Here is a quick, concise summary of the most recent conference call conducted by Senator McCain with new-media publishers and writers on July 13.

Patrick Hynes, the organizer of the call, got things under way just after 2 PM, and then Senator McCain got on the line.


Senator McCain began the call several minutes after 2 PM.  He apologized for the long delay in scheduling this conference call, saying something to the effect that he believes “these are important and should be held every two weeks”, and offered anyone who had an idea for the improvement of the process to contact him or his campaign, to submit such a proposal.

He briefly discusses the luncheon in Concord, NH, where he had just delivered a major policy address on Iraq, and said that he had been met with an enthusiastic response.  Finally,

Finally, he noted the internal campaign turmoil and said that he would miss many dear, departed friends, and that the responsibility for the campaign’s problems lie entirely with him.

Question-and-Answer Session

The first several questions, surprisingly, dealt with policy issues in Iraq, with only one question about the political issues involved with the campaign.  That questioner asked him if he could confirm the reports that the campaign had even less than the $2 million cash-on-hand which had been initially reported, due to debt.  Senator McCain apologized, saying that while he wished that he could provide a definitive answer, but could not confirm those reports simply because he had not seen the data.

One questioner finally noted that this presumably general-interest conference call had seemed to develop into a conference call devoted to Iraq, and then proceeded to ask another question on the war.  McCain noted that what he was about to say ”was trite and over-used, but I’ll say it once again – I’d rather lose a campaign than a war.”

Senator McCain also noted, in the context of his campaign troubles, that he has been met with enthusiasm in doing the town-hall meetings “that brought us victory last time [in New Hampshire in 2000].”  He expressed his optimism that the campaign turmoil “was mainly of interest to us political junkies” and that the electorate as a whole was not interested in these court intrigues, and that he didn’t view the campaign obstacles as an insurmountable problem.  (He made it quite clear – although not overtly spoken – that he certainly has no plans to drop out of the race, or run a less assertive and energetic campaign.  This was a repetition of his direct response in South Carolina to that question a couple of weeks ago: “anyone who believes that [I’m dropping out of the race] has been smoking something which is FAR more illegal, than anything permitted in the state of South Carolina.”

The final question was posed to the Senator by Time’s Ana Marie Cox, also known as “The Wonkette”.  The central part of her question was the following: “Your three main Republican rivals are all soft on the war issue” – to which the Senator laughed, in affirmation of the accuracy of Cox’s remark – ”and your campaign has become a bit of a long-shot.  If your viability decreases how you can ensure that your strongly position and feelings on the war can continue to influence debate in the Senate?”

Senator McCain’s answer was along the lines of “I’m certainly going to be in the Senate, regardless of the duties of campaigning, when Iraq comes up, because it’s simply too important.”   (The Tower interpreted this statement as quashing any of the rumors and advice provided to him by some commentators: namely, that like Senator Bob Dole in 1996, he should demonstrate his commitment to the campaign by resigning his Senate seat and devoting all of energies to his White House quest.  On the contrary, Senator McCain made it clear that he wasn’t going to leave his seat for any reason.)

After it was announced that Cox’s question was the final one, Senator McCain thanked everyone for participating.  He also reiterated what he said in his opening: if anyone had suggestions for improving the conference call process, to please let him know.  He cited certain examples: announcing in advance that conference calls were going to be devoted to certain issues, setting a regular series of dates in advance, so that participants could coordinate their schedules, etc.

Patrick Hynes, the call’s organizer, then came back on the line, thanked everyone, and noted that they had his contact info, if anyone had suggestions.

The Tower’s conference call timer on the phone indicated that the blogger conference call had taken about 34 minutes or so, although since The Tower called in several minutes prior to its actually getting under way, it probably lasted for less than 30 minutes.


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