ABC News’s Ron Claiborne and Bret Hovell report: Senator John McCain’s gaffe last week that he didn’t remember how many houses he owned with his wife Cindy became the source of much of the humor during his appearance on Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show, Monday evening.
While McCain was still in the green room, Leno got the audience warmed up.
“Tropical Storm Fay has soaked Florida, ringing thousands of homes, ruining thousands of homes, most of them belonging to John McCain,” Leno said during his monologue. “In fact to make Sen. McCain feel at home tonight, I gave him 7 dressing rooms.”
After their opening segment together on the stage, Leno came back from a commercial break to ask McCain: “For one million dollars, how many houses do you have?”
McCain answered by first citing his time as a POW in Vietnam.
“Could I just mention to you, Jay, that, at a moment of seriousness,” McCain began. “I spent five-and-a-half years in a prison cell. I didn't have a house. I didn't have a kitchen table. I didn't have a table. I didn't have a chair. And I didn't spent those five-and-a-half years because, not because I wanted to get a house when I got out.”
“We spend our time in a condominium in Washington, in a condominium in Phoenix, sometime over here in the state of California and we have a place up in northern Arizona,” McCain continued, explaining how his campaign got to the number four in the count. (McCain is being conservative: ABC News’s count is ten homes on eight properties.)
Leno and McCain also joked about the presumptive Republican nominee’s age – next Friday McCain will turn seventy-two.
“It was this week in 1814, British troops set fire to the White House. Did you know that?” Leno said during his monologue. “The White House was saved, it was saved thanks to the actions of one brave young soldier, John McCain.”
McCain was in on the joke: “But also, you forgot to mention when I warned the people about the British coming,” McCain said to laughter.