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John McCain: No Hillary as his VP either

August 25, 2008 |  8:23 pm

Before we get to the predictable jokes about Sen. John McCain's age (his Social Security number is 8) from tonight's chat with Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show," there were a couple oSenators John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, and his friend Democrat Hillary Clinton, who lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obamaf political points raised.

Jay asked the presumptive Republican nominee about the nastiness that suddenly emerged when Barack Obama named Sen. Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate.

"My, how he's changed," said McCain to audience laughter. "I guess it's part of politics. I've always been good friends with Joe. He has a lovely wife, Jill. And Cindy and I and Joe and Jill have been friends.  And I guess we'll -- it's only 72 days, I think. Who's counting?"

LENO:  "Wasn't he the one that suggested you run as vice president with John Kerry?"

McCAIN:  "Yes. And said that I could run on either party and be great for America. I will keep reminding him of that."

McCain said Biden's choice would not affect his choice and suggested one problem for ...

... the Republican VP candidate during any debate might be getting a word in edgewise. He praised Biden as "a fine man, a "good friend" and a "good running mate." McCain said the campaign should not be about personalities.

"We just have differences on political philosophy. Sen. Obama was the most liberal and Joe Biden was the third-most liberal of senators in the Senate, according to their voting records."

Leno had to ask McCain about the running jokes over how many houses the McCains own. "In a moment of seriousness," replied McCain, "I spent 5 1/2 years in a prison cell without -- I didn't have a house.  I didn't have a kitchen table. I didn't have a table. I didn't have a chair.  And I spent those 5 1/2 years  because -- not because I wanted to get a house when I got out.

"And, you know, I'm very proud of Cindy's father, who is a guy that barely got out of high school, fought in World War II in the Army Air Corps, came home and made a business and made the American dream."

Then, Jay had a surprise question. You seem to like Hillary Clinton a lot, he said. Why not pick her as your VP? McCain didn't bite. He commented at length on his respect for the New York senator and their ability to work together and Clinton's inspiration to millions of American women.

Then, McCain added, " it has nothing to do with likes and dislikes, although I happen to respect her enormously. It has to do with what you think government should be doing and how we've got to stop the pork-barrel spending and the earmarking and the corruption that's in Washington. The approval rating in Congress is now down to 9%. That's blood relatives and paid staffers."

-- Andrew Malcolm

Photo credit for Sens. John McCain and Hillary Rodham Clinton: Associated Press

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