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"Who the Hell Are You?"

The John McCain quiz

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

1 What did Chuck Hagel do to earn John McCain’s raging wrath?

a) He told a reporter he was "repulsed" by an ugly joke McCain once made about then-teenaged Chelsea Clinton.

b) He coined the McCain nickname "Senator Hothead."

c) He passed around copies of McCain’s high-school yearbook photo, in which he wore a trenchcoat with a turned-up collar and had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.

d) He publicly disagreed with McCain about the Iraq war, didn’t endorse him in the 2008 primaries, and even toyed with the idea of being Barack Obama’s running mate.

2 What prompted Jon Stewart to say that John McCain was "continuing his seven-year quest to negate every good thing he’d ever done prior to that"?

a) His relentless (and ultimately vain) efforts to prevent the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which repeal he had not opposed until—surprise!—President Obama championed it.

b) His insistence that his selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate was the "best decision I ever made."

c) His declaration that he "will do everything in my power to block [Susan Rice] from being the United States Secretary of State."

d) His tweet calling Iranian president Ahmadinejad a "monkey."

3 False or true? John McCain was for immigration reform before he was against it before he was for it.

a) False. His support for it has never wavered.

b) True.  He was for it until it became a campaign liability in the 2008 GOP primaries, then was against it for years—going so far as to run the infamous "Complete the Danged Fence" campaign ad in 2010—and is for it again now because "Look at the last election. We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote."

4 "I say with great respect, that's one of the dumbest questions I've ever heard." What prompted this enormously respectful response from John McCain?

a) A question about the relative threat to national security of the Benghazi attack and the Petraeus affair.

b) A question about his frequent mentions of the reality TV "star" Snooki.

c) A question about how high in his obituary he thought the Keating Five scandal would be.

d) A question about why he spoke so condescendingly to Hillary Clinton at the Benghazi hearing after having himself made not entirely knowledgeable comments in the days following the attack.

5 What did John McCain say when asked why he was holding a press conference to complain about the Obama administration's failure to provide information about the Benghazi attack instead of attending an extensive classified briefing on the subject that was taking place at the same time?

a) "That’s one of the dumbest questions I've ever heard."

b) "Now? They're having a briefing right now? Well, forgive me, folks, I seem to have really stepped in it here."

c) "I have no comment about my schedule and I'm not going to comment on how I spend my time to the media … I have the right as a senator to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?"

d)  "Why don't you ask Obama why he's having a briefing while I'm holding a press conference?"

6 What did President Obama do that John McCain didn't like?

a) He mocked Mitt Romney's lack of national security experience, which is something McCain said he didn’t do to his opponent during the 2008 campaign (though, in fact, he did).

b) He got re-elected.

c)  He picked Chuck Hagel to be his new Secretary of Defense.

d) All of the above, plus, you know, pretty much everything else.

7 What did writer Joe Hagan say about John McCain in his 2010 New York magazine profile?

a) When criticized, his face sports "an expression like a grenade about to detonate."

b) He "takes the phrase 'sore loser' to a whole new galaxy."

c) His inability to accept the fact that the President beat him in 2008 "has turned him into a bitter old man who has forfeited all claims to rationality or principle and who now lives for just one thing: revenge. His entire political philosophy seems to be, 'If Obama's for it, I'm against it.'"

d) His willingness to place Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the presidency was "seen by some as closer to treason than getting shot down by the Viet Cong was to heroism."

8 In 2010, John McCain declared, "I never considered myself a maverick." Why was this statement so ridiculous?

a) The phrase "I'm John McCain and I approve this message" appeared in several 2008 campaign ads in which he was referred to as "a maverick" or "the original maverick."

b)  He urged voters at several 2008 campaign appearances to elect his "team of mavericks."

c) He told Sean Hannity that he and Sarah Palin were "both mavericks" and told Larry King, "Sarah is a maverick. I'm a maverick."

d) All of the above, plus, oh yeah, the subtitle of his memoirs, Worth the Fighting For, was The Education of an American Maverick, and the Heroes Who Inspired Him.


1)   d

2)   c

3)   b

4)   a

5)   c

6)   d

7)   a

8)   d

Paul Slansky is the author of six books, among them My Bad: The Apology Anthology, The Little Quiz Book of Big Political Sex Scandals, and the New York Times bestseller The Clothes Have No Emperor: A Chronicle of the American 80s,which he has reissued as an e-book available at