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Dave Winer
A reporter asks McCain how much a gallon of gas costs. He doesn't know. "I don't see how it matters," he says.
He's right. HE doesn't see how it matters. - Khürt Williams from twhirl
yea it sorta matters! I can't believe how outa touch McCain is..yikes! - Susan Beebe
Does Obama know? He still thinks we have 57 states. - Michael Tefft
Michael, that doesn't work anymore -- you can't turn this around. I usually don't go for these gotcha questions, but the price of gas is a huge issue, it hits everyone. I remember very well the first time I paid more than $4 a gallon for gas, and I'm finanically well off, I can't imagine what it must be like for people who are just getting by (I've definitely been there myself, many times). You can be sure that if Obama didn't know before he does now. - Dave Winer
The guy is lazy. What, he doesn't ever look out the window of the Straight Talk Express. The price of gas is advertised everywhere. I could understand not knowing the cost of a gallon of milk (though he should be up to date on that too). Presidents have to keep a lot of information in their head, it's a complex world. It says a lot that he can't be bothered to understand the most basic thing about the people he's trying to sell. In some sense we're defined by this today. - Dave Winer
This reminds me of when George Bush, Sr., visited a supermarket and didn't quite get the concept of scanning product bar codes. I fear that too many politicians are so out of touch with the realities of life for normal citizens that their judgment is warped. We must always be wary of people so thirsty for power that they forget the realities of life. - Mark Dixon from twhirl
Aren't there enough things to attack McCain on without distorting the facts? The question put to McCain was "When was the last time you pumped your own gas and how much did it cost?" McCain's response was "Oh, I don't remember. Now there's Secret Service protection. But I've done it for many, many years. I don't recall and frankly, I don't see how it matters." Not remembering what the price was the last time he bought his own isn't the same thing as not knowing what the price is now, is it? - Ken Sheppardson
Note I'm an Aussie - and prefer OB to JM, so be kind. But I also prefer fact to spin. In this case it looks like it depends on how the question and answer were interpreted. McCain was asked when he last pumped gas and the cost - he said he couldn't remember and didn't see how it mattered - that doesn't necessarily mean he doesn't think the price matters, it just means he only answered the first half of the question - about when he pumped gas. Easy trap for someone to fall into. - Craig Thomler
No Dave, I am just tired of you and your friends always taking cheap shots at McCain and Bush and NEVER having anything bad to say about Obama.. And you can't seriously infer from that question, even if the source is telling the truth, that McCain is not aware of how the price of gas is affecting people. Give me a break. - Michael Tefft
Candidates are under tons of pressure to come up with answers to some pretty arcane questions (Sunni/Shia, names of world leaders, etc.), and I am sympathetic. But this is their chosen profession -- both the governing AND the campaigning. If they are not able to answer these questions, then they are not getting their jobs done to satisfaction. Period. I live and work in China, and I am... more... - sage brennan from twhirl
The question was not "What is the price of gas?" It was "What was the price of gas the last time you pumped it?" It's not the same thing. You and I remember the price of gas, because we filled up within the last week. Do you remember how much you paid for gas six months ago? Quick... without looking it up! - Kenneth LeFebvre
(Oh, and I absolutely don't like McCain, either, so I'm not particularly looking for any reason to defend him... :) and I do think a good politician could have answered that one much better than he did.) - Kenneth LeFebvre
Dittos @Michael Tefft - Craig Eddy
Michael, it's okay to feel that way, but you're wrong to direct your anger at me and my "friends." Do you think a football coach ever goes into the halftime locker room after a losing half and blames the other team's fans? He wouldn't have a job much longer. He'd probably be fired by the third quarter. :-) - Dave Winer
Kenneth, I thought that at first too, but I actually read the interview and he did get asked the price of gas. - Dave Winer
And to answer your question, I don't remember the price of gas six months ago. But the question was what's the price of gas TODAY. That, I know. It gives me a stomach ache. It makes me feel we're headed into the crapper as a country, that we're not at all ready for what's ahead. But I know what the price is cause I pump it into my car. - Dave Winer
