If this election has truly become an endurance test, then perhaps the question to ask is, just how much can one candidate take?
I don’t typically put stock in verbal gaffes — except the one today was particularly interesting ( especially because McCain, if you watch the video, never even realized he made it). Talking about his economic agenda in Pennsylvania, instead of ending his phrase with “my fellow citizens,” McCain instead said: “Across this country, this is the agenda I have set before my fellow prisoners.”
This shot was taken on McCain’s visit to Vietnam and the Hanoi Hilton in April 2000. (I ran a related image in August stimulated by McCain’s confusion over how many houses he owns, speculating on the possibility — even proffered by his own campaign, by the way — that the confusion had something to do with his POW experience.)
What makes the image so evocative is how it suggests itself as an embodiment of McCain’s current psychological landscape. Of course, the slip could as easily resulted from McCain jumping ahead in his mind to a later part of his speech. On the other hand though, perhaps the captivity he suffered, which otherwise never seems far from his thoughts, was telegraphed today as the best emotional equivalent of how the campaign is making him feel.
(image: Jason Reed – Reuters/Corbis. April 26, 2000. Hanoi)