Angry, Awesome John McCain Is Back!

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Going … to … explode … Photo: Getty Images

Time magazine reporters James Carney and Michael Sherer recently noticed just how buttoned-up the usually chatty and open John McCain has become. He's much more tight-lipped and less accessible under new strict campaign guidelines. So, when they got the chance to interview him, Carney and Sherer naturally asked him about it. And in doing so, they found the old feisty McCain, boiling quietly underneath his carefully scripted, on-message exterior. From the interview:

There's a theme that recurs in your books and your speeches, both about putting country first but also about honor. I wonder if you could define honor for us?

Read it in my books.

I've read your books.

No, I'm not going to define it.

But honor in politics?

I defined it in five books. Read my books.

[Your] campaign today is more disciplined, more traditional, more aggressive. From your point of view, why the change?

I will do as much as we possibly can do to provide as much access to the press as possible.

But beyond the press, sir, just in terms of ...

I think we're running a fine campaign, and this is where we are.

Do you miss the old way of doing it?

I don't know what you're talking about.

Really? Come on, Senator.

I'll provide as much access as possible ...

There's more on the Time Website. It's pretty deliciously awkward. How long can this battle last between scripted McCain, who lets his surrogates and adwriters do the fighting for him, and completely awesome, angry, "I survived five years of torture in Vietnam" McCain? It's pretty clear everybody wins if the latter John McCain comes out on top.

McCain's Prickly Time Interview [Time]