Rick Cleveland, besides being a writer for The West Wing and Six Feet Under, is buddies with former United States President William Jefferson Clinton, as he explained in detail in his Comedy Central special Rick Cleveland's My Buddy Bill.
Okay, now McCain wants me to work with his dog. I helped Bill Clinton with Buddy. I even tried to help W. with his Scottish Terrier, Barney — and now it's McCain. He's got an English Springer Spaniel named Sam, and apparently Sam hasn't been cooperating for family photo ops.
The problem is — and this is the problem with most presidential candidates and their dogs — these people don't spend any time with these animals — they can't, they're politicians. And dogs like consistency. I spend Saturday at the McCain's ranch in Arizona, working with Sam. They cannot get him to look into the lens, and this makes McCain impatient — and if there's one person in this race you do not want to make impatient, it's John McCain. (He's a Vietnam Vet!) But this makes Sam even more nervous around the camera.
I ask John if he has any tennis balls. He has one of his Advancemen run back to the house and fetch me one. Then I give it to the Photographer and tell him to hold it in the same hand as the one he uses to press the camera's shutter button. Sam cannot take his eye off the tennis ball, and it appears as though he is staring directly into the lens.
McCain is thrilled, the proof sheets look great. I stay for the night, and The Deer Hunter is showing on cable. John watches it, laughing — the way me and my friends would laugh at Caddyshack.
Sunday morning, I check my voice mail at the airport, and I have a message from Michelle Obama. She and Barack don't have a dog. But they would like to get one.
In case you missed it, here's more from Rick about Bill's dog Buddy from last week's airing of Rick Cleveland's My Buddy Bill.
Tags: Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, John McCain, Off the Trail