‘Questions, comments … insults?’by The Associated Press on Apr. 05, 2006, under Local
They may not like his politics, but Sen. John McCain got points for his moxie during a speech to labor leaders who laughed with and booed at the Arizona Republican.
“If you like, I will leave,” McCain told the AFL-CIO’s Building and Construction Trades Department yesterday in Washington, D.C., pivoting briefly from the lectern.
It was a colorful and contentious session that tested McCain’s commitment to his straight-talking, wisecracking image.
The back and forth began minutes into his address when McCain outlined his immigration plan.
Murmurs from the crowd turned to booing. “Pay a decent wage!” one audience member shouted.
McCain finished his speech and asked whether anybody had “questions, comments or insults.”
He offered anybody in the crowd $50 an hour to pick lettuce.
Shouts of protest rose from the crowd. “I’ll take it!” one man said.
“You can’t do it, my friends,” McCain retorted.
Some didn’t appreciate McCain questioning their work ethic.
“I was impressed with his comedy routine and ability to tap dance without music. But I was impressed with nothing else about him,” said John Wasniewski of Milwaukee. “He’s supposed to be Mr. Straight Talk?”
Later, McCain said he enjoyed the labor activists and their prickly reception. “I can’t tell you how much fun that was.”