McCain Jokes About Bombing Iran

The Associated Press
Thursday, April 19, 2007; 5:41 PM

WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential contender John McCain, known for having a quirky sense of humor, joked about bombing Iran at a campaign appearance this week.

In response to an audience question about military action against Iran, the Arizona senator briefly sang the chorus of the surf-rocker classic "Barbara Ann."

"That old, eh, that old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran," he said in jest Wednesday, chuckling with the crowd. Then, he softly sang to the melody: "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, anyway, ah ..." The audience responded with more laughter.

His quip was prompted by a man in the audience who asked: "How many times do we have to prove that these people are blowing up people now, nevermind if they get a nuclear weapon, when do we send 'em an airmail message to Tehran?"

The campaign stop was in Murrells Inlet, S.C.

After his joke, McCain turned serious and said that he agrees with President Bush that the United States must protect Israel from Iran and work to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. McCain has long said the military option should not be taken off the table but that it should be used only as a last resort.

The episode echoed President Reagan's 1984 quip at the height of the nuclear arms race when he said: "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes."

Reagan was testing a microphone before his regular Saturday radio address.


WASHINGTON (AP) _ New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will launch biographical ads in Iowa and New Hampshire beginning Monday, the first commercials broadcast in the Democratic presidential contest.

The ads, both 30-second and 60-second ads, signal Richardson's aggressive steps after raising a surprising $6.25 million in the first quarter that left him with $5 million in the bank.

Richardson is a distant fourth in fundraising, behind Democratic leaders Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. But after spending much of the first quarter in New Mexico while the state legislature was in session, aides say he intends to step up his campaigning and fundraising.

He also trails in the polls in national and state polls. Though he was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and energy secretary under President Clinton, he has low name recognition.

"It's a great way to get the governor's message out and reinforce his extraordinary record," Richardson spokesman Pahl Shipley said.

The ads are part of an overall campaign that will complement Richardson's increased presence in states with early presidential contests.


WASHINGTON (AP) _ Democrat John Edwards is trying to get out of a hairy situation, reimbursing his presidential campaign $800 for two visits with a Beverly Hills stylist.

Two $400 cuts by stylist Joseph Torrenueva, who told The Associated Press that the former North Carolina senator is a longtime client, showed up on Edwards' campaign spending reports filed this weekend. Edwards spokesman Eric Schultz said it never should have been there.

"The bill was sent to the campaign. It was inadvertently paid," Schultz said. "John Edwards will be reimbursing the campaign."

Edwards is also the subject of a popular YouTube spoof poking fun at his youthful good looks. The video shows the candidate combing his tresses to the dubbed-in tune of "I Feel Pretty."

Federal Election Commission records show Edwards' campaign also spent $250 in services from Designworks Salon in Dubuque, Iowa, and $225 in services from the Pink Sapphire in Manchester, N.H.

Schultz said those services were legitimate campaign expenditures to prepare Edwards for media appearances.

Political candidates often have hair and makeup done before media appearances. Edwards rival Hillary Rodham Clinton got some attention last year when her campaign paid $2,500 for two hairstyling sessions that the campaign classified as media production expenses.


NEW YORK (AP) _ New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, gathered the city's wealthiest and most active political donors Thursday _ and didn't ask for money.

Instead, Bloomberg reminded his guests at the posh Four Seasons restaurant that before they give, they should make sure the candidate is on New York's side on a checklist of issues, including funds for ailing Ground Zero workers.

The billionaire media mogul doesn't need the cash. He financed both his mayoral bids, spending $74 million to get elected and $85 million for another four years. He could easily pay for a presidential bid.

Joining Bloomberg was former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is mulling a run for the Republican nomination, and former Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr.

They participated in a brief panel discussion about New York's role in national politics during the presidential race _ not only as a source of cash for the candidates, but in producing potential nominees _ Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Rudy Giuliani.

"I think that tells you something very profound about how this country's attitude has changed, about the degree to which this country embraces and accepts New York as a legitimate source of leadership," Gingrich said.

Bloomberg joked about the buzz surrounding both of them, cracking at one point that Gingrich would make a "great vice presidential candidate."

In what could be perceived as a jab at a potential political rival, Gingrich praised former mayor David Dinkins, Giuliani's predecessor, who was in the audience. Gingrich said the city's famous crime cleanup in the 1990s really began with the Democrat and Giuliani continued it.

The city is already a leading contributor to the 2008 race. More than $2.3 million has flowed out of the 10021 zip code alone _ which happens to be Bloomberg's swank Upper East Side neighborhood.


Associated Press Writer Nedra Pickler and Jim Kuhnhenn in Washington and Sara Kugler in New York contributed to this report.


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