John McCain's 96-year-old mother is being treated like a hostage at this convention, a prisoner of the campaign wars, paraded around like a prop, but silenced mercilessly, even as she seems to be pleading for help. Last night as I was walking into the hall of the Xcel Center, on the floor of the RNC after getting a floor pass, I spotted Roberta McCain, who has shown more spunk, spontaneity and honesty than her son throughout this entire political process. You'll remember when she said that Republicans will just have to "hold their noses" and vote for her son.
These are some photos of her at the gate to the convention floor at that moment when I saw her, one from behind, another from the side. As I was moving through the gate entrance, secret service directed everyone to one side, as Cindy McCain was going to be coming through to be seated before Roberta. So, I was actually moved to a spot right up alongside Roberta McCain. I introduced myself, and she smiled graciously and seemed eager to speak as I asked her what the week was like for her. But then she spotted one of her handlers coming through, and looked at me sheepishly, and said, "They won't let me be interviewed." Her facial expressed became pained: "They won't let me talk." One of the handlers, a blonde woman with a Sarah Palin hairstyle and glasses (very popular here now), then pulled her away, along with a male secret service guy, and Roberta McCain looked into my eyes, helplessly, pleadingly, and repeated, "They won't let me talk!"
Roberta McCain was then taken up into the viewing area and seated with Cindy McCain, the sole reason of which seemed to be for a photo-op: A reference was made to "John McCain's 96-year-old mother" being here by a speaker on the podium, the cameras panned over, and Roberta smiled. Soon thereafter, as George H.W. and Barbara Bush joined Cindy McCain, Roberta McCain was gone, whisked back away to her undisclosed location.