Saying he doesn’t want to end up as “one of those old guys that should’ve shoved off,” Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) told Hollywood industry website The Wrap last week that his current term might be his last.
That caused a minor sensation on the Internet. Jaded conservatives weary of McCain’s cross-party liberalism took to political blogs to commemorate the news with comments that were equal parts jubilant and vindictive.
So McCain, currently serving his fifth Senate term, got back out on Twitter to clear things up.
To clarify: I’ve long said I’ll wait a few yrs before thinking about whether to seek reelection in 2016. Focused on our present challenges
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) September 13, 2013
The Wrap’s Tim Molloy had overheard McCain’s “last term” comment in a moment of candor while interviewing the Senator at a launch party for — wait for it — Pivot TV, a new network featuring daughter Meghan in a show called “Raising McCain,” an “investigative series.”
While talking with McCain (the Senator) about whether there’ll ever be a place in this world for a la carte cable pricing, Molloy paused as McCain greeted two well-wishers who doted on him for his support of President Barack Obama. From Molloy’s interview transcript (the interviewer’s words are in bold):
What about the idea that a show like a “Breaking Bad” or a “Mad Men” would never exist without bundling?
I think they would exist. I think that, look at [shows] now that are strictly over the internet.
[At this point two supporters of President Obama cut in to thank McCain for being on "our president's side for once in your life." McCain tells them, "The president and I, he's in his last term, I'm probably in mine, the relationship we have had over the past three years is quite good. Quite good."]
Is this really your last term?
Nah, I don’t know. I was trying to make a point. I have to decide in about two years so I don’t have to make a decision. I don’t want to be one of these old guys that should’ve shoved off.
I had a conversation the other day with Barry Diller. And his whole point is, technology is going to overtake all of us. When young people are… not watching television, but gettin’ their information, their entertainment and their news through other means, then there’s bound to be this kind of — you can’t restrict it to just cable. So it’s changing and it continues to change and that’s a good thing.
Clearly, Molloy caught McCain off his pleasant “banter-about-the-television-business” script when he made the smart, instantaneous decision to take ownership of something he’d overheard as a third party and question McCain about it directly. It’s interesting that McCain’s on-record response lacked the candor of his comments to the Obama supporters.
But at this stage in his career in politics, who really knows what John McCain is thinking?