Much -- or at least some -- of the criticism surrounding John McCain's appearance at a town-hall-forum-like event at Landmark Center tonight has focused on the selection of the attendees. The Republicans used pollsters to find undecideds. McCain, however, has shown he can hold his own when things aren't scripted. He has had Jon Stewart of the Daily Show -- no slouch at these sorts of things -- eating out of his hand for more than a year.
Who can ever forget Jon Stewart's question about McCain's decision to speak at Liberty University:
"Are you going into crazy-base world?" Stewart asked.
"I'm afraid I am," McCain replied.
McCain wouldn't say today whether Gov. Tim Pawlenty is on a short list of vice presidential candidates, because he denied having a short list. But he said Pawlenty has proven that a Republican can win in Minnesota.
Of course, a Republican running for governor can win in Minnesota. But it wasn't Pawlenty that proved that. It was Arne Carlson, who the hard-core Republicans didn't like much, but who won elections nonetheless. Pawlenty, technically, has proven that a Republican can win an election in this state against a DFLer by 1 percent of the vote, if it's a three-way contest.
Can a Republican win a presidential contest in Minnesota? Of course. George Bush almost proved that four years ago. And the historical results found here show that Ronald Reagan -- not Richard Nixon -- would've been the last Republican to win here, had it not been for Walter Mondale being his opponent. In fact, without Mondale being on the ticket for two national electrions, Republicans might've won presidential contests in Minnesota for three straight elections.
Anyway, News Cut is live blogging the event at Landmark Center, mostly to see if the questions are tougher than Jon Stewart's.
Oh, and you can follow MPR's Public Insight gang on Twitter.
No one works an audience better than John McCain. While I was lsitening on Minnesota Public Radio (on the internet) I'm amazed so to his rapore with the audience as well as his comfortable way of addressing the issues.
Just reviewed the John Stewart interview replayed -John McCain truly is a great American with a different focus on the issues than the current President. Doesn't follow the Republican line as walks his own path. I think I will follow him.
This should be a great campaign!