McOutofTouch

Via Outside the Beltway, I see that John McCain does not know the price of gas (SEE UPDATES- He did know, at least two weeks ago). Take it away, James:

The price of gas is the number one issue on the minds of just about every voter these days. It’s an issue that virtually transcends class. Most of us know, to the penny, what we’re paying for gas and where the cheapest gas is in our area. (Both my wife’s car and mine require high octane gasoline. The station where I generally buy has been stuck at $4.32 for quite some time now. Prices vary radically from block to block, with some charging as much as $4.65.)

I get that McCain is sheltered from many of the mundane details of everyday life because of his position. It wouldn’t bother me in the least if he didn’t know how to operate a modern gas pump. Nor would I expect him to know the price with the specificity that those of us who pump it regularly do. But, given the amazing amount of attention this issue has gotten in recent months — so much so that he’s pandering about “gas tax holidays” and the like — it’s not unreasonable to expect him to answer with something like, “It’s been so long since I pumped my own gas that I don’t remember what it cost. But I do know that it’s now over $4 a gallon and people are pissed.”

In the past, this is the sort of thing that has helped to put away candidates- we all remember the silly assertion that George Bush was surprised by a grocery scanner or Giuliani didn’t know the cost of a loaf of bread. While false, the story did help the Clinton team portray Bush as out of touch and unaware of what people were going through economically. The real question is whether or not the media will dump their mancrush to savage McMavericky straight talk over his lack of awareness the way they would if this were, well, anyone else.

I doubt it, in fact, I bet they defend him (I can hear Matthews now, after ten years gushing about the common man and holding that being in touch with the common man is the highest virtue- “Heck, I don’t know the price of gas. It is so hard to keep up with.”) . Hell, here is a preview of what you can expect this week from cable shows- some Rev. Wright footage, anyone?

Just get used to it. Remember, liberal media and all that. It is why there have been so many liberal Presidents.

*** Update ***

For those of you who claim that he was referring to the last time he pumped gas, that could be plausible. Here is the quote:

When was the last time you pumped your own gas and how much did it cost?

Oh, I don’t remember. Now there’s Secret Service protection. But I’ve done it for many, many years. I don’t recall and frankly, I don’t see how it matters.

I’ve had hundreds and hundreds of town hall meetings, many as short a time ago as yesterday. I communicate with the people and they communicate with me very effectively.

What would the response be if Obama said this and failed to show his allegiance to the common man? I give you a number, to show you my point:

37.

What is 37, you might ask? That is Obama’s bowling score. Why do I know that? Why can I recite that? Why was that DRILLED into my head for months?

So why does John McCain think it does not matter when he last pumped gas and it does not matter whether he knows the price of gas? Why couldn’t we get some of that vaunted straight talk- “I haven’t pumped my own gas forever, what with secret service, but the price of gas is averaging over 4 dollars a gallon and well beyond that for diesel, so much so that border state residents are going into Mexico to buy cheaper gas.”

*** Update #2 ***

Booman notices something– in the same interview, McCain accuses Bush of torturing prisoners.

*** Update #3 ***

Patterico unearths a piece from June 18th in which McCain clearly knew gas was over four dollars a gallon. So why didn’t he just say this in the OC Register interview? It can’t be just churlishness at gotcha questions, as it would be pretty rich that the guy who ran around stating Hamas wants Obama to win can’t handle some questions about the price of gas.






73 replies
  1. 1

    The last few cycles its been the Price Gallon of Milk Test that was all important to the establishment media. I guess we have our new gallon. I’d agree that it might be a good idea to know a ballpark number for a gallon of gas, but I’m still worried that a President McCain wouldn’t be any better a diplomacy than Bush. Your previous post on Peshawar is exactly what raises the most concern in my book. Of course, I have a bunch of family skin in the game, and I don’t trust the Republicans to get it right.

    Kill’em all and let God sort’em out, isn’t a meaningful strategy.

    As long as Americans think they have a god-given right to drive any gas guzzler they see fit we won’t solve any of these problems. I am personally looking forward to $5/gallon. Thats a lesson, even the densest “conservative” will understand. (Only because most of them have little chance of having a loved one come home in a body bag.)

  2. 2
    jake says:

    Wow. I’d never thought anyone this election cycle would out-do 911 Guliani’s confusion about the price of milk. You don’t have to go into a store to know the price of gas. You just have to look out of the god damned window of your Straight Talk Express every so often.

    Guess McEh?Speakup! is distracted by all those reporters latched onto his wedding tackle.

  3. 3
    Aqualad08 says:

    John McCain is aware of $4.00 gallons of gas.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    abiodun says:

    You remember all the talk about Edward’s wealth and haircut, and how he cannot definitely care about the poor? How come we never hear anything about McCain’s wealth and his elitism? How come we never hear anything about how his(and Bush’s) tax cut will save him so much money?
    Just wondering.

  6. 6

    Everyone, including James, is taking the comment completely out of context.

    When was the last time you pumped your own gas and how much did it cost?

    Oh, I don’t remember. Now there’s Secret Service protection. But I’ve done it for many, many years. I don’t recall and frankly, I don’t see how it matters.

    What McCain was saying was “what kind of question is that? Why is my pumping my own gas a big deal?” The Obama gets away with that kind of answer daily. Heck, if you live in many states, such as NJ, you do not pump your own gas at all.

