"Hello? General Petraeus? This is John McCain."

"Oh, hi Senator. What can I do for you?"

"Nothing, General, not a thing. Can't a Senator just call up an old pal to say hello?"

"You're not really an old pal, Senator, and I'm really kind of busy at the moment..."

"Not a pal? Who visited you time after time in Iraq when they had a few days off? Why, that was me, John McCain. You know, I never visited General Powell in Iraq... Although, God knows, if I had it all to do over again..."

"You're bummed out about the Powell endorsement, aren't you?"

"John McCain doesn't get bummed out. John McCain spent five and a half years vowing never to be bummed out again. John McCain has the endorsement of hundreds of former Generals and Admirals, and is not about to be bummed out by the defection of one chucklehead, no way, no how."

"Well, good. I'm glad to hear you're in good spirits."

"It's just that John McCain would like to ask one very small favor from the man he supported when things were shaky, and the smell of defeat hung thickly in the air."

"Please don't ask."

"You know it's just a couple of weeks until election day..."

"Please don't ask."

"...and I was asking myself, just who is the most famous general in the whole wide world?"

"Please don't ask."

"It's certainly not Colin Powell, not anymore. No, the single most exalted General of our times would be the one who took a hopeless situation in Iraq, and single-handedly..."

"Senator McCain, as an active duty soldier, I simply cannot endorse a candidate. It's forbidden. So don't ask."

"Me ask you for an endorsement? Heaven forbid. As you might know, I'm an old military man myself, I know the rules. Still, I was thinking maybe you could spare a wink and a nod..."

"A wink and a nod?"

"Oh, you know, if someone were to ask you about the presidential race, you could say the same thing you just told me - 'I cannot endorse John McCain for president because it would be inappropriate.' And then maybe wink at the camera."

"What camera?"

"Well, the campaign has a crew coming down to your office a little later this afternoon, and I thought..."

"Call them off, McCain. Immediately."

"It would just take a few minutes, and they're already on their..."


"Oh... Okay... Sorry to bother you at work, General."

"That's okay, Senator. Now, goodbye. And good luck."

"Good luck? Thanks, General, I'll take that as an implied endorsement."


2008, Mark Hoback