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TWI, Live From Colombia With McCain

Jul 31, 2020
CARTAGENA, Colombia — En route to Colombia, aboard Sen. John McCain’s swanky new Straight Talk Express, a 737 with a custom paint job, the Arizona senator offered up a series of what can only be described as very cozy chats with the press corps. In shifts, reporters went up to the front of the plane to chat with McCain, who sat in a plush armchair. His colleagues, Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), sat on a small bench to McCain’s right. On his left sat his wife, Cindy, covered with a yellow fleece blanket.
In the cramped, cordoned-off section of the cabin, reporters strained to hear McCain over the jet engines. This was the first airborne edition of the regular impromptu press conferences that take place aboard the Straight Talk Express bus. It proved a learning experience. For example, as several reporters found, if you place a recorder on the floor of a moving jet, it picks up an extreme amount of background noise, making the recording unusable.
McCain started by discussing the purposes of the trip. He said he planned to focus on free trade and cooperative drug eradication efforts, and he pledged not to criticize Sen. Barack Obama, at least on the ground, during this excursion. He received several questions about retired Gen. Wesley Clark’s recent statements about his military service. The senator became obviously annoyed when one reporter asked him to explain how his service did prepare him for the presidency. McCain later apologized for his initial reaction, saying he doesn’t like to talk about certain aspects of his experience. He said it was up to Obama to repudiate and “cut loose” Clark. McCain then said he did have leadership experience, commanding the largest air squadron in the Navy.
Graham stepped in, pointing out that McCain’s military experience was on display when he opposed the Bush administration in advocating for strict rules for the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
A reporter from the BBC asked McCain if he chose to visit Colombia and Mexico as an effort to court Latino voters. He replied he was “not after votes.”
He also declined to comment on whether he supports Colombian President Alvaro Uribe’s calls for new elections.
In future, we will bring you more detailed accounts, now that we know what to expect – and we know the limits of our technology. Stay tuned.
Dexter Cooke

Dexter Cooke

Dexter Cooke is an economist, marketing strategist, and orthopedic surgeon with over 20 years of experience crafting compelling narratives that resonate worldwide. He holds a Journalism degree from Columbia University, an Economics background from Yale University, and a medical degree with a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopedic medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina. Dexter’s insights into media, economics, and marketing shine through his prolific contributions to respected publications and advisory roles for influential organizations. As an orthopedic surgeon specializing in minimally invasive knee replacement surgery and laparoscopic procedures, Dexter prioritizes patient care above all. Outside his professional pursuits, Dexter enjoys collecting vintage watches, studying ancient civilizations, learning about astronomy, and participating in charity runs.
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