John McCain Rocks the Vote

If you want to know all the details of John McCain’s clash-of-generations MTV/MySpace appearance yesterday, both Salon and National Review have good write-ups. But a few key moments slipped through the cracks:

- McCain compares the war in Iraq to the Korean War. “We didn’t win,” he says, “but we did succeed.” It’s a fascinating twist on the more facile comparisons you hear to World War II and Saddam to Hitler. McCain ratchets the goals back a notch—the war isn’t likely to end in a satisfying “victory,” but there’s still a lot of progress to be made.

- McCain says he would have done a better job with Darfur than Bush did. “I would shame the Chinese for their failure to help us,” he said. “I would shame some of these other countries” as well. The implication is that McCain would have the will and the moral authority to do so, both of which Bush lack.

- McCain says global warming is real and that “we need to have a plan for cap and trade.” It’s a more progressive plan than his GOP rivals’—most of them support energy independence but not extra regulation—and it stops short of a carbon tax. And he’s not just telling it to the MTV crowd.

- McCain quips that one job of the vice president is to “inquire daily as to the health of the president.” Is that a joke? Maybe he’s just trying to preempt questions about dying in office .

- McCain continues his proud tradition of messing with interviewers. “I want to compliment you on your questions,” he tells the audience. “Except from you,” he says, eyeing moderator (and Post blogger ) Chris Cillizza. (He laid a similar dis on MTV’s Sway Calloway yesterday.)

So far, Sen. McCain is the only Republican to accept MTV’s invitation. Judging from his performance—and the audience’s surprisingly positive insta-response—he might not be the last.