Saturday, February 24, 2018
Politics

Does John McCain have the most 'Meet the Press' appearances?

The statement

Says he holds the record for "most appearances on Meet the Press."

U.S. Sen. John McCain, Aug. 27 on MSNBC's Daily Rundown

The ruling

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has a few pointers for Chuck Todd, who takes the helm of NBC's Meet the Press on Sept. 7.

"I called to congratulate you and as the person who has the most appearances on Meet the Press, I'd be glad to give you a lot of advice and counseling, including the best gotcha questions of the week," McCain said. "And I have one other suggestion: We should change the name from Meet the Press to Meet the World's Foremost Political Junkie, And Guests. How 'bout that?"

"69 times," Todd quantified. He then rolled a montage of McCain on the show, including a 2008 interview with Tim Russert, who said Republican Bob Dole had clocked the most appearances but "there's still time for (McCain) to catch up."

We wondered, has McCain caught up?

McCain's office and a spokesperson told us they don't keep track of those numbers but said McCain surpassed Dole in 2012.

Meet the Press' fact page, which needs an update, still lists Dole as the most frequent guest, with 63 appearances. McCain is next, with 53 appearances, and Vice President Joe Biden trails McCain by 10 appearances.

McCain's 54th appearance was on March 29, 2009, according to recently ousted host David Gregory. Dole still had the record among guests, but Gregory had encouraging words for McCain.

"We've been doing the calculations here. We think we can make this up, maybe within a year's time," he said.

Three years later, McCain broke Dole's record on March 18, 2012, his 64th appearance.

"You've been on this show more than I have," Gregory joked.

Based on Meet the Press transcripts, McCain appeared on the show twice more in 2012. He hasn't made an appearance this year but went on three times in 2013, bringing his total to 69, according to our count.

It's worth noting that NBC and McCain are using a slightly nontraditional definition of guest. Namely, it excludes journalists who appear on the show. Again, according to NBC's outdated fact page, the Washington Post's David Broder clocked 401 Meet appearances and the Chicago Sun-Times' Robert Novak appeared on the show 248 times. Novak and Broder are both deceased.

With that caveat, we rate McCain's claim Mostly True.

Edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com.

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