  7. 7

    McCain’s complete ignorance of the price of a gallon of gasoline says much about the depth of his understanding of the issues that confront average Americans. He has no idea what the price is but, he’s willing to pander on the issue anyway. No one could have anticipated that living the first half of his life on the government payroll and the second half on his wife’s money would leave McCain utterly clueless about how life is lived outside of the Beltway.
    He’s not alone. Most of our politicians spend their time with other politicians, lobbyists and fund raisers. We have gradually created a class of Mandarins who have more in common with each other than with any of the people whom they profess to represent.

  8. 8
    John Cole says:

    Everyone, including James, is taking the comment completely out of context.

    Can you use the McCain points you earn on the Hugh Hewitt Cruise?

    Seriously, if the shoe was on the other foot, you think Obama would get away with this? Spare me. As proof, I can tell you that Barack Obama bowled a 37 in Pennsylvania. Why do I know that? Why was that DRILLED INTO MY DAMNED HEAD for three weeks?

  9. 9

    What McCain was saying was “what kind of question is that? Why is my pumping my own gas a big deal?”

    McCain was saying exactly what he said: he didn’t know a crucial detail about an issue on which he’s pandered non-stop. I wouldn’t expect him to know the exact price of a gallon of gas. I would expect him to know that it’s over four dollars and that if it goes over five dollars the impact on the economy will go from severe to catastrophic. We have a president in office now with a habit of overlooking crucial details. Do we really want another one?

  10. 10
    cleek says:

    Heck, if you live in many states, such as NJ, you do not pump your own gas at all.

    NJ and Oregon are the only two.

    McCain is not from either.

  11. 11
    John Cole says:

    Heck, if you live in many states, such as NJ, you do not pump your own gas at all.

    I don’t make my bread when I go to Kroger, but I do know how much it costs.

  12. 12
    Wilfred says:

    I ran it through the McCain War Hero Generator and got:

    “I didn’t pump my own gas when I was a prisoner in the Hanoi Hilton. The North Vietnamese didn’t question me about gas prices, pal.”

  13. 13
    publius says:

    Just to be devils advocate (literally, in this case), isn’t mccain saying he doesn’t remember the price BACK WHEN HE LAST FILLED IT UP.

    don’t get me wrong – i’d love for this to dominate coverage this week. and i hate to be doing a marc “defend every stupid mccain statement” ambinder impersonation. but i’m not sure this is exactly what he’s saying – but i’d love to be convinced otherwise

  14. 14
    RSA says:

    I think that the complete exchange is actually more informative than the sound bite:

    WISCKOL: I’d like to ask you a couple questions suggested by voters here. They’re not reporter-type questions.

    McCAIN: Sure. It’d be a pleasure.

    WISCKOL: When was the last time you pumped your own gas and how much did it cost?

    McCAIN: Oh, I don’t remember. Now there’s Secret Service protection. But I’ve done it for many, many years. I don’t recall and frankly, I don’t see how it matters.

    You’d think that a politician, primed to answer a question suggested by voters, wouldn’t end the answer with “I don’t see how it matters.” Because, you know, obviously it does to some people.

  15. 15
    Danny Noonan says:

    I’m going to have to agree with Publius. McCain wasn’t clear, as usual. But I don’t think he was referring to the price of gas.

  16. 16
    Dave_Violence says:

    Is there a reason “we” want the president to know the price of things? I don’t shop for food (that’s the job of Wife_of_Dave_Violence), so I really do not know how much a loaf of bread costs, but I’d bet it’s in the $2 range. In terms of socks, I do not care how much socks cost, and the spectacle of GHWB buying socks is one of the stupidest campaign stunts in recent history. (Why is the President buying socks? That’s what you have personal assistants for, no? Better yet, that’s what your wife should be doing – and buying them out of a catalog, no less.)

    Anyway, The great state of New Jersey prohibits customers from pumping their own gas – and it is amusing to see them try when they’re out of state. Are they idiots? No, well, not for that, but they simply haven’t done it and never had to learn. With a politician, or any government employee who travels mostly on the company dime, what matters only is the final price of the full tank – and, on top of that, just keep the receipt and turn it in to someone whose job it is to account for costs.

    I also would not expect Barak Obama to recall retail prices for anything – like he has time for that?

    All this is just blowing smoke, besides, high gas prices means less driving, less plane travel and that’s good for the environment, right?

  17. 17
    RSA says:

    Is there a reason “we” want the president to know the price of things?

    Maybe not everything, but then again, the rising price of socks isn’t really driving the economy into the ground. And we’ve had eight years of a hands-off, non-detail guy in the White House, who claims with a straight face that the checks we’re getting from the government this summer will help people out of their mortgage troubles. It’s like seeing your elderly relative give your kid a nickel and saying, “Buy yourself a candy bar.”

  18. 18
    cleek says:

    not knowing the price of gas, in a situation when the price of gas is the number one issue affecting the economy is like not knowing the difference between Sunni and Shia – except that the price of gas is just a single number and not a list of theological differences between sects of a religion which isn’t your own. McCain’s staff is failing him.

  19. 19
    gypsy howell says:

    Is there a reason “we” want the president to know the price of things?

    Considering that the price of gas is the lead story in nearly every news cycle these days, and the impact on our economy is enormous — yes, I would expect a presidential candidate to be somewhat aware of what it costs, regardless of whether he’s bought gas himself in the last 25 years.

