Preview of Tomorrow's <em>Time</em> Magazine 'GOP' Issue--and 'Prickly' McCain Interview

In the Q & A, McCain can't think of a single criticism of his campaign so far and refuses to answer when pressed.
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As it did last week with the Democrats, Time magazine turns over much of its new issue -- arriving tomorrow -- to the Republican and their convention. It includes an amazing interview with a reluctant McCain, who Time brands right in its headline as "Prickly."

In a separate piece (not yet online), Time's Jay Carney and Michael Grunwald assert that McCain continues to consider himself a true man of "honor" but he and his aides "have convinced themselves that Obama is not honorable, that he does not love his country as much as himself. That makes it easier to justify doing whatever is necessary to defeat him -- especially if it's done in the pursuit of honor."

In fact, in the Q & A, McCain can't think of a single criticism of his campaign so far and refuses to answer when pressed. He also refuses to define what he means by "honor" when asked and refers to interviewers Carney and Michael Scherer to his books. He claims some of his past quotes have been ripped "out of context." They introduce the interview this way: "McCain at first seemed happy enough to do the interview. But his mood quickly soured. The McCain on display in the 24-minute interview was prickly, at times abrasive, and determined not to stray off message."

Former top GOP operative Michael Murphy, meanwhile, writes (not yet online), "GOP conclaves work like the docile old horse at the petting zoo... This year everything is different ... To attract votes beyond the base, McCain's convention must trumpet his peerless credentials as a reformer. He must engage passionately on middle-class economic issues. McCain's comfort zone may be world affairs, but if he cannot hold his own in a kitchen-table debate with Obama on jobs, schools and health care, he'll visit ticket-splitting kitchens once more on Election Day, but this time as toast. Finally, he must give the convention speech of a lifetime."

And Time columnist Peter Beinart predicts a nation lurching left no matter who wins: "Of all the disasters that have befallen the Republican Party in recent years, the most cataclysmic may be about to unfold: John McCain might win ... The bald reality is this: the public is more eager for activist government than it has been in years. American politics is moving left no matter who wins in 2008. The real question is whether Obama becomes the face of that leftward shift -- which will remind Republicans why they loathe Democrats -- or McCain does, in which case Republicans will increasingly loathe themselves."

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