The Spectacle Blog

McCain: Gen. Petraeus Should Have Been Time POY

By on 12.19.07 | 1:33PM

John McCain said on a recently concluded conference call with bloggers that Gen. Petraeus should have been named Time's Person of the Year rather than Vladamir Putin.

Of the Russian elections, McCain said, "We knew a puppet show was going on, but we didn't know who the puppet was."

In the call, McCain sounded more upbeat than he has in a long time. He joked that while all year he has dismissed polls as "bogus, and terrible, and unreliable," now that they are improving for him, he said that he now believes we should "take them as gospel truth."

In seriousness, he said that that this is a very volatile election in which there wasn't a designated successor and a lot of voters still haven't made up their minds.

He said of his rivals that, "I can out-campaign any of these people." He noted a boost in turnout and enthusiasm in his town hall meetings, and an "uptick" in fundraising which has enabled him to take out ads in South Carolina/>/>. I asked him about the $3 million line of credit his campaign took out, and specifically what was used as collateral. He said he only knew that a bank was willing to extend the loan to the campaign (not to him personally), but did not know the specifics of the agreement.

[McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker called me afterword to add that the loan was secured with "campaign assets" rather than against potential federal matching funds, and that the campaign was in "full compliance" with FEC law. The significance of this is that in the past, the FEC has ruled that using potential federal matching funds to secure a loan locks a candidate into the public financing system. Hazelbaker would not specify which "campaign assets" were used to obtain the loan.]

McCain also dismissed talk of a brokered convention, saying that he believed the nomination battle would follow the pattern of every one since 1980 -- that whoever wins two of the first three contests, would go on to win the nomination. McCain was encouraged by this morning's Rasmussen poll in Iowa/> showing him up to 14 percent, and now plans to spend some time there as well as New Hampsire and South Carolina/>/>.

As for the Huckabee surge, McCain said it reinforced the volatility of the race, since three weeks ago he wouldn't have been considered among the top candidates. Like Rudy Giuliani, McCain benefits from Huckabee beating Romney in Iowa/>/>, so it wasn't surprising that he took the opportunity to compliment Huckabee who he said he has gotten to know over the course of the campaign. McCain said Huckabee is doing well because he comes across as the "sincere, decent person that I think he is."

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