Watch: On ‘Leno,’ McCain Reveals Keen Distaste for Santorum

by | March 1, 2012 at 11:33 AM | Late Night, TV News

Sen. John McCain on "The Tonight Show" (Photo: NBC)

Outspoken John McCain took verbal shots at Rick Santorum and the United States Supreme Court on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” Wednesday night.

The timely appearance by the Arizona senator and one-time presidential candidate came a day after Mitt Romney’s victories in the Arizona and Michigan Republican primaries.

But McCain and Leno also took time to talk about HBO’s upcoming, attention-getting original movie “Game Change” — the much talked-about movie about the 2008 presidential campaign that stars Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin and Ed Harris as McCain. McCain told Leno he won’t watch the movie and, in response, Jay gave his “review” of Harris as McCain.

We’ve grown accustomed to McCain’s candor over the years, but it’s been a while since we’ve seen him in a late-night TV setting. So his forthright, “pull no punches” statements about Santorum — the conservative Republican who served in the Senate with McCain (from Pennsylvania) — and the Supreme Court came as gusts of fresh air (as opposed to hot air) in this year of presidential politics.

About Santorum, McCain said he and the Pennsylvania senator “didn’t get along” when Santorum was a senator, but you got the feeling it was something more than just not getting along — it felt more like McCain just out-and-out disliked him. McCain, who’s backing Romney for the nomination, accused Santorum of trafficking in earmarks and pork-barrel projects when he was a senator.

About the Supreme Court, McCain decried the high court’s decision on campaign financing that opened the door to so-called “Super Pacs” that allow some individuals with deep pockets to fund candidates with no limit on the amount of money they can donate. Without mentioning the name of casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, McCain clearly referred to him when he complained about Adelson’s funding of the Newt Gingrich campaign. McCain said the Supreme Court should be “ashamed and embarrassed.”

Watch McCain speak out about Santorum and Super Pacs in these two clips:

In this next clip, McCain lightened up and made a joke about running for president (after all, this was a late-night comedy show). “I respect anyone who’s willing to run for president,” he said. “Listen, after I lost, I slept like a baby — sleep two hours, wake up and cry, sleep two hours, wake up and cry . . . !” Jay liked that one.

Jay said he also liked how Ed Harris portrays McCain in HBO’s “Game Change” movie, based on the book by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. Leno had apparently watched the movie, perhaps to prepare for upcoming guest Julianne Moore, who’s booked for “The Tonight Show” on Thursday night (March 1).

McCain repeated the assertion he made recently that he doesn’t intend to watch the movie (it premieres Saturday, March 10, at 9/8c on HBO) because he evidently doesn’t respect the book it was adapted from. “No, I heard enough about the book that it’s taken from – unattributed quotes, unnamed sources . . . but it’s a free country,” he said.

Leno asked McCain if he would still pick Sarah Palin as a running mate if he could relive the 2008 campaign.

Hear what McCain said about that in this next clip:

This final clip has McCain and Leno getting serious about Syria. And McCain said he thinks the U.S. should be much more involved in helping the rebels there.

Here’s what he had to say about that:
Of course, we have the entire Wednesday “Tonight Show” right here:
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