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McCain on Leno

From NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy
McCain taped an interview with Jay Leno this afternoon, which will air later this evening on The Tonight Show. Per a conference call provided for members of the press to listen in on the interview, McCain told a couple of new jokes, and had some very kind words for Hillary Clinton -- although nothing too new.

In an apparent reference to a joke that Leno made in the monologue, McCain came out and thanked the host for mentioning his "heroism" in saving Washington.

"A lot of people think I shouldn't have, in fact a lot of people," McCain said. "Also, you forgot to mention when I warned the people about the British coming."

The two spoke briefly about McCain's birthday this week and the number of jokes made about McCain's age. "We were gonna have a cake, but the fire marshal said, that many candles!" Leno said.

"I've got one," McCain joked. "My Social Security number is eight."

The two spoke about how McCain's relationship with Sen. Joe Biden has gotten much worse since the senator from Delaware was announced as Obama's running mate, but McCain said that he was a friend of Biden's and respected him. Repeating his mantra that he is underdog, McCain said that his opponent's choice of running mates should not effect his own.

"You've got to find somebody who you know shares your principles, your values and your priorities," McCain said. "It really shouldn't be affected by anything else. Really, it shouldn't be."

After a commercial break, Leno asked about the use of negative ads in recent months and why they work, but McCain refused to admit that his recent ads have been negative. Instead, he said that the tone of the campaign would have improved if Obama had agreed to join him in town hall meetings.

In reference to his new ads that reference Hillary Clinton, McCain had nothing but kind words for the former Democratic candidate. Even when asked if he might pick Clinton as his running mate, McCain just said he has "nothing but respect for Sen. Clinton."