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McCain Makes Awkward Wife-Beating Joke

First Posted: 07/05/08 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 01:35 PM ET

Mccain Laugh

In an interview with the Las Vegas Sun, columnist Jon Ralston asked McCain why he didn't choose Gov. Jim Gibbons (in the middle of a messy divorce) to chair his Nevada campaign:

McCain: I appreciate his support. As you know, the lieutenant governor is our chairman.


Q: Why snub the governor?

McCain: I didn't mean to snub him. I've known the lieutenant governor for 15 years and we've been good friends....I didn't intend to snub him. There are other states where the governor is not the chairman.

Q: Maybe it's the governor's approval rating and you are running from him like you are from the president?

McCain: (Chuckling) And I stopped beating my wife just a couple of weeks ago . . .

ABC News' Jake Tapper notes that McCain's evasive joke was a poor choice given the context:

Gov. Gibbons last month filed for divorce from his wife Dawn citing incompatibility.

It's pretty scandalous. The Reno Gazette-Journal recently reported
that one month Gibbons sent 860 text messages to a woman with whom Mrs. Gibbons suspects her husband of stepping out.

Gibbons, you may recall, started his governorship amidst accusations that he assaulted a cocktail waitress named Chrissy Mazzeo three weeks before Election Day. Mazzeo said Gibbons grabbed her in a parking garage and threatened to sexually assault her. Charges were never filed.

Later in the same interview, McCain calls Jimmy Carter "a lousy president."

Read more of the interview here.

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Filed by Rachel Weiner  |