Bwaaa haaa haaa! I found the 411 on the famous “McCain Grimace” pic that’s everywhere on the interwebs.
Turns out that Grampy McCrappants was was pulling that famous mug at . . .
Governor George Walker Bush!!!
Haaa haa hooo wey! who woulda known?
Here’s the New York Times ARTICLE, in toto:
GOP CANDIDATES CLASH IN ANGRY DEBATE
By DAVID FIRESTONE AND ALISON MITCHELL
Published: February 16, 2000
In a barely controlled debate that revealed the depth of their mutual anger, Gov. George W. Bush and Senator John McCain lashed into each other’s negative campaign tactics tonight, with Mr. McCain lecturing Mr. Bush that he ‘’should be ashamed’’ that a surrogate had accused Mr. McCain of abandoning veterans.
Mr. Bush refused Mr. McCain’s demand that he apologize, instead insisting that Mr. McCain stop impugning his integrity. In seething, indignant accusations, each man tried to portray himself as the victim of gutter politics, with Mr. McCain saying he had been called everything but a fascist.
‘’You’re putting out stuff that is unbelievable, George, and it’s got to stop,’’ he said. ‘’And your ads have got to stop.’’
The debate, the last before Saturday’s crucial South Carolina primary, was by far the most freewheeling and intense of the Republican contest and reflected the sense of both camps that it could help determine the outcome of the vote. The arguments ranged across nearly every issue that has come up in the race, along with a few new ones.
With only Alan Keyes sitting between them, the two leading candidates argued forcefully over abortion, policy toward Russia, taxes, Social Security, and the don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy on gays in the military. On a day in which Mr. Bush issued a reformulated proposal to change the campaign finance proposal, the two disagreed sharply on which kinds of donations should be banned.
Sen. McCain(l) and Gov. Bush spar during their debate tonight
The field for the first time was reduced to just three candidates, allowing a series of far more direct confrontations than any previous debates.
But the most personal exchanges came early in the 90-minute debate at a catering hall here, when the moderator, Larry King, asked about the conduct of the campaign. Governor Bush immediately accused Senator McCain of being first to break a promise not to run negative advertising.
‘’We shook hands, and unfortunately he ran an ad that equated me to Bill Clinton,’’ Mr. Bush said, sounding exasperated. ‘’You can disagree on issues. We’ll debate issues. But whatever you do, don’t equate my integrity and trustworthiness to Bill Clinton.’’
Mr. McCain, steely but furious, immediately responded by citing an event early this month in Sumter, S.C., in which J. Thomas Burch Jr., chairman of the National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Committee, complained that Mr. McCain had opposed measures dealing with Agent Orange and gulf war syndrome.
‘’I don’t know if you can understand this, George, but that really hurts,’’ Mr. McCain said. ‘’You should be ashamed. You should be ashamed.’’
Mr. Keyes, who had been expected to spend the evening criticizing Mr. McCain, instead worked to appear above the fray and condemned both of his opponents, saying there were more important issues to discuss than campaign tactics. Mr. King also tried to change the subject, but Mr. McCain pressed on, demanding to tell the story of the negative telephone calls being made to South Carolina voters by the Bush campaign. Mr. Bush then pulled out a McCain campaign flier criticizing his tax cut plan, accusing Mr. McCain of continuing his attacks despite a new vow to stop.
‘’That is not by my campaign,’’ Mr. McCain said.
‘’Well, it says paid for by John McCain,’’ Mr. Bush said.
‘’That is not by my campaign,’’ Mr. McCain said.
‘’McCain 2000,’’ Mr. Bush said. ‘’John, well then somebody’s putting stuff out.’’
Mr. McCain explained after the debate that the flier was printed a few weeks ago, before his no-negative-ad pledge, and was apparently distributed by a campaign worker without his knowledge.
A significant portion of the evening involved foreign policy questions, a departure from previous debates. The candidates were asked what aspects of the nation’s foreign policy they would change. Both Mr. Bush and Mr. Keyes criticized the American policy toward China.
Mr. McCain urged a particularly aggressive approach toward what he called rogue states.
‘’I’d institute a policy that I call rogue state rollback,’’ he said. ‘’I would arm, train, equip, both from without and from within, forces that would eventually overthrow the governments and install free and democratically elected governments.’’
Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain also tangled over when it was appropriate for the United States to intervene in foreign conflicts. Mr. Bush said he would authorize the use of armed forces when it is the ‘’nation’s strategic interests.’’
Mr. McCain told Mr. Bush his analysis ‘’wasn’t that simple,’’ saying there were times when a violation of moral principles justified the commitment of troops.
‘’We can never say that a nation driven by Judeo-Christian principles will only intervene where our interests are threatened, because we also have values,’’ he said.
All three tried to make the most forceful case for their candidacy. Mr. Bush stressed his executive experience as governor of Texas, saying of his two opponents, ‘’These are good men. Don’t get me wrong. But I’ve been there.’’ Mr, McCain said he was the one to reconstitute the old Reagan coalition. Mr. Keyes scoffed at both men as not forceful enough, saying ‘’I question their ability to articulate on the moral issues of our time.’’
Questioned by Mr. King, Mr. Bush said he would not describe Mr. McCain as a liberal and even characterized his opponent as conservative and as ‘’a fine man.’’ He said he was simply more conservative than Mr. McCain on certain issues.
Mr. Bush and Mr. McCain also sparred on their competing tax cut plans. Mr. Bush has proposed a $483 billion, five-year tax cut. Mr. McCain has called for nearly $240 billion in tax cuts over the same period, with much of the federal surplus going to shore up Social Security.
Mr. McCain, raising questions about Mr. Bush’s maturity, defended his emphasis on Social Security, saying ‘’It’s not the Washington mentality. It’s the grown-up mentality. It’s the grown-up mentality that recognizes that we have obligations.’’
Mr. Bush responded bitterly that it was a Republican philosophy that favored giving tax money back to the people.
‘’I don’t trust Congress,’’ he said. ‘’I trust people. And I want to give people their money back. This is a realistic plan that I’m going to get done. And John, you know, grown-up or non grown-up — I know that’s kind of a line you’re trying to come across with, but it’s weak — either you trust the people or you trust government. And our Republican Party ought to stand for trusting the people to spend their own money.’’
The two also clashed on the overhaul of the campaign finance law, on a day when Mr. Bush put forward his own plan. Without explicitly mentioning Mr. McCain’s effort to ban unlimited, unregulated donations to political parties, Mr. Bush said the logical extension of such plans would allow the press to decide political victors.
Mr. King asked, ‘’If I gave you a million dollars, don’t you have to take my phone call?’’
Mr. Bush replied, ‘’Not necessarily.’’
Mr. McCain jumped in, sardonically. ‘’Sure,’’ he said. ‘’Ask any ex-senator, Larry, ask any ex-senator, they’ll tell you.’’
Mr. Bush and Mr, McCain also bickered over abortion, with Mr. McCain demanding to know why Mr. Bush did not want to include in the Republican platform’s call for a constitutional ban on aboriton an exception in the case of rape, incest or the life of the mother.
Mr. Bush said the platform ‘’doesn’t talk about what specifically should be in the constitutional amendment.’’
Mr. McCain shot back, ‘’It doesn’t have the exemptions in it and you know that very well.’’