FRIENDLY MCCAIN

04.06.11

McCain's New Pal

John McCain has just friended Mark Zuckerberg.

McCain says he learned on a visit to Egypt that the Facebook founder is considered a national hero there, given the role that his site played in helping protestors organize against the Mubarak regime. So he called Zuckerberg and told him.

Now the Arizona senator might not seem like a wild-and-crazy social networking guy, but as he reminded reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast this morning, he has 1.7 million followers on Twitter. In fact, he got plenty of buzz for tweeting about Snooki, recommending that the Jersey Shore star use sunscreen after she griped about President Obama imposing a 10 percent tax on tanning beds.

That, he said, “got more coverage than any foreign policy or national security statement I’ve ever made in my life.”

McCain tread lightly on questions about his 2008 running mate. “So far, Sarah Palin has not shown an inclination that she’s going to run,” he said. Asked if Michele Bachmann was stealing Palin’s thunder, McCain said he didn’t know much about the Minnesota congresswoman but that “obviously she has gained the attention and traction of a lot of the Tea Partiers and others.”

The last Republican nominee said that “as a loser” he would not be endorsing in the party’s primary, though there’s certainly no law against it.

He chose his words carefully when it came to his former rival Mitt Romney. “Obviously he’s going to have to confront the issue of Massachusetts health care,” McCain said, referring to the plan Romney passed as governor, which includes a health insurance mandate and which critics have likened to Obamacare.

The senator took a swipe at the Supreme Court, which gutted his signature achievement—the campaign finance reform law—in the Citizens United decision. Paraphrasing LBJ, McCain said: “I just wish one of them had run for county sheriff.”

McCain reserved his harshest words for former congressman Tom Tancredo, who ran for Colorado governor last year on a platform targeting illegal immigration. McCain, who still favors some form of immigration reform, said some Hispanics in the state regarded Tancredo’s views as “racist.”

“We have to let Tom Tancredo not be the image of the Republican Party,” he said.