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Inside Politics

Delegates relish McCain's jab at filmmaker Moore

Moore responds to McCain with the symbolic gesture for "loser."
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Sen. John McCain takes a verbal jab at filmmaker Michael Moore.
John McCain
Michael Moore

NEW YORK (CNN) -- A verbal jab at filmmaker Michael Moore -- as Moore watched from the press gallery -- by Sen. John McCain during his speech to Republican delegates Monday night triggered one of the evening's most boisterous responses. So rousing, in fact, that it prompted McCain to repeat the remark for effect.

McCain did not mention Moore -- whose anti-Bush documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" has angered many Bush supporters -- by name, but his reference was clear.

Referring to President Bush's decision to send troops in Iraq to unseat Saddam Hussein, McCain said the United States had faced a dire choice.

"Our choice wasn't between a benign status quo and the bloodshed of war. It was between war and a graver threat," the Arizona Republican said.

As television cameras focused on Moore in the gallery, McCain continued his prepared remarks: "Don't let anyone tell you otherwise -- not our political opponents, and certainly not a disingenuous filmmaker who would have us believe ..."

Jeers and boos aimed at Moore interrupted McCain as Moore, sporting a red baseball cap, acknowledged the outburst with waves and smiles.

For nearly a minute, the anti-Moore jeering continued and was punctuated by growing chants of "Four more years! Four more years!" All the while, television cameras stayed on Moore, who continued to laugh and wave.

At one point, Moore held up his index finger and thumb in the shape of an "L," the symbolic gesture for "loser."

When the noise died down, McCain deadpanned, "That line was so good, I'll use it again." To another round of cheers and jeers, he continued his reference to a "disingenuous filmmaker who would have us believe that Saddam's Iraq was an oasis of peace when, in fact, it was a place of indescribable cruelty, torture chambers, mass graves, and prisons that destroyed the lives of the small children held inside their walls."

Moore, who is writing a daily column from the convention for USA Today, responded with more laughter and more waves for the crowd.

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