Hello, my name is (not) Mike Palmer

On June 1, Republican presidential candidate John McCain appeared before a few hundred Nationwide insurance employees at their building in downtown Des Moines. (Here’s the blog post on that event.)

I did note in that post that during Q&A with the media after the "town hall" meeting, McCain joked about the white name tags Nationwide security required for each of the reporters, photographers and sound techs who covered the event. "Does everybody have to wear a name tag here?  Security is tight?" McCain quipped to reporters. "You never know when somebody might steal an insurance policy."

David Yepsen, columnist for the DM Register, asked the first quesiton, then other reporters joined in the questioning. Tom Witosky, a reporter for the DM Register, asked about three questions and every time McCain would reply to one of Witosky’s questions, McCain began by saying "Well, Mike…."

The assembled reporters thought McCain was confusing Witosky for AP reporter Mike Glover.  After the Q&A, as McCain was saying goodbye to "Mike," Witosky politely pointed out his name was Tom.  McCain got a strange look on his face, then as is his custom he began shaking the hands of the TV photographers up on the press riser. As he drew near me, McCain looked first at my nametag and a very strange look came over his face. I found the nametag this weekend.

No, I am not Mike Palmer.  He must work at Nationwide and all the reporters must have been his guest.

Now, another McCain moment.

McCain’s campaign organized a "town hall meeting" without the hall last Friday in Pella.  About 250 people showed up in Central Park in Pella.  Many were seated on a bank of bleachers facing a raised concrete slab over which the McCain campaign had erected a tent. Once he was introduced, McCain stood under the tent for a little over a minute. 

"I see that it’s a very sunny day," McCain said before launching into a quick string of Arizona jokes.

"I’m sorry you’re having to sit in the sun," McCain soon told the crowd.  "Maybe we all ought to come up here on the stage.  In fact, what I thought I’d do is get a hat on here and maybe walk a little closer to you rather than standing back up there on the stage."

So, McCain strolled closer to the crowd and donned a baseball cap to protect himself from the blaze of the noon-hour sunshine. 

Sixteen minutes later — just before he opened the floor to questions from the crowd — McCain mentioned the sunshine again.  "Now, could I again thank you for sitting in the sun and I hope that no one gets sunburned.  I am a melanoma victim so I am particularly sensitive to sun damage so I hope that somebody has sun lotion today."

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. That first story is classic. Thanks for sharing.