Yea. I am going to agree that this question/answer does not really equate to whether or not he knows that gas costs 4.00. It does however show that he is out of touch with what Americans are doing each day. The next time the SS is fueling up his car, McCain should get off the phone and pay attention to the people and the pump. - Sean Brady
I agree with Kenneth and Ken. It was a trick question. The question was what was the price of gas the last time you pumped it? McCain explained why he did not remember, since the secret service will not let him pump it. The question was not what is the price of gas now? If you have to distort and twist the meaning of questions and replies that is pretty sad. - Michael Tefft
Hey Dave, I know this is a bit of a cliche but why is there such an uproar over Gas prices in America? In Europe, particularly in Britain, we pay over 2.5 x as much as you do per gallon. Your gas is cheap, sir. - MarkFromIreland
You can overcome the cocoon in which the Secret Service surrounds you. I'm sure President Bill Clinton knew the price of a Big Mac... - Ontario Emperor from fftogo
Shades of King George Bush the First at the grocery check out - Michael VanDervort
Dave, since you obviously have blinders on I will reprint the question." When was the last time you pumped your own gas and how much did it cost?" Where does it say what's the price of gas TODAY? McCain explained that he had not pumped gas in a while due to security measures so he did not remember what the price of gas was the last time he pumped it. Try reading the article again without your obvious political bias. - Michael Tefft
Mark, the big issue is the rate of increase in the price of gas (in US dollars, which is how we pay for it). Gas costs twice as much now as it did in early August 2005. In late August 2005, I was shocked to pay $2.60; yesterday, I was pleased to pay $4.41. - Ontario Emperor from fftogo
Does anybody have a link to the original column in the Orange County Register? I'd like to see the original before judging. - Leo Laporte
Hah! That's very clever. I didn't see that. But... The right answer, imho, is "I haven't pumped gas myself for a while since the Secret Service won't let me, but I do know that we're all paying over $4 a gallon today, and that's hurting a lot of people, now let me tell you what I plan to do about it..." followed by some pandering about a tax holiday. Anything else comes off as "Let them eat cake." - Dave Winer
That's simple... McCain is an idiot. He doesn't even know how to use a computer either! - Jeff McCord
Ontario Emperor: That's a good point actually, this surge in price has come to America over a couple of years. In Europe the high prices are the result of over a decade of gradual tax rises. Fair point. - MarkFromIreland
Oil is going to hit $209 per barrel by Q1/08- this is the future market predications. No amount of pondering can change this.wheeling and dealing that is going on. Oils is the base commodity for War go figure !! - Peter Dawson
This is a result of the 80's. We deregulated the oil industry and banking. Now we have refined products that are way over the top and a banking industry that is in deep stuff. One of the major arguments at that time was that if we deregulated those areas, we would have the problems we have now. The chances of getting them fixed now....Zero! - Dave Rutter
That's right Peter. The CEO of an airline or car company would know the price of oil and gas at the pump, all grades, probably up to the minute. In many ways these guys are speculating on the price of oil. Okay cut the Prez a little slack, maybe he only needs to know the price of oil at the weekly or monthly level. Not knowing it at all, that's incompetent beyond belief. - Dave Winer
Mark, sir, it's because our economy is (somewhat foolishly) built on the assumption of cheap oil. Even we were smart we'd still have a problem. Look at the distances. How much oil do you burn getting from SF to NY vs London to Paris? There's no comparison. We *need* cheap oil not just cause we're lazy and didn't prepare, but also because of geography. - Dave Winer
I buy gas once a week and I barely know how much it is where I pump, much less the nationwide average. That said, being such a huge issue he should probably know it off the top of his head so he doesn't seem out of touch. BTW, I am an Obama supporter but I don't think McCain is an idiot. And I don't think it matters than an 80 year-old man doesn't know how to use a computer. Know many smart 50 year-olds who just don't care to learn. - Adam
Leo, here's the full interview. - Dave Winer
Sorry Dave that is not clever, that is how the question was asked and how McCain answered it. If the reporter wanted to know if McCain knew what the price of gas was today why didn't he simply ask him. No, instead he couched it in terms that could easily be mis-interpreted , as the reporter obviously hoped it would be. BTW, hindsight is 20/20 - Michael Tefft
He's clearly not an idiot. He does this kind of interview well. Much better than when you put him behind a podium. - Dave Winer
BTW, each thread in FF is kind of like a mini-Twitter. - Dave Winer
