McCain plays Hardball at Villanova

So Sen. John McCain joined us tonight for a live edition of Hardball with Chris Matthews.  Most of you were there, and there will be extensive content in tomorrow’s Villanovan, so we’re gonna keep it short and sweet.  Keep an eye on the blog – Max Stendahl will share some info from his interview with Mr. Matthews, and Matthew Crawford will be sharing some exclusive photography.

So, how was Sen. John McCain?  Before the show, he hosted a press conference in the Jake Nevin Fieldhouse, where he basically reviewed talking points from his speech this morning (cutting the gas tax, foreign policy etc), welcomed the Pope into America, and told a little girl that he is going to do his best to make sure that her mommy and daddy can decide to send her to the best school possible by rewarding schools that perform well.  All in all, general stuff.

As for Hardball, it was more like softball.  Matthews had some tough questions for the senator, but constant applause seemed to interrupt the flow of the show.  On top of that, Matthews seems a little gentler with his possible-Presidential guests (and rightfully so, they are of quite a different caliber).  The show ended up being a lot of McCain articulating rote presidential-isms.

There were a few highlights.  Matthew Brady, editor emeritus of the Villanova Times, was the first broadcasted questioner, and was not only hilarious, but also got in a nice underhanded swipe at Barack Obama, while rendering McCain somewhat confounded.  Hat trick for Brady.  Combined with “Would you join me for a shot?” the show was off to a solid start quickly with student interaction.

Both questions were featured in an AP article on student’s rendering McCain speechless:

So check that out.  It’s nice to see our Villanova students making the national news.

McCain was surprisingly kind to Barack Obama, the man who poses the greatest threat to him in the upcoming election (because really, I could beat Hillary for president).  That being said, it’s a good move for McCain to ride the wave of kindness while Obama and Hillary duke it out – he’ll be in a much better position come November.

McCain was hesitant to say if he would engage in preemptive or preventive attacks on Iran, and refused to identify a “red line” that Matthews was calling for.  It’s important, because as much as he wants to attack Bush for going into Iraq for the wrong reasons, he’s leaving himself open to enter on shaky evidence.  Not that that’s wrong, it’s just interesting to see him leave the door open.

Overall, it was a decent show.  The chance to see a presidential hopeful, on top of all the other political celebrities we have welcomed in the past month, was something every Villanovan should cherish.  The show was a little choppy, and Matthews never really hit McCain with a pure strikeout, but he wasn’t lobbing safe shots either.


4 responses to “McCain plays Hardball at Villanova

  1. I know you think they’re funny because both managed to attack a Dem while asking totally vacuous questions, but it was pretty embarrassing for our school and made us look like a bunch of partisan hack drunkards who can’t ask substantive questions.
    I know you think he’s “hilarious” since he was in charge of your paper, but regardless of your views I hardly think that’s the right choice of adjective. At best it’s mildly funny, but there’s nothing about “are you a typical white person?” which could be considered ‘hilarious’.

  2. Apparently what you claim to “know” is a bit off.

    They aren’t hilarious because they attacked a Dem, or because someone was in charge of our paper, both were hilarious because they were funny questions and received a funny response from Sen. McCain. It was a funny situation.

    If you think that this event was going to make or break Villanova’s reputation, then I think you’ll be disappointed. Whether McCain had given the most rousing speech of his life or if there had been 10 Matt Brady’s at the microphone, everyone would have forgotten the Villanova setting within a week. It was a fun event we all got to enjoy, and it’s over now. The media doesn’t care about us – they care about John McCain. I doubt the world over is judging Villanova based on that night.

  3. Also, Brady’s question wasn’t exactly “partisan,” “hack,” or “drunkard”…ish, it was pretty penetrating. A bit too much to expect a response from McCain on, sure, but, a real answer to that question would have been one of the greatest things we could have ever gotten out of the Senator.

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