ROCHESTER, Mich. (AP) -- Republican John McCain pretended to snarl when asked about his temper Wednesday in Michigan.
"How dare you ask that question!" McCain said, chuckling. His questioner persisted, reading a comment by a fellow Republican, Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, that the idea of McCain as the GOP presidential nominee sent a chill down his spine.
"I'm all too familiar with the quote," said McCain, who has since smoothed things over with his colleague.
McCain, whose temper has earned him the nickname "Senator Hothead" by more than one publication, said he does get angry - about corruption and runaway spending in Washington. "You know something, the American people are angry, too, and they're not going to take it anymore," he said.
If he really had a temper problem, McCain said, he would not have been able to work with fellow senators such as Ted Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat; Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat; and his friend Joe Lieberman, the 2000 Democratic vice presidential nominee who now is an Independent.
"Let me tell you, I've worked across the aisle more than any other senator I know," McCain said.
McCain was on a campaign swing through Michigan, a general election battleground. The Arizona senator delivered a speech about human rights, followed by a town hall-style meeting.
Besides his temper, McCain also talked about the economy in the hard-hit automotive state, repeating his claim during the January primary that some of the state's lost jobs are never coming back. But he held out the promise of new jobs for Michigan.
"Of course the old kinds of doing business is not coming back," McCain said. "But the new innovation and new technology and green technology that will both eliminate our dependence on foreign oil as well as greenhouse gas emissions is right here in the state of Michigan.
"But we've got to retrain and educate workers to take advantage of that opportunity," McCain said.
McCain headed to New York Wednesday afternoon for fundraising and television appearances, including Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart."
Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.