    Even from a simple PR/election strategy perspective, what moron running for president wouldn’t make it his business to know something about the number one issue on every American’s mind? McCain isn’t just out of touch because he doesn’t know the price of gas, he’s out of touch because he doesn’t even get why he SHOULD know the price of gas.

  20. 20
    Andrew J. Lazarus says:

    Bush Sr didn’t recognize the grocery scanner. After that came damage control.

  21. 21
    Andrew says:

    It’s best that we not know the price of gas, because it’s only going to get much worse after we bomb Iran.

  22. 22
    RH Potfry says:

    It’s horrible that McCain could not answer the question, “What is the cost of gas right now?”

    Oh wait, that’s not what they asked him.

    They asked him the price of gas last time he pumped it, which could have been as much a year ago.

    But let’s not let the details get in the way of a good “gotcha.”

  23. 23
    Sleeper says:

    Anyway, The great state of New Jersey prohibits customers from pumping their own gas – and it is amusing to see them try when they’re out of state. Are they idiots? No, well, not for that, but they simply haven’t done it and never had to learn.

    I’m a New Jerseyan, and I’ll be honest, the thought of having to pump my own gas like some common ruffian has been one of the few things that’s kept me from moving out of this godawful place over the years. It’s a deeply ingrained cultural whatever. How do the rest of you do it?

  24. 24
    HRA says:

    McCain not knowing the price of gas does not strike me as damaging as his followup up to the question -“does it really matter”. If it doesn’t matter then why does he make speeches and give options on how to solve it? Who will listen to him now about the gas prices rising? I agree with whoever said “if Obama said this…”
    I went through this long torturous campaign for the nomination watching my husband storm from the room when Obama was attacked unmercilessly on the media. It was a nice short lull. Now this ex-Marine does it once again everytime McCain’s war record is invoked as his more credible patriotism. Arghh!

  25. 25
    handy says:

    But let’s not let the details get in the way of a good “gotcha.”

    It is a “gotcha.” The original post is not disputing that. In fact, it is central to his…errm…point.

    The question is how will the MSM treat this. Like they treated the John Edwards $400 haircut? Like the Obama “bitter” comment, which somehow proved he was an elitist?

    Or will they just laugh at themselves, go, “Boy, isn’t he just a maverick!” and move on? Again.

  26. 26

    […] McCain, of course, knows exactly how much it matters. As John Cole notes, similar incidents damaged George H.W. Bush and Rudy Giuliani during campaigns…but during this campaign, a key tenet of the GOP has been, since the Obama “Bitter, Clinging” gaffe that the Democratic nominee is an elitist. […]

  27. 27
    RH Potfry says:

    It is a “gotcha.” The original post is not disputing that. In fact, it is central to his…errm…point.

    The question is how will the MSM treat this. Like they treated the John Edwards $400 haircut? Like the Obama “bitter” comment, which somehow proved he was an elitist?

    Or will they just laugh at themselves, go, “Boy, isn’t he just a maverick!” and move on? Again.

    Uh, I was being sarcastic. It’s only a “gotcha” if you stretch it to its breaking point. You cannot conclude from the transcript that McCain does not know the price of gas. You can conclude that he does not remember the price of gas last time he pumped it, which may have been a year ago. And when he says “It doesn’t matter,” he’s not talking about gas prices, as so many frothing liberal blogs would like you to believe. He was saying what the price of gas was last time he pumped it does not matter. And he’s right.

  28. 28
    John Cole says:

    Uh, I was being sarcastic. It’s only a “gotcha” if you stretch it to its breaking point. You cannot conclude from the transcript that McCain does not know the price of gas. You can conclude that he does not remember the price of gas last time he pumped it, which may have been a year ago. And when he says “It doesn’t matter,” he’s not talking about gas prices, as so many frothing liberal blogs would like you to believe. He was saying what the price of gas was last time he pumped it does not matter. And he’s right.

    Just so we are clear, should something similar happen to Obama, you will be running around on right-leaning blogs correcting the record. Right?

    Oh, my bad. You are too busy creating the top nine Obama campaign slogans as inspired by Rev. Wright. Because you are concerned about issues, and not “Gotcha” questions!

    MMMM. McCain points. Num num num num. Gobble ’em up while they are hot!

  29. 29
    slippy hussein toad says:

    You cannot conclude from the transcript that McCain does not know the price of gas.

    Actually that is what he said. He was asked what the price was last time he pumped it and he couldn’t remember. Now, as others have observed, you have to be blind, deaf, and dumb to not know the price of gas. It’s advertised in eight-foot-high numbers on every street corner in the country.

    Furthermore he said it doesn’t matter.

    He is so the fuck out of touch.

  30. 30
    Martin says:

    The reason why people freak out over gas going up $.07 a gallon but then grab a bottled water at ~$9 gallon (not 3 minutes after they left their house, full of both bottles and nearly free water) is that gas is the only commodity that we buy that is published on street corners. The mere fact that you do know the price, at every visible location that sells it, every single time you pass forces you to pay attention to the price and to the price changes. If the stations hid their prices like every other store, we probably would be more worried about the price of bread, eggs, and milk going up, which at least for my family with kids is taking a deeper cut to our budget.

    But the lesson here for McCain is that he doesn’t need to pump his own gas to know the price – he just needs to look out the window of the Straight Talk Express and care about what he sees. You know he looks out the window – you can’t help but do that. The only conclusion is that he just doesn’t care about what’s out there.

