John McCain Jokes: "And I Stopped Beating My Wife..."

John McCain got a little testy when a reporter asked him why he didn't pick Governor Jim Gibbons to chair his Nevada campaign.

It's easy enough to guess why not: The governor is in the middle of an very ugly, and very public divorce battle. McCain tried to defuse the somewhat tense question with his idea of a joke, Jake Tapper reports:

"I appreciate his support," McCain said. "As you know, the lieutenant governor is our chairman."
Why snub the governor? Ralston asked.
"I didn’t mean to snub him,. I've known the lieutenant governor for 15 years and we've been good friends," McCain said. "I didn't intend to snub him. There are other states where the governor is not the chairman."
Maybe it's the governor's approval rating and you are running from him like you are from the president? Asked Ralston in a question McCain clearly found loaded.
Said McCain, chuckling, "And I stopped beating my wife just a couple of weeks ago."
Some have found the subject of McCain's joke -- wife-beating -- inappropriate.
To be clear, McCain was alluding to the fictitious leading question "When did you stop beating your wife, senator?" It's a bit of distasteful DC yuckery so commonly quoted it's hackneyed.
But considering the subject McCain was discussing at the time, to allude to that joke was, well, .....awkward!
Gov. Gibbons last month filed for divorce from his wife Dawn citing incompatiblity.
It's pretty scandalous. The Reno Gazette-Journal recently reported that one month Gibbons sent 860 text messages to a woman with whome Mrs. Gibbons suspects her husband of stepping out.
Slick, Senator. Very slick.
Gibbons you may recall started his governorship amidst accusations that he assaulted a cocktail waitress named Chrissy Mazzeo three weeks before Election Day. Mazzeo said Gibbons grabbed her in a parking garage and threatened to sexually assault her. Charges were never filed.
Might want to scratch that joke from the schtick, senator, especially in Nevada. [ABC]

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