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Sometimes John McCain sleeps in as late as 7:30 a.m.

August 9, 2008 |  1:44 am

So what time did you get up this morning?

Everybody's got their own routine and their own idea of what's "early" and what's "sleeping in."

Let Barack Obama hit the gym at 6:30 a.m. if he wants -- even on his vacation that started yesterday. John McCain, like many of us, especially on these slow summer weekends, likes his shut-eye.

"If I can sleep in to about 7:30 or 8, then it really helps me," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said late Friday night as his campaign jet hurtled west from Arkansas to Nevada.

"When I get up real early, like 5:30 or 6, [and] you don't go to bed until 10, 10:30 or 11, it helps me to get up a little later in the morning," he said.

Presidential campaigns are punishing affairs for everyone involved, especially the candidates, who are "on" virtually nonstop. Long days of shuttling from one time zone to another and numbing hours on planes and buses add to the grind.

This week alone, McCain campaigned in Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Michigan, West Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, Arkansas and Nevada.

Next week promises more of the same.

"I kinda can tell," McCain added. "If I put in three or four 18-, 20-hour days in a row, then I'm not sharp. It's just a fact. I can be sharp if I get a little more rest."

McCain, who turns 72 on Aug. 29, is in excellent health. On most days, he appears an indefatigable campaigner. Sometimes, after eight states in five days, the strain shows. At a press conference earlier Friday in Rogers, Ark., he appeared visibly fatigued.

And at a fundraiser shortly afterward, he stood beside former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who had also sought the Republican nomination, and clearly said, "I met with him last night."

But McCain apparently misspoke. Reporters promptly asked campaign staff if they'd snuck Huckabee in for a secret audition as vice president the previous night, when McCain was in Cincinnati, and they insisted it hadn't happened.

After checking, an aide said that McCain had simply met with Huckabee before the Arkansas fundraiser, not in Ohio.

-- Bob Drogin

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