  31. 31
    tom.a says:

    When was the last time you pumped your own gas and how much did it cost?
    Oh, I don’t remember. Now there’s Secret Service protection.

    What does Secret Service protection have to do with it, do they pump his gas for him? If he doesn’t pump it, then who does? Unless the guy is living in OR or NJ (elsewhere?) where they pump the gas for you by law, he either has his driver pump his gas for him (how elitist!) or he simply has no idea what gas costs. Also, as far back as April 2008, McCain didn’t have secret service protection, so he can’t remember 2 months ago?

  32. 32
    John Cole says:

    The reason why people freak out over gas going up $.07 a gallon but then grab a bottled water at ~$9 gallon (not 3 minutes after they left their house, full of both bottles and nearly free water)

    Bottled water also has the benefit of being a small-scale catastrophe for the environment. I never understood why people drink bottled water. Buy a portable container and a cheap filter if the city water bothers you. They sell those big gallon containers you can put in your fridge in every grocery store.

  33. 33
    rawshark says:

    we all remember the silly assertion that George Bush was surprised by a grocery scanner

    Silly? It happened. Deal with that. Your boy was amazed by a supermarket scanner. Big deal. The silly part is where they act like it should prevent him from being president.
    With McCain it’s different. Him not knowing the price of a gallon of gas wouldn’t surprise me in the least……unless he’s made a campaign issue out of it, which he has. That makes him an idiot.

  34. 34
    Martin says:

    I’m a New Jerseyan, and I’ll be honest, the thought of having to pump my own gas like some common ruffian has been one of the few things that’s kept me from moving out of this godawful place over the years. It’s a deeply ingrained cultural whatever. How do the rest of you do it?

    The key is not using a lighter to see if the tank is full. That’s why you have paid experts for that task. You guys figure out how to make left turns yet?

    (Don’t blame us for casting you as a state of 9 million Derek Zoolanders.)

  35. 35
    jake says:

    BUT OBAMA MENTION ARUGULA TO FARMERS!

    Welcome to the right side of the looking glass John, try not to let what’s reflected drive you mad.

  36. 36
    RSA says:

    And when he says “It doesn’t matter,” he’s not talking about gas prices, as so many frothing liberal blogs would like you to believe. He was saying what the price of gas was last time he pumped it does not matter. And he’s right.

    He is right, in that he might as well have said, “I’m worth $400 million. Why the fuck should it matter to me what a gallon of gas costs?”

  37. 37
    RH Potfry says:

    Just so we are clear, should something similar happen to Obama, you will be running around on right-leaning blogs correcting the record. Right?

    Oh, my bad. You are too busy creating the top nine Obama campaign slogans as inspired by Rev. Wright. Because you are concerned about issues, and not “Gotcha” questions!

    MMMM. McCain points. Num num num num. Gobble ‘em up while they are hot!

    Flattered that you follow our work, John. People come to our site expecting humor. I believe they come to your site expecting something approximating level-headed analysis.

    Nevertheless, I’m glad you agree that the record needed correcting. Although, I gotta tell you, the “will you do the same thing if it happens to our candidate” defense is a bit lame.

  38. 38
    jake says:

    Flattered that you follow our work, John. People come to our site expecting humor. I believe they come to your site expecting something approximating level-headed analysis.

    Not me. I checked the sign on the door before I came in.

    Hot air and ill-informed banter or fight!

  39. 39
    Tom in Texas says:

    Personally I am reassured that he has the sense not to let himself near a gas pump. Don’t things have a propensity for blowing up when McCain is nearby?

    Besides, pumping his own gas means he would be driving his own car. Anyone EVER been reassured by the sight of a 71 year old behind the wheel of an auto?

  40. 40
    John Cole says:

    Nevertheless, I’m glad you agree that the record needed correcting. Although, I gotta tell you, the “will you do the same thing if it happens to our candidate” defense is a bit lame.

    Correcting the record? He still said exactly what I said- hedoesn;t remember when he last pumped gas and how much it was, and IT DOES NOT MATTER.

    You want to run with that, go for it. I think it will make a great commercial for this champion of the common man- ‘My name is John McCain, and I don’t remember the last time I pumped gas or how much it was, and IT DOESN’T MATTER!”

    Have fun with that. Maybe you could throw in “And get off my grass!” at the end. But don’t show him from the left side- he looks old from that angle.

  41. 41
    doggril says:

    Seems like a lot of people are misreading the question. It asks what the price of gas was when McCain last pumped it himself. From there you have to speculate what the person who asked was trying to get to. It sure makes sense to me that the implicit point was how much gas has skyrocketed under this administration. So when McSame answers that it doesn’t matter, what comes across to me is that it doesn’t matter how much gas prices have gone up. Seems pretty callous and out of touch to me.

  42. 42
    SFAW says:

    Re: ARUGULA
    Was it that elitist Dukakis who talked about farming of Belgian endive (which NJ-ers insist on pronouncing “ahn-deev'”, usually while the chauffeur is pumping gas)? I bet if Obama talked about arugula, it could similarly destroy his campaign. Now, if only Charlie Black could arrange a tank ride for Obama …

  43. 43
    Mike P says:

    John Cole 3
    Haters 0

  44. 44
    Jess says:

    By itself, McCain’s comment is pretty innocuous, and I agree with those who point out that he’s referring to the price of gas when he last pumped it. But it is a part of a larger pattern of confusion, a lack of interest in pertinent details, and a dismissive attitude towards things he hasn’t experienced personally. Not qualities I look for in a president.

