The Life and Politics of John McCain

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Sen. John McCain in front of a portrait of himself as a fighter pilot.  (AP)
Sen. John McCain speaks in Leesville, S.C., on Sept. 28, 1999, in front of a portrait of himself during his days as a fighter pilot in Vietnam.

Last night was Sarah Palin's — and the young Alaska governor showed no fear on the national stage. She took the week’s Republican message of "America first" and no thanks to Obama, and ran with it — hard.

But it’s the man who joined her family on that stage who would be president. The man whose POW torture history is plain in every wave to the crowd. Whose record is long — and not the usual.

This hour, On Point: Sarah Palin last night, the Republican message this week, and the life story John McCain is putting into play for the presidency.

You can join the conversation. How did you like them apples, Sarah Palin-style? Whatever your politics, did you see the appeal that rocked this house last night? What’s the Republican message you’re hearing? And are you moved—moved to vote—by the life story of John McCain? Should it put him in the White House?Guests:

Robert Timberg, McCain biographer and former reporter and editor-at-large at the Baltimore Sun, where he was White House correspondent during the Reagan administration. He's the author of “The Nightingale’s Song” (1995), about the Vietnam experiences of five Annapolis graduates: John McCain, Bud McFarlane, Oliver North, John Poindexter, and James Webb. His 1999 book “John McCain: An American Odyssey," drew upon the previous book.
You can read Timberg's prologue to "John McCain: An American Odyssey."

Howard Fineman, senior Washington correspondent and columnist at Newsweek and author of "The Thirteen American Arguments: Enduring Debates That Define and Inspire Our Country." (Read an excerpt.)

Michael Crowley, senior editor at The New Republic. His article "Salter Ego," on John McCain's adviser and chief speechwriter Mark Salter, appeared in the July 30 issue.

This program aired on September 4, 2008.


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