John McCain has acknowledged that he is “an illiterate” when it comes to computers. He said he “has to rely on his wife for all the assistance he can get.” At the Personal Democracy Forum last month, McCain aide Mark Soohoo argued in McCain’s defense that “you don’t have to use a computer to understand how it shapes the country.” “John McCain is aware of the internet,” Soohoo said. Watch it:
In an interview with New York Times, John McCain confirmed that he doesn’t email, doesn’t read blogs, doesn’t go online, but does occasionally read Drudge. While he’s not a consumer of online information, McCain said he does “understand the impact of blogs on American politics today and political campaigns”:
Q: What websites if any do you look at regularly?
Mr. McCain: Brooke and Mark show me Drudge, obviously, everybody watches, for better or for worse, Drudge. Sometimes I look at Politico. Sometimes RealPolitics, sometimes.
(Mrs. McCain and Ms. Buchanan both interject: “Meagan’s blog!”)
Mr. McCain: Excuse me, Meagan’s blog. And we also look at the blogs from Michael and from you that may not be in the newspaper, that are just part of your blog.
Q: But do you go on line for yourself?
Mr. McCain: They go on for me. I am learning to get online myself, and I will have that down fairly soon, getting on myself. I don’t expect to be a great communicator, I don’t expect to set up my own blog, but I am becoming computer literate to the point where I can get the information that I need — including going to my daughter’s blog first, before anything else.
Q: Do you use a blackberry or email?
Mr. McCain: No
Mark Salter: He uses a BlackBerry, just ours.
Mr. McCain: I use the Blackberry, but I don’t e-mail, I’ve never felt the particular need to e-mail. I read e-mails all the time, but the communications that I have with my friends and staff are oral and done with my cell phone. I have the luxury of being in contact with them literally all the time. We now have a phone on the plane that is usable on the plane, so I just never really felt a need to do it. But I do — could I just say, really — I understand the impact of blogs on American politics today and political campaigns. I understand that. And I understand that something appears on one blog, can ricochet all around and get into the evening news, the front page of The New York Times. So, I do pay attention to the blogs. And I am not in any way unappreciative of the impact that they have on entire campaigns and world opinion.
McCain campaign manager Rick Davis previously claimed that McCain “loves to tool around on the internet.”