  45. 45
    Jess says:

    Re: ARUGULA
    Was it that elitist Dukakis who talked about farming of Belgian endive (which NJ-ers insist on pronouncing “ahn-deev’”, usually while the chauffeur is pumping gas)? I bet if Obama talked about arugula, it could similarly destroy his campaign. Now, if only Charlie Black could arrange a tank ride for Obama …

    I hope this muddled comment is an attempted spoof, but just in case it’s not–where do you suppose arugula comes from? Do you imagine that it’s hand-crafted in French boutiques, or organically grown in Berkeley by rich socialists? Or could it possibly be grown in the Midwest by farmers like the ones Obama was addressing?

  46. 46
    Breschau says:

    Just so we are clear, should something similar happen to Obama, you will be running around on right-leaning blogs correcting the record. Right?

    This is what kills me about today’s “price of gas” and “Cindy McCain hasn’t paid taxes in four years” supposed “controversies” — they’re rather silly, inconsequential, and have nothing to do with whether someone is qualified for the Presidency.

    No, really – go ask all the right-leaning blogs out there. And this time, they’re right.

    But the simple fact is, if these two issues involved Barack and Michelle, instead of John and Cindy – they would all be out their in their prime, pearl-clutching glory, blasting the Obamas with both barrels.

    The lack of self-awareness in the wingnut blogosphere is just truly staggering.

  47. 47
    Bithead says:

    When was the last time you pumped gas where the price hadn’t changed rather dramatically from the day before? I went on an 800 mile run yesterday, and as I drove back past the same gas stations I drove past going out, the prices had changed less than 12 hours later! Threw my cost estimates for the run, off by several dollars. Who’s supposed to keep up with this, even when you drive quite a bit?

    There’s this, too; Most of that change has been within the last year, the period during which McCain has been living out of a jet, doing stump speeches and the like. IN short, McCain doesn’t drive much at all of late, nor would anyone else running for high elective office just now.

    Obama, just as an offhanded example:

    How about asking that question of Obama, the guy so disconnected from the weight of gas prices he thinks we’re not paying enough?

  48. 48
    Steve says:

    Pretty weak.

    But on a broader level, I’m surprised that liberals/Democrats are even interested in playing these types of games. We usually lose them.

  49. 49
    RH Potfry says:

    John Cole said: Correcting the record? He still said exactly what I said- hedoesn;t remember when he last pumped gas and how much it was, and IT DOES NOT MATTER.

    The first sentence in your post reads:

    Via Outside The Beltway, I see that John McCain does not know the price of gas.

    Tense is pretty critical here, John: the alleged elitism inherent in the accusation carries a ton more impact if it’s now as opposed to 8 or 9 months ago.

    I’d be pretty annoyed if John McCain didn’t know, within some acceptable range, the price of gas right now. But that’s simply not what he said.

    Thanks for considering my point of view.

  50. 50
    Martin says:

    The lack of self-awareness in the wingnut blogosphere is just truly staggering.

    They’re aware. The difference is that liberals deserve the treatment because they are liberal and hate america while conservatives, being the only real protectors of democracy and hot babes, are undeserving of the treatment.

  51. 51
    John Cole says:

    When was the last time you pumped gas where the price hadn’t changed rather dramatically from the day before? I went on an 800 mile run yesterday, and as I drove back past the same gas stations I drove past going out, the prices had changed less than 12 hours later! Threw my cost estimates for the run, off by several dollars. Who’s supposed to keep up with this, even when you drive quite a bit?

    This line about McCain must sting. Normally Bithead is content to lie about me on QandO or elsewhere.

    McCain was asked a simple question- “When was the last time you pumped gas and how much was it?” He didn’t remember, and said it does not matter. There are two ways to parse this- either it has been so long since he pumped gas he can not remember (this is the interpretation you all seem to like best), or it has been a long time since he pumped gas that he does not know what the price is right now. Either way, what really kills him is the “it does not matter.” That was particularly tone deaf.

    Now, on to your premise that the price of gas fluctuates wildly- it doesn’t really, it has been on a steady incline, and here where I live, it is 4.30-4.40 a gallon. Are you asserting that McCain refused to answer because he didn’t want to be off by 30-40 cents, depending on your location? Hogwash.

    And guess what? I have not driven a car in 4 years, nor pumped gas, nor EVEN paid for it, yet I can tell you the price of gas. Wonder why that is? Could it be the signs every 500 yards anywhere you go in the country? Out of touch.

    And finally, if your assertion is that he simply refused to answer and snarled it does not matter because it was a “gotcha” question, one more response- epic fail. The guy who spent a month running around with Joementum claiming that Hamas wants Obama to win does not get passes on gotcha questions. Your guy, his rules. Deal with it.

  52. 52

    Hahahah
    I live in OR and I use a cardlock station – that’s a commercial fueling station where I could pump my own and the prices aren’t on signs or the pumps and a specific card enables the pumps. I could tell you the price a week ago at another station I drove by but certainly not in your state other than a range. There are 6 retail stations in town of 10K.

    One thing the OR law does is create some jobs that a single person can actually live on. It pushes our prices up a couple cents per gallon. ( I took one of those jobs when I first sobered up 20 yrs ago )

    No, I don’t know the price at my cardlock, I don’t bother with a receipt and it doesn’t matter, the tank was low and I have to buy the damn stuff. I can tell you what milage I get with every vehicle under what conditions and that’s 6 of them. You don’t want my car insurance bill and every one of them is classed low milage travel and low risk area.

