McCain on 'The View': I haven't changed

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The Republican nominee for President may have appeared on The View four times in the past, but that didn't mean he got a free pass on visit number five.

John McCain appeared on the popular daytime talk show this morning and they peppered him with questions from the get-go.

There were some niceties at first, before Barbara Walters hit him with a question about his running mate Sarah Palin.

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The greatest ever?

"You have said that Sarah Palin is the greatest vice president [candidate] in the history of the United States," Walters said. "Greater than John Adams who became President? Greater than father George Bush who became President? The greatest vice presidential candidate? Isn't that a little strong?"

McCain, who appeared comfortable throughout the session, laughed and said, "We politicians are never given to exaggeration or hyperbole.  But the fact is, she's a great person, a great governor, she's the most popular governor in America, she understands energy issues which is a fundamental challenge...

"I'm going to be sorry I asked the question," Walters droned.

Maverick no more

Co-host Joy Behar seemed disappointed with McCain lamenting, "You used to be more of the maverick, then you sort of turned."

"In what way," McCain asked.

"Well, you became much more lockstep, I think, with your party – with George Bush's policies," she said.  "I don't see the old John McCain who used to really buck the system as much."

"And I can understand why – you want to get elected," she said to applause and laughter.

McCain said these charges were nothing new but no one could name where he's changed.

"I'm the same person and I have the same principles, and the same issues whether it be spending, whether it be climate change, whether it be the war on Iraq, whether it be torture of prisoners – no matter what it is... I'm the same guy," McCain said.

More pigs and lipstick

Of course, not a day can go by without the "lipstick on a pig" issue resurfacing. It did again this morning.

Behar said two recent McCain ads were lies, including the ad which criticized Barack Obama's usage of the phrase.  The McCain campaign said Obama called Palin a pig.

McCain began defending the ads when Walters cut him off saying, "You yourself used the same expression."

McCain countered, "When I was talking about a health care plan."

"Yeah, but he was talking about change," Walters said.  "He wasn't talking about Sarah Palin."

To which McCain replied, "Senator Obama chooses his words very carefully. Ok? He shouldn't have said it... and this is a tough campaign."

Big happy family

How to lighten the tone of the campaign?  McCain suggested he and Obama appear together on The View.

"I've asked Senator Obama to join me in town hall meetings all across America," he said.  "I have requested this time after time."

"That would be good for Sarah and Joe Biden too," Behar interjected.

To much laughter and applause Walters offered, "You bring us Sarah Palin and we'll bring you Barack Obama."

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