For confirmation of the rumors of the new, more tightly controlled McCain, look no further than this interview by Time magazine’s James Carney and Michael Scherer.

The cringingly awkward transcript contains interactions as tense and uncomfortable as this:

There’s a theme that recurs in your books and your speeches, both about putting country first but also about honor. I wonder if you could define honor for us?
Read it in my books.

I’ve read your books.
No, I’m not going to define it.

But honor in politics?
I defined it in five books. Read my books.

Yikes.

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Katia Bachko is on staff at The New Yorker.