    Just for fun:
    1950 COE Chevy 24K gvw dump truck (8mpg)
    1962 Chevy II hot rod (12.7 sec 1/4 mi pure street car)(14mpg premium)
    1974 K5 Chevy Blazer tow rig/hunting rec rig (15 mpg)
    1978 K20 Chevy utility box PU work truck (8mpg)
    1988 36′ motor home (Chev truck) (8mpg)
    2004 Chevy SSR PU/car (18/22 mpg)
    total gasoline capacity 198 gallons – ouch

  53. 53
    John Cole says:

    BTW Bithead- check the last update- Patterico has shown that he actually DID know the price of gas a couple weeks ago, and just refused to answer. So much for your bloviating about the wildly fluctuating gas prices.

  54. 54
    Steve says:

    “With gasoline running at more than four bucks a gallon, many do not have the luxury of waiting on the far-off plans of futurists and politicians. We have proven oil reserves of at least 21 billion barrels in the United States. But a broad federal moratorium stands in the way of energy exploration and production. And I believe it is time for the federal government to lift these restrictions and to put our own reserves to use.” John McCain 6.26.08

    http://www.salon.com/politics/.....index.html

    So much for that angle. I guess you should just focus on how he thinks that it “doesn’t matter” that gas prices are $4 plus.

  55. 55
    deben says:

    Bush sr and the grocery store scanner.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=F0fIhnboptk

    There’s no video I know of, of him common-folking in front of the cameras with pork rinds.

  56. 56
    RSA says:

    I went on an 800 mile run yesterday, and as I drove back past the same gas stations I drove past going out, the prices had changed less than 12 hours later!

    Oh yeah? I went on a 1,000 mile run just this morning, and prices hadn’t changed at all just 4 hours later!

  57. 57
    oh really says:

    I agree with John Cole that it is highly unlikely that if Obama used McCain’s words the media wouldn’t be all over him for his elitism and out-of-touchosity.

    On the other hand, McCain seems to be saying that he doesn’t remember what the price of gas was the last time he pumped his own. From what I’ve seen of McCain, that would probably be true even if he’d last pumped gas yesterday. I don’t think McCain’s statement, taken literally, shows him to be out of touch (although I have no doubt that given lots of other things he’s said he is out of touch and only cares about these issues to the extent they affect his electoral prospects).

    However, I can’t imagine Obama getting away with using the words “I don’t see how it matters” in any context related to issues of importance to the middle class (forget about the poor; no one seems to care if the candidates are out of touch with them). That seems like the heart of this story. Still, what we want — or what I think we should want — are responsible media interested in truth and reality, not in the surreal contrived fairness and balance that is so prevalent today. Is it important that McCain knows the price of gas today? In the “gotcha” sense that the media care about, the answer is no. But since the relationship between gas prices (and food prices, and health care costs, etc.) and people’s well-being is important, it matters a great deal.

    Reading McCain’s much more important comments about how he will be different from Bush made me wonder, if McCain believes that Bush has been torturing prisoners (duh!), why doesn’t the Saint want to hold Bush accountable for his crimes?

  58. 58
    oh really says:

    Patterico unearths a piece from June 18th in which McCain clearly knew gas was over four dollars a gallon. So why didn’t he just say this in the OC Register interview?

    John, John, you’re beating a dead horse. Re-read the question McCain was asked.

    When was the last time you pumped your own gas and how much did it cost?

    He isn’t failing to answer how much gas costs now; he’s saying that he doesn’t remember how much it was the last time he pumped gas — and he doesn’t remember when that was. He’s rich. He probably hasn’t pumped his own gas in decades (at least not at a commercial gas station). And even if he had, he’s rich. RICH. He doesn’t have to care about the price of gas for himself. Gas could be $10 a gallon and it wouldn’t phase him. The important question for voters is does McCain understand what rising energy, food, and health care costs mean to ordinary citizens? The evidence says “no.” But this particular quote is irrelevant to that question.

    I despise McCain and I think he’s an idiot. But criticism of him should be rational. Since you could keep several blogs going full time with nothing but valid criticism of McCain, why waste time on this?

    Yes, the media would in all likelihood spin a similar answer from Obama into a huge story about his being out of touch and an insufferable elitist. And it is fair to point that out — in fact, the media should be bludgeoned ’round the clock with their hypocrisy . But in this one instance, there really isn’t anything worth criticizing about McCain’s answer.

  59. 59
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    Just waiting to see all the Patterico posts about headlines that lie about something Obama said. Or Kerry. Or Gore.

  60. 60

    […] And, of course, Think Progress, as well as many other lefties, such as the Huffington Post and Balloon Juice, and even some of those on the right (at least originally), bought in to the line of thinking that McCain is divorced from reality, and has no clue about the cost of gas. (See a ton of links at Memeorandum) […]

  61. 61
    Grendel72 says:

    It’s amazing the hair spliting parsing of the phrasing of the question Republicans will go through to defend their man. One might even say it was Clintonesque, if one ever believed their bitching about such tactics was genuine.

