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On the Trail : CELLPHONE BLUES

Can you hear me now? . . . Now?

June 28, 2008|Bob Drogin

Although John McCain was stumping in Ohio on Friday, his campaign arranged for him to talk by phone to leaders of B'nai B'rith International, a major Jewish group, who were meeting in Ottawa. Reporters were invited to dial in to the conference call at 3 p.m. to listen.

McCain soon came on the line and launched into his spiel. "Thank you for all the good you do," he began.

Then silence.

"We lost the senator," a voice conceded after a minute or so. "We lost the candidate. . . . Can we get a message to someone?"

More minutes passed.

Finally, the voice announced that McCain was on the road and had lost his cellphone signal. "We'll just have to wait," the voice counseled.

Someone hummed a ditty into the phone. More minutes passed. Finally, at 3:18, McCain came back on the line.

"Where did you lose me?" he asked.

"We lost you at the very beginning," he was told. "You gave your whole speech and you didn't know you weren't connected to us."

"I'm so sorry," McCain replied. "I'm very sorry. I'll do it again."

And he did.

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