at December 21, 2005 3:43 PM

McCain still has two years to shore up his bonafieds among conservatives, and there certainly are enough issues between now and then for him to pile up chips on, aside from calling in markers around the country for his campaign efforts. The big question is whether or not he'll follow the advice of his handlers (including McKinnon) and focus on issues the base thinks are important, or if the temptation to be a media favorite will be too great and he'll shoot off a sound byte to please them, but ends up hurting him among the core voters as the '08 primary season nears.

Posted by: John at December 21, 2005 8:19 PM

I would sooner vote for a talking duck.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at December 22, 2005 12:57 AM


Yeah United are out of Europe. But we're gonna win the league this year. And the FA and League cups.

Rooney! Rooney! Rooney!

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at December 22, 2005 12:11 PM