I wish we had your kind of problems in Germany, where we pay $3.50 per liter (about a quarter of a gallon). *sigh* - Alexander Kucera
So, let me ask: How much is a gallon of gas? - Mike Lewis
To the people that question why Dave is McCain bashing.... being from a rather Republican minded family I can tell you my inbox is flooded daily with anti Obama mail, most of which can be quickly disproved with a visit to Yet these email quotes always come up in our Bar-B-Q political debates. I find it refreshing to find some anti McCain stories which are at least TRUE, that I can forward on. Although the question was phrased badly I think Dave is correct with his answer above. - Kevin Shannon
He is 90 years old isn't he - Greg Goodwin
I just enjoy disagreeing with Dave. It is so much fun and very enlightening to read his responses. - Michael Tefft
Can we at least try to be fair? I mean if an Obama remark was distorted and misinterpreted like this, would you ever let it rest? - Ken Sheppardson
yesterday saw the car wash shell on divisadero has topped $5.08 for a gallon of premium... - Chris Heuer
Try this, just for fun: (it's obviously a couple of months old). - Dave Winer
it doesnt matter to him he has donors to pay for it - Fuad Arshad
Even though I am a Obama supporter, I hate it when the press twists individuals statements. I am sure McCain knows the current average price for a gallon of gas, you cannot run for president and be an idiot at the same time. - Kyle DeFacis
We are actually paying around $3.89 on average for regular. I feel sorry for the poor truckers who are paying way over $4.00 a gallon for diesel. Have you seen how high food prices have gotten in Hawaii? People are actually being priced off the islands. - Michael Tefft
Just one example of how detached the leadership of this country is, and not exclusive to any one party. But really sad for someone running to be president, his people should tell him every morning the state of a massive issue facing the nation. - Tom Carroll
It's discouraging that McCain doesn't know the price of gas. (Splitting hairs that McCain was referencing the last time he pumped it is a s t r e t c h.) But here's the real problem. This is one of the most important issues for voters, so as a candidate for POTUS, McCain and his campaign should know this question is coming, is important, and know it cold. It shows a general lack of understanding, planning, vision and strategy - and THAT's the problem. - AJ Kohn
first of all, the straight talk express is retarded, but thats another matter. secondly, i agree with the aussie, its not about being out of touch 'last time i pumped' really doesn't matter. the crux of the matter is that we've been drunk on cheap fuel for years and consume way beyond our means. cheney's insane 'conservation is a virtue' is doubly quaint... - tommy payne
Amazing.. and just sad - Dave Peck
AJ. But he plainly wasn't asked that question. The reporter obviously stated the question in an intentionally misleading way. I wonder how many politicians in DC know how much gas costs. Do you think they pump their own gas? This was a survey of one, a real useful gage of McCain's grasp of the issues. - Michael Tefft
Reading Comprehension FAIL... where's that new block feature so I'm not tempted to feed the trolls anymore? - David Knight
Just so Obamaniacs know how easy their guy has it in the media: - Phil Gomes
Hey David, what trolls are you referring too? Don't see any on this thread. - Michael Tefft
He said the same thing about computers, too. Sigh. - Robert Scoble
McCain's comment about not seeing that it matters, is just as bad as him not knowing the price. - Alex Hammer
I didn't see this earlier when I wrote my own post on McCain's comments. I think he knows the price of gas, or at least he knows that it's rising at a ridiculously high rate. That's not the outrageous part of what he said. The part that should piss every thinking voter off is that he doesn't have a clue as to what impact that has on normal people who have to deal with gas prices doubling in six months and the attendant price increases in other areas. Out of touch..that's the message. - Karoli
The problem comes in another, staggering set of government numbers. (Economists argue about the validity of using these numbers over long periods, but they capture the sorrow of the situation.) Get this, friends: from 1947 to about 1973 — from the days from the great Harry S. Truman to the great Richard M. Nixon — real hourly pay for nongovernment workers rose by about 40 percent. The... more... - Will DeLuca
Wasn't McCain asked when he last filled up as opposed to the current price? Is it news to us that celebrities don't deal with day-to-day stuff the same way we do. I don't like it, but it's reality. He probably also doesn't cook for himself, pick out his own clothes or apply his own stage make-up. We don't orient campaigns to do-it-yourselfers. - tim
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