McCain Discusses Iraq Market Visit

Arizona Senator Speaks Exclusively With Correspondent <b>Scott Pelley</b>

Success of the surge is critical to the campaign. But at home, for the moment, voters aren't convinced.

Pelley caught up with McCain on the campaign trail, in New Hampshire. He was once the frontrunner but now, nationwide, he's running behind former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. And in fundraising, he's last among major candidates. Nine months before the primary, he's working retail politics with Cindy, his wife of 27 years, the wealthy heiress to a beer fortune.

On stage, he's a Republican who doesn't always keep company with his party. He says he's against abortion, but for stem cell research. He warns that global warming is a threat and that the country needs more nuclear power.

And above all is the McCain mantra that the Republican party has been spending the country into ruin. "We let spending get out of control to a degree where it led to corruption," he says.

How did it happen?

"We lost our way. We began to value power over principle," McCain says.

"It's not the party that you hoped it would be?" Pelley asks,

"Absolutely," McCain says. "Nor is it the party that Ronald Reagan hoped we would be."

On the road to the primaries, 60 Minutes found one issue he doesn't like much, but one that shadows his campaign.

"CBS News did a poll in March, and asked people, 'How old do you think the President of the United States should be?' More than half said in his 50s. Would you hazard a guess how many thought the president should be in his 70s?" Pelley asks.

"I don't like this line of questioning at all. I find it offensive. I'm sure that it was a small, it was a small number. But, let me respond to that right away," McCain replies.

"It was zero, Senator," Pelley points out.

"Okay, zero. But, the fact is that it's how you display yourself. I work seven days a week, 12, 14, 16 hours a day. I didn't see anybody in that town hall that was worried about my age. It's how you conduct yourself that's gonna be the key to it," McCain says.

At 70, he works even on the way to the barber. He seems inexhaustible. If McCain is stiff, it's from the crippling injuries he suffered after he was shot down and then tortured in North Vietnam in 1967. There has been no return of the skin cancer that he battled seven years ago, but it left him with long scars which he covers with a joke.

"It's my barber Mario that did that, butcher," McCain jokes.

In his office, American history is a family portrait, five generations at West Point or Annapolis. Relatives include generals and admirals.

"This is my father in Vietnam when he was commander-in-chief of U.S. forces in the Pacific," McCain says, pointing out a photo.

And now McCain's family is serving again. He has a son in the Naval Academy and another son, 18 years old, headed to Iraq.

His son Jimmy volunteered to serve. Why?

"'Cause he's a fine, patriotic American," McCain says.

Asked if he tried to talk his son out of it, the senator says, "No. But I really don't talk about him or my other son very much. I think my son is no different than the thousands and thousands of other sons and daughters who decide they wanna serve their country. And I'm not sure it's much more complicated than that."