McCain expressed confidence that Thompson's advanced age and decrepitude would make himself look younger and more vigorous by comparison.
"I can still walk and chew my own food," McCain said. "Fred can't even take a shit unless someone else massages his bowels."
"Fred and I agree on so many issues, it just made sense," McCain said, adding, "We both know our job is taking care of business--and I mean that literally. When someone puts a big chunk of change in your pocket, they expect some service and Fred and I will both deliver. I turned on a dime on that off-shore drilling nonsense once big oil told their people to get out the checkbooks. Fred knows the ropes--hell, he was even a lobbyist for a while, so he wrote the checks."
When asked if he was concerned about the Religious Right's reaction to tapping Thompson, McCain said, "Fred is an actor. If he has to speak in tongues, handle snakes, and roll on the floor to get those toothless hillbillies votes, he'll do it, and they'll believe him. Hell, they believed a silver spoon, spoiled frat boy like Bush was one of their own--they'll believe anything."
McCain himself has done considerable work mending fences with the Religious Right after calling them "agents of intolerance" during the 2000 campaign. He has pledged privately to leading fundamentalist ministers to bring about Armageddon by the end of his first term in office.
McCain may also have an affinity for Thompson since both shed devoted first wives for stunning blondes, much younger than themselves. In McCain's case, his wife Cindy is young enough to be his daughter. Thompson's wife is young enough to be his great grand-daughter.
McCain even joked about this, saying,"Fred might have gotten the younger trophy wife, but she's a lobbyist for Christ sake, so she's mooching off of him. My wife is worth hundred's of millions, so she pays the bills, and when I get tired of her, I can still bang a young lobbyist when my equipment is working."
Thompson seemed unaware of what was going on during the press conference, but his wife said that if he knew, he would be very proud to be part of the McCain ticket.