John McCain didn’t like the heat in Lee Bandy’s kitchen

On a previous post, I quoted Aaron Sheinin telling a story about how, after “Brad and Cindi and Mike and Warren finished their wonk nerd questions” in editorial board interviews, Lee Bandy would weigh in with something that made the guest politico squirm.

Today, fellow alumnus Bill Castronuovo reminded me, over on Facebook, of video I shot of Lee making John McCain very uncomfortable in our boardroom in August 2007.

You don’t see Lee (hey, I had enough trouble keeping a camera trained on the candidate while taking notes and presiding over the meeting; two cameras were impossible), but that’s his voice you hear asking the question that brings out McCain’s dark side. Since the mike is facing away from Lee, you might have trouble hearing the question. I can’t make out parts of it myself, what with McCain talking over Lee before he could get it all out. But here’s the audible part:

What went wrong with your campaign? You were sailing along… you had a wide lead over everybody else… now you have to fight for your political life.

As you see, the senator did not like the question a bit.

To set the stage: McCain was considered practically down and out in this stage of the campaign for the GOP nomination. A few months before, he had been the unquestioned front-runner. But things seemed to have fallen apart for him. A few weeks earlier, I had posted this report (also with video), headlined “McCain goes to the mattresses.” In the video, McCain staffer B.J. Boling (one of his few remaining at this low point) said they were going from a huge production to “an insurgency-type campaign.”

In the end, it worked. McCain managed to win in SC, and go on to win the nomination. But at this point in the campaign, the candidate was in no mood to take questions about how badly he was doing from that pesky Lee Bandy…

11 thoughts on “John McCain didn’t like the heat in Lee Bandy’s kitchen

  1. Kathryn Fenner

    There were plenty of signs even before Sarah Palin that McCain was not suitable for a finger on the button of the nuclear football…..

    1. Doug Ross

      He’s learned the trick – you don’t have to win to get a bunch of people to give you money to spend for them. Lots of time in the limelight, keep feeling like you’re relevant. He’s hooked on the drug known as political power.

    2. Juan Caruso

      The only Republican (hostage – cleared of impropriety but criticized for poor judgment) of the Keating Five scandal contemplate another loss in defiance of nomination history only because he has been coaxed to do so by a very desperate political machine (not Republican).

      “Keating was hit with a $1.1 billion fraud and racketeering action, filed against him by the regulators.[4] In talking to reporters in April, Keating said, ‘One question, among many raised in recent weeks, had to do with whether my financial support in any way influenced several political figures to take up my cause. I want to say in the most forceful way I can: I certainly hope so’.”

      Did McCain’s poor judgement improve after Keating (part of the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s and 1990s called “the S&L crisis”) saw the failure of about 747 out of the 3,234 savings and loan associations? Apparently not: “When the market crisis originally surfaced, McCain – now infamously – was the one to declare that the fundamentals of the economy were strong. Later he would call the situation the worst since World War II.”

      Jeb Bush, a guaranteed 2016 loser, would fair a point or two better than the relic John McCain.

  2. Doug Ross

    McCain said Iraq and health insurance were the biggest issues of the day at that point. I wonder what his solution was for health insurance?

  3. Barry

    McCain didn’t sound that upset. He wasn’t happy I am sure.

    I’ve often wondered how reporters would do if asked the same question 560 times, on 3 hours sleep, after flying half way across the country to go sit and take questions from people that you know don’t like you that much anyway.

    1. Barry

      I’ll answer my own question

      they wouldn’t do as well as 99% of the candidates they cover. Most reporters aren’t that keen on answering questions themselves.


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