Get plenty of sleep and make sure you turn up on time – that’s 2008 presidential candidate John McCain’s advice to Mitt Romney.
This year’s GOP challenger also has to prove he is not a phony and “be more personal” in his public appearances, McCain told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly in an interview that aired Monday.
"The thing you have to guard against, too, you know, is . . . you try not to get too tired because that's when mistakes are made," the five-term Arizona senator said. "Don't get so fatigued that you lose your temper or say something stupid," he added.
In addition, McCain said he would advise Romney to try his best to be on time at campaign events, even as he speeds around the country at breakneck speed from one state to the other.
"I admire and respect Bill Clinton as one of the great politicians, and he could get away with it," McCain said, noting Clinton's notoriety for being late for just about everything.
"The same thing with President Obama," he added. "But the rudest thing you can do is keep people waiting. They're there to see you."
McCain said he has great respect for Romney despite their bruising 2008 primary campaign, and he said part of Romney’s appeal to voters has been dented by the “hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent on negative ads, although he said he did not believe they would end up working.
"But that's his challenge," McCain said, adding that the former Massachusetts governor has "got to be more personal" to let folks know how serious he is about confronting the nation's problems.
"You got to let the folks know who you are in a sincere way. It's not a phony political deal," McCain said, offering some advice on what he's learned himself as a two-time Republican presidential candidate.
Speaking about his own loss to Barack Obama, McCain said the turning point that gave the White House to the Democrats was when the news came about the financial meltdown on Wall Street that led to the housing collapse and the nation's economic downturn.
"Maybe, I didn't run a good enough campaign. Maybe, I wasn't strong enough," McCain told O'Reilly. "I also would point out, though, without making any excuses, when the day the stock market went down 700 points, my friend, that was a bad day for our poll."
The senator also addressed questions about the recent HBO film, "Game Change," in which he was portrayed as deferring to his 2008 campaign advisers on the selection of then Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate.
"I pretty much ran my own campaign," McCain said, disagreeing with the film.
He acknowledged that he hasn't actually seen the film, but said he was told that "I'm portrayed as someone who uses the 'F' word every other word."
"I'm an old Navy man, but I don't do that. Because, I think, it's a sign, frankly, of the lack of vocabulary and the lack of intellect," the senator said.
He did agree, however, that he and Palin did have differences of opinion on where to spend time and resources campaigning, but denied there was every any serious tension between them. The biggest example involved Michigan.
"I talked to Sarah about it. She wanted to go there because Sarah felt that she could turn it around. And we had a long conversation about it," McCain said. "But there was never any space between me and Sarah Palin.
"I love her and I cherish her, and her family," the senator continued. "And I'm grateful for her running with me. And I still regret — the only thing I regret is, I had no idea that she would be attacked as viciously as she still is today."
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