As the Democrats' convention began, Republican presidential candidate John McCain wasn't sitting on the sidelines. He turned to the celebrity circuit — swapping jokes with Jay Leno on TV, winning the endorsement of a pop star — and announced his wife was on a humanitarian mission to the troubled country of Georgia.
McCain visited his wife's high school in Phoenix first on Monday for an endorsement by Puerto Rican reggaeton singer Daddy Yankee.
"I choose him as the best candidate, because he's been a fighter for the immigration issue," the singer declared.
Then, McCain traveled to California for a meeting in Sacramento with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and TV actress Patricia Heaton. After that, it was on to Burbank, where he was ready for his close-up on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
In his monologue, Leno joked about McCain's recent inability to answer a question about how many homes he owns: "In other news, Tropical Storm Fay has soaked Florida, ruining thousands of homes. Ruining thousands of homes, most of them belonging to John McCain. In fact, to make Sen. McCain feel at home tonight, [we] gave him seven dressing rooms."
During the show, McCain listed four homes that he and his wife own and mentioned his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
"I spent 5 1/2 years in a prison cell without — 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 spent those 5 1/2 years ... not because I wanted to get a house when I got out," he said.
On a lighter note, the nearly 72-year-old joined Leno's ribbing about his age: "I've got one: My Social Security number is eight."
Leno asked the senator about Barack Obama's running mate, Delaware Sen. Joseph Biden, and whether McCain is considering Minnesota's Gov. Tim Pawlenty as his vice presidential candidate.
"In a debate with Biden, he might get eaten alive, because Biden has the foreign policy experience. You see what I'm saying?" Leno said.
"The problem for any of them might be getting a word in edgewise," McCain responded. "I take that back," he added with a laugh.
After dodging questions about picking Democrat Hillary Clinton as his running mate, McCain half-suggested Leno himself might be his pick. But Leno playfully rebuffed him, saying, "I can make more doing a week in Vegas."
And when McCain countered, "The house is nice," Leno rejoined, "But you got enough of those."
While potential first lady Michelle Obama took center stage before Democrats in Denver, McCain told The Tonight Show audience that his wife, Cindy, is on a humanitarian trip to Georgia following the Russian invasion.
And McCain ended his day with another group of celebrities at a Republican fundraiser in Beverly Hills.