McCain Spiffing Up His Act
He's working to improve stilted speeches, onstage awkwardness
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 6, 2008 6:25 AM CDT
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., points to a supporter at the opening of a town hall meeting campaign event in Pipersville, Pa., Monday, June 30, 2008.    (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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(Newser) – With his small stature and tendency to stumble over words, John McCain struggles behind a podium, the New York Times notes. “The only time I would put him behind a podium at all” during the campaign “is when he’s announcing a policy position,” said his former communications director. McCain is now working with experts to improve his onstage presence, according to aides.

McCain’s speeches are riddled with “mechanical hand chops” and “weirdly timed smiles,” the Times observes. Comedian Stephen Colbert describes his style as “tired mayonnaise.” Meanwhile, Barack Obama's speeches frequently wow audiences. But some of McCain's stiffness might be an advantage. One staffer argues that “voters are looking for credibility and are wary of polish. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who can more deftly read a teleprompter.”