It was a humid Friday in July, but on the set of 'The Situation Room', the air was chilled to a degree that almost made my teeth chatter. I could have used a sweater, or maybe one of those thermal undershirts from LL Bean. Good product from a good all-American retailer - they really cut out the nippiness. But who would have expected that you could actually see your breath in The Situation Room?

I like my studio the same way I like my women.

What the hell was Blitzer talking about? And why did they call this the Situation Room to begin with? I've been in situation rooms before and believe me, this was no situation room. These thoughts and more ran through my mind, but then the monitor light turned red, signaling fifteen seconds till air time. I could tell from the very first question that this interview was going to be a piece of cake.
No, Wolf, I would never question Barack Obama's patriotism. From what I can tell, he's pretty gung-ho for a Muslim. I'm just pointing out that not only did he advocate failure, he tried to legislate it.
Hmmm... Very shrewd answer, Senator. But let me ask you a hypothetical question...
I'm sorry, Wolf, but I don't do hypotheticals. No one made of presidential timber ever does hypotheticals. The fact that Senator Obama does hypotheticals - well, make of that what you will.
Hmmm... In that case Senator, perhaps I could ask you a rhetorical question...
Oh sure, Wolf, fire away. Rhetorical questions are right up my alley.
Let's presume, for a moment, that Prime Minister Maliki is indeed serious regarding his desire to see American troops leave Iraq by the end of 2010... What then?
First of all, Wolf, if you were to ask me such a question, I suppose that I would ask you if you were a fucking moron. Because you're talking about a friend of mine, a friend who has always stated his belief that any withdrawal of troops depends upon conditions on the ground.
Well, what if al-Maliki came out again, and said he really, really, really, really wanted US troops out as quickly as possible?
I suppose that I would assume it was a joke, Wolf. Look, Nouri -al-Maliki is a close personal friend of mine, and I can assure you that he's been misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately. That's a fact, Jack. You want to challenge me?
Hmmm... Very powerful answer, Senator McCain. After this break we'll be right back to ask about the venomous villain known as Osama bin-Laden.
Was this all real? As we faded to commercial, my tired brain spun a stunning display of scarlet and orange, shifting hues within a field of vibrant jungle green. Osama bin-Laden. I'd heard that name before. He was the man who launched the most audacious attack in American history back on... oh hell, I'm not that good with dates, but it was sometime after I lost my first presidential campaign.
And then, as swiftly as the landscape had shifted out of focus, a new green world materialized, and I imagined that I was in the presence of a gnome who seemed almost life-size.

"Join me, John McCain," he cried. "For there is much to see, and there really isn't a helluvalot of time to see it in."

It was my old friend, Dali Lama, who I hadn't seen since the South China Sea incident... could it really have been thirty-seven years ago? Well, thirty, forty, a long time ago. And then he kind of appeared three or four years ago when I was thinking about the surge, but I just kind of wrote that off as too much wienerschnitzel. He beckoned for me to follow.
"Come with me, John McCain, for I have but one thing to show you, although it is a very big thing indeed. It is the boundary between your dreams and reality."

"We look to light, and we see light. We look to dark, and we see dark. Like sand through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives."

There, down through the valley, over the mountain, and into the plane... I was traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. There was the signpost up ahead...


I'm back with Senator John McCain, presumptive Republican candidate for president. Senator, you've vowed to bring Osama bin-Laden to justice. What would you do that President Bush hasn't already done?
Wolf, you're nuts if you think I'm going to give you the specifics. Look, I know the area, I've been there, I know wars, I know how to win wars, and I know how to improve our capabilities so that we will capture Osama bin Laden - or put it this way, bring him to justice... We will do it, I know how to do it.
Well, Senator, let me ask you a somewhat accusatory question. If you know where he is, and you know how to do it, why haven't you shared this information with the current administration.
Let me reply angrily to that, Wolf. How the hell do you know that I haven't already told the president and that he's not too big a pussy to follow through?
Truth be told, I hadn't told the president because I had not known the answer until moments earlier. No matter, my sudden knowledge was enough to send another liberal newsreader crashing to defeat.

Who will be the source of truth and wisdom in the McCain administration? Well, it won't be me, because I'm just an ordinary guy who loves his country. And it won't be the vice president or some lofty cabinet official either.

But somewhere, high on a mountaintop...


2008, Mark Hoback