  62. 62

    […] The story about John McCain telling a reporter for the Orange Country Register that he doesn’t remember the last time he pumped gas or what it cost is picking up velocity. Only now it turns out he does know. Via Patterico’s Pontifications by way of John Cole, McCain was quoted by Environment News Service, on June 18, as follows: […]

  63. 63
    Brian says:

    Even Cole’s semi-correction is verifiably false. The question, which McCain said didn’t matter, was:

    “When was the last time you pumped your own gas and how much did it cost?”

    And then Cole asks: “So why does John McCain think [1] it does not matter when he last pumped gas and [2] it does not matter whether he knows the price of gas?”

    But Cole has dishonestly distorted the 2nd part of the question, so that he can falsely state that McCain said “that does not matter whether he knows the price of gas.”

    McCain never said that it does not matter whether he knows the price of gas. (To the contrary: McCain has – as Cole concedes – stated that the issue of gas prices was important, and that it’s presently in the $4 range.) McCain said it doesn’t matter whether he knows what the price was THE LAST TIME HE PUMPED IT.

    Question for Cole fans: If Cole is willing to distort and lie when the information necessary to refute him is right there on the same page, what basis is there to trust him on anything?

  64. 64
    Charles Giacometti says:

    Actually, the angry mutts at Patterico cited a news article that quoted a McCain speech. This tells me that McCain read the speech but didn’t digest the actual details. In other words, he is a mouthpiece. Asked to produce a detail on the spot, the old fart couldn’t come up with it.

    So, in other words, McCain is either an idiot or an old gasbag. I don’t think either is appealing.

  65. 65
    Zuzu's Petals' Best Bud says:

    I’m waiting for Patterico to report about someone lying about LBJ! For the record, I do *NOT* think that LBJ sodomized Kennedy’s corpse on the flight back from Dallas.

  66. 66
    John Cole says:

    Even Cole’s semi-correction is verifiably false.

    You are looking at multiple updates, hours apart, then using the final update to say I am dishonest in a previous one. NUM NUM NUM- those McCain points must add up quick.

    And the point of the whole thing is that it does in fact matter. When was the last time McCain felt pain at the pump? He doesn’t even remember the last time he pumped gas and what the price was, and we are told “It doesn’t matter.”

    Again, have fun with that position in the general.

  67. 67
    Patterico says:

    “Just waiting to see all the Patterico posts about headlines that lie about something Obama said. Or Kerry. Or Gore.”

    A post defending Gore? Wasn’t blogging then.

    A post defending Kerry? Here ya go.

    http://patterico.com/2006/11/0.....s-remarks/

    A post defending Obama? Here ya go.

    http://patterico.com/2008/06/0.....t-nothing/

  68. 68
    Beej says:

    Uh, Jess? I have to tell you that we do not grow arugula out here in the Midwest. We grow wheat and corn and soybeans, but we don’t grow arugula. Frankly, I don’t know where they grow arugula. California maybe?

    And Steve, if all the restrictions on offshore drilling and drilling in the ANWR were removed tomorrow, it would be a minimum of 10 years before the public saw one drop of the oil it produced. By that time, China, India, and the rest of the developing world will be using so much of it that the prices will be off the charts, and the new supplies will not significantly affect those prices. So how about we spend the money and time it would take to drill offshore and in ANWR on wind power, or solar power, or hydrogen cars, or alcohol fuels made from wild switch-grass (there are projects going on at my home-state university involving this plentiful grass) or some other sustainable fuel that isn’t going to cost an arm and a leg, hmm?

  69. 69
    oh really says:

    When was the last time McCain felt pain at the pump? He doesn’t even remember the last time he pumped gas and what the price was, and we are told “It doesn’t matter.”

    John, I think it’s important to attack McCain for the right reasons. In this case, I think you’ve misinterpreted what McCain was asked and what he answered, and then stubbornly shifted your position to accommodate new information, while still trying to imply that you were right in the beginning.

    When was the last time McCain felt pain at the pump? My guess is never. When did he last pump his own gas? I don’t know, when was the last time any rich person pumped his or her own gas? Presidential candidates today are almost by definition going to be wealthy. The question is can a particular candidate empathize with struggling citizens. That is less a question of wealth than of character and ideology. McCain’s health care plan (such as it is) informs me that McCain is utterly out of touch with the average American. His plan would probably work fine for the wealthy, who have enough money so that they don’t need insurance (of course, they are also likely to have the best insurance anyway), but it isn’t going to prevent bankruptcies or people going without needed care. He’s completely out of touch.

    But in the case you cited about the last time he pumped gas and whether he knew how much it was at that time, you’re wasting your time. Even if he knows how much a gallon of fuel costs today, it still wouldn’t tell us whether he understands what that means to struggling commuters or truck drivers. To know that we need to look at his policy suggestions. Again, with the combination of meaningless pandering (tax holiday) and at best long term suggestions (increased exploration and drilling), which won’t do anything to help anyone today and probably won’t make more than a tiny difference when they kick in a decade from now, it’s clear that McCain is an empty vessel. Add to that the fact that his call for increased supply (and thus use) of fossil fuels means more CO2 and aggravated climate change and you’ve got more than enough to criticize.

    One of the most maddening things that the Right does is willfully misinterpret what a Democrat has said and then harp on it until reality has been readjusted to agree with their dishonest views. I don’t think that the best way to fight that is to do the same thing. If we can get enough people to simply recognize reality, the Republicans are finished. I have no desire to have Democrats mimicking the scumbags in the GOP in order to gain every advantage possible. The fact is you can fool most Americans most of the time and that’s why Republicans have been in power for so long. The answer is not to have Democrats start fooling the people, but to force (and help) the people to confront reality.

