Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Send Sarah to China!



On a conference call to extol Sen. John McCain's plan to direct the government to spend $300-billion buying and refinancing shaky mortgages to help people stay in their homes, Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla., and a fellow former Housing secretary, Jack Kemp, found themselves on the spot over this hot-button campaign issue:

Why won't Gov. Sarah Palin go to China?

As appealing as that may be to some of her Republican critics, the reporter meant it a good thing.

Buzz couldn't catch his affiliation, other than the word "world," but he clearly thought McCains' running mate was missing a golden opportunity by turning down an invitation to speak at a Beijing univeristy on Monday, the day before the election.

He argued that doing so would fill any gaps in her foreign affairs resume and guarantee victory for the McCain-Palin ticket. "She could get elected!" he shouted.

Martinez told the operator he wasn't a journalist.

"I am, too! For 50 years!"

Martinez explained she would be busy "campaigning in the United States."

"It would show she has international credentials!" the man insisted.

Martinez called fror the next caller, and the line went quiet.

"Mel, can't you keep your friends off?" Kemp joked.

Martinez feigned bafflement. "I don't know why she's not going to China."

"Think how many votes there are in China," Kemp said.

[Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 4:43pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours