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John McCain tells 'SNL' how he's going to win the election

November 2, 2008 |  8:30 am

Self-proclaimed maverick John McCain has acknowledged that he's the underdog in the presidential campaign -- the Sunday morning average of the 11 national polls tracked by the website Real Clear Politics shows Democrat Barack Obama leading by 6.9 percentage points -- so on last night's "Weekend Update" segment of "Saturday Night Live,"  the Republican candidate shared a campaign secret.

"You know, a lot can happen in three days," he confided to Seth Meyers, anchor of the faux news report. "And while I am confident that we will emerge victorious, I'm also considering a few radical last-minute strategies."

There's the Reverse Maverick: "I do whatever anybody tells me. I don't ask questions; I just go with the flow."

And the Double Maverick, "where I go totally berserker and just freak everybody out."

How about the Sad Grandpa? "That's where I get on TV and go, 'C'mon, Obama's gonna have plenty of chances to be president! It's my turn! Vote for me!'"

Actually, that last one is eerily similar to the recent McCain ad that ends "Barack Obama's not ready ... YET."

(For more video and the full transcript of the "Weekend Update" segment with McCain -- along with a couple of zingers from Meyers plus a backstage interview with the candidate -- click on the Read more... line below.)

Last night was McCain's third appearance ...

... on the late-night comedy show, which in recent weeks has scored its best ratings in years with its trenchant political satire.

In the season finale last May, long after he had clinched the Republican nomination, he was in two sketches, joking about his age (“What should we be looking for in our next president?

Certainly, someone who is very, very, very old”) and urging the Democrats -– at that time still embroiled in a hard-fought primary battle between Obama and Hillary Clinton -– to “take every possible second” to pick a nominee. "If come November, you still haven’t decided,” he said, “I’d be willing to set aside my differences with your party and say, ‘Hey, let’s put both of them on the ballot!’”

He also hosted "SNL" in 2002, taking on entertainer Barbra Streisand for her outspoken liberal political stands ("Do I know how to sing? About as well as she knows how to govern America!" he said, mangling a tune from the movie "Yentl") and portraying then-U.S. Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft in a spoof of "Hardball."

After McCain's appearance last night, the folks at "SNL" posted a backstage interview with the Arizona senator, where he spoke about his previous experiences with the show ("I like to host; you get into more skits that way") and the remarkable likeness between Tina Fey and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin ("I really think they were separated at birth").

"The appearances on 'Saturday Night Live' humanize you," McCain said. "And, frankly, a lot of the people who watch 'Saturday Night Live' do not watch the Sunday morning talk shows,. So you do get a different audience and a different exposure."

-- Leslie Hoffecker

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Transcript of "Weekend Update" on the Nov. 1 "Saturday Night Live," courtesy of NBC:

SETH MEYERS: "With the election only three days away, most polls show Barack Obama leading John McCain by a slight margin.  Here to comment on his campaign strategy, Sen. John McCain."

SEN. JOHN McCAIN: "Thank you Seth.  You know, a lot can happen in three days. And while I am confident that we will emerge victorious, I'm also considering a few radical last-minute strategies."

MEYERS: "New strategies, like what?

McCAIN: "Well you know how people call me 'the maverick.' "

MEYERS: "Yeah."

McCAIN: "Well, I thought I'd try a strategy called the 'Reverse Maverick.' That's where I do whatever anybody tells me. I don't ask questions -- I just go with the flow. If that doesn't work, I go to the 'Double Maverick.' That's where I go totally berserker and just freak everybody out. Even the regular mavericks."

MEYERS: "That doesn't sound like the best strategy."

McCAIN: "It isn't. And here's another bad one. It's called 'The Sad Grandpa.' That's where I get on TV and go, 'C'mon, Obama's gonna have plenty of chances to be president! It's my turn! Vote for me!' "

MEYERS: "Yeah, I don't know if I'd do that."

McCAIN: "OK, then here's a good one. It's called 'The Charleston.' That's where I only campaign in Charleston, S.C. Really lock it down. Meet every single resident three or four times.  Or how about 'The Forrest Gump'? That's where I just start jogging across America and eventually everything works out."

MEYERS: That might work.

McCAIN: "Or maybe 'The Rocky IV': I live alone in the wilderness and pull a sled through the snow until I'm in peak physical condition."

MEYERS: "How would that help you win an election?"

McCAIN: "It won't.  But if I ever have to fight Vladimir Putin, I'll be ready."

MEYERS: "All right. Well, if you had to choose one strategy in the remaining days, what would it be?"

McCAIN: "Seth, my basic strategy is the one I've stuck with since I started this campaign: Connect with the voters, talk with them honestly about the issues, and stand by my record of service to this great country."

MEYERS: "And if that doesn't work?"

McCAIN: "Probably the 'Double Maverick.' "

MEYERS: "Sen. John McCain, everyone!"

And just because we think they're funny, a couple of zingers from Seth Meyers on the "Weekend Update" "news" report:

"While speaking at a campaign rally is western Pennsylvania, which is Pittsburgh Pirates territory, Sarah Palin was booed when she said that she was 'thrilled to be here in the home state of the world champion Philadelphia Phillies.' Though in fairness to Palin, she's not used to states with more than one city."

"At a campaign rally on Thursday, Sen. McCain called Joe the Plumber and called him up to the stage, only to learn then that he was not at the rally. In fairness to Joe the Plumber, he said he'd be there sometime between noon and 6 p.m."

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