The Day I Met Senator McCain

Two things I still remember: his very tight shirt collar, and the strange look as I extended my hand.

In late 2000, I met U.S. Senator John McCain at Newark Airport, New Jersey. It was a Friday afternoon and I was on my way back to Toronto. He was standing beyond the security barriers, talking to two Port Authority policemen (or security workers, don’t remember) who had followed him from the security screening area. Visiting the U.S. often, I had been following the U.S presidential election cycle and McCain’s campaign travails were still fresh in the mind.

I extended my hand, ‘How are you Senator? Nice to meet you.’ He looked at my hand, obliged it with a brief shake, mumbled something in return, and then went back to the conversation he was having. I remember thinking, ‘not your typical outgoing politician, but why did he look at my hand first. Was probably just being careful I guess. Or maybe, I should have just waved at him and not attempting to shake his hand.’

What do I think of that episode today? From how he has conducted his 2008 campaign, it finally makes sense.