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John McCain the jokester -- Gawker wonders if it will it hurt him

June 30, 2008 |  4:15 pm

We all remember John McCain's "bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran" mini-aria, and many of us have caught McCain during his late-night talk show appearances. He can be funny (though the laughs at his reworking the Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann" were far fewer than he may have anticipated). But can comedy kill the campaign?

Gawker has a piece (which includes some language inappropriate for this blog and which we want to warn readers about) on McCain's sense of humor and parallels to Ronald Reagan. It concludes McCain is no Gipper.

What strikes us as interesting is the issue of timing the piece raises. McCain made his "bomb Iran" joke more than a year ago -- before before his spectacular political collapse and resurrection. In many ways, McCain got a pass then. There was some backlash from people who likely wouldn't support McCain anyway, but the feeling was his campaign was moribund anyway, and the mini-flap quickly faded.

But what would happen if McCain cracked that joke now? Would that kind of stumble derail him? Or would it just further separate the pro-war from the antiwar votes?

Politics -- it's all in the timing.

-- Scott Martelle

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