    If this thread were the first thing I’d ever read by you, I’d probably never return. But you have mostly displayed better sense than you have on this topic.

    In a political system as flawed as ours, successful candidates are likely to be flawed as well. McCain isn’t just flawed — he’s an idiot with terrible ideas who has sacrificed whatever credibility he has had on the altar of presidential ambition. Of course, he’s out of touch — much of his rhetoric and most of his policies make that clear. But this time, I think you should reconsider your original argument. (The updates don’t help at all.)

    If you want to criticize McCain for not pumping his own gas, you might want to find out when the last time Obama (or Clinton, or Romney, or Giuliani, etc.) pumped his own gas. I think you’re wasting your time. He said he doesn’t know how much it cost the last time he did pump his own gas. No surprise there. It’s been a long time and since he’s rich (and stupid) he didn’t have to pay any attention anyway.

    What matters is does he understand what it means to average people? The right questions would likely reveal nothing more than empty platitudes — no surprise from a stupid, rich guy.

    I want you to go after McCain. I want everyone to go after him. But for the right reasons. The ones that can’t be spun or rationalized. And I think there are plenty of those.

  70. 70
    harkin says:

    McCain was clearly referring to the last time he pumped gas. Anyone reading it any differently is being ignorant or disingenuous.

    The real howler here is that instead of admitting a complete lack or reporting skills and issuing an apology/correction, Cole turns this into a opportunity to cite McCain’s ‘churlishness’.

    Shameful

  71. 71
    John Cole says:

    The real howler here is that instead of admitting a complete lack or reporting skills and issuing an apology/correction

    So I am a “reporter” now? Interesting.

    And I am not sure how much clearer “SEE UPDATES- He did know, at least two weeks ago” and the final update could be. What part of this eluded you:

    Patterico unearths a piece from June 18th in which McCain clearly knew gas was over four dollars a gallon. So why didn’t he just say this in the OC Register interview?

    It even included two links, which both showed McCain did know.

    Finally, the main thrust of this post was how the media would cover this. You did notice that, didn’t you? How would the media have responded if Obama had done the same thing 9either been wrong or just stated that “It doesn’t matter?” They would have savaged him. Look at the bullshit about his “bitter” remarks and how they were distorted.

    But you know that already, don’t you.

  72. 72
    Sue says:

    Those who are deaf and blind will not hear or see the truth of Patterico’s quote from John McCain re price of gas. Too bad.

  73. 73
    Neil B says:

    Also, John McCain is computer illiterate by his own admission. When asked “PC or Mac”, He said, “I am an illiterate that has to rely on my wife for all of the assistance that I can get.” (All the others asked picked one or the other.) It’s about time bloggers posted more about this (forgive me if I missed one already here.) It’s about *him* and his competency in the modern world, not e.g. back-fire-liable murmurs about his wife stealing narcotic pills back in the 90s.

    Furthermore, while Obama received most of the criticism for breaking his pledge about campaign finance, McCain didn’t live up to his promises about Primary spending. I got the following email from Howard Dean this month:

    Friend,

    I wrote to you in late February asking that you sign on in support of a complaint we made to the Federal Election Commission regarding John McCain.

    The complaint was fairly simple. John McCain decided to break a promise he made to the American people — he said that he would accept federal matching funds for his primary campaign, but then backed out of the pledge after he started receiving staggering amounts of lobbyist and special interest money. We asked the FEC to enforce the agreement he had made.

    When they didn’t act on our complaint — one that thousands of Americans signed on to support — we sued them. Recently, a federal judge said that we had to give the FEC at least 120 days to act.

    Their time runs out in one week, on June 24.
    [I wonder what happened …]

    But consider this: while both Senator Obama’s campaign and the DNC have unilaterally rejected lobbyist and special interest money, John McCain’s campaign is blatantly breaking campaign finance law to raise as much of it as they can.

    John McCain — the self-branded “maverick reformer” — is the exactly the same kind of Republican we’ve seen for decades. He breaks the rules to fit his own interests, and he does it at the expense of the American people and the integrity of the electoral process.

    http://www.democrats.org/FECpetition

    My February email is below. It explains in detail why we’re taking this action.

    It’s time to put an end to this, and I hope you’ll help.

    Howard Dean

    —– Original Message —–

    Subject: John McCain is breaking the law
    Date: Mon 25 Feb 2008 03:50 PM
    From: Howard Dean
    To: Friend

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] The story about John McCain telling a reporter for the Orange Country Register that he doesn’t remember the last time he pumped gas or what it cost is picking up velocity. Only now it turns out he does know. Via Patterico’s Pontifications by way of John Cole, McCain was quoted by Environment News Service, on June 18, as follows: […]

  2. […] And, of course, Think Progress, as well as many other lefties, such as the Huffington Post and Balloon Juice, and even some of those on the right (at least originally), bought in to the line of thinking that McCain is divorced from reality, and has no clue about the cost of gas. (See a ton of links at Memeorandum) […]

  3. […] McCain, of course, knows exactly how much it matters. As John Cole notes, similar incidents damaged George H.W. Bush and Rudy Giuliani during campaigns…but during this campaign, a key tenet of the GOP has been, since the Obama “Bitter, Clinging” gaffe that the Democratic nominee is an elitist. […]

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