The scene is the Straight Talk Express, the old Straight Talk Express, in 1999 — the one stuffed with reporters asking John McCain question after question and getting answer after answer, hour after hour. McCain is enjoying himself, even when the reporters, having exhausted all serious topics, turn goofy and play “favorites” with him, asking him his favorite tree (cottonwood), favorite breakfast cereal (Raisin Bran) and favorite toothpaste (Colgate).
And then there is this exchange that I recorded for history:
Favorite word, a reporter asks.
“Principle,” McCain says.
Favorite dead hero.
“Uh, Julius Caesar,” McCain says.
Favorite dead hero within the last 2,000 years.
“OK, off the top of my head, Lincoln,” McCain says. “Although the more I read and study, the more intrigued I am by Teddy Roosevelt.”
Favorite living hero.
“Colin Powell,” McCain says instantly. “Served his country. A wonderful man.”
[Roger Simon, "Powell Drops the Hammer on McCain," Politico.com, 2008.10.21]