GRUMPY MCCAIN EMERGES IN IOWA….With recent polls showing John McCain struggling in Iowa — a state Bush won four years ago — the Republican nominee swung through the Hawkeye State yesterday, including a lengthy chat with the Des Moines Register, which endorsed McCain before January’s Iowa caucuses.

It didn’t go well.

The videos of the discussion between McCain and the editors are worth watching, because the transcripts alone don’t convey just how angry and sarcastic McCain became when challenged. I wouldn’t go so far as to say McCain completely lost his cool, but we did get a glimpse of Angry McCain, and his temper led to some odd responses. The Register’s editors, for example, noted that McCain has taxpayer-backed health care throughout his life. The senator responded, with a sharp tone:

“You know that’s an interesting statement, isn’t it? And I have never been an astronaut, but I think I know the challenges of space. And I have never done a lot of things in my life that I think I am familiar with.”

I have no idea what this means given the context of the question.

The Register’s editors also noted some of the obviously dishonest ads McCain has run, including the ridiculous and disgusting spot accusing Obama of supporting sex-ed for kindergarteners.

“…I have always had 100 percent, absolute truth and that’s been my life of putting my country first. And I’ll match that record against anyone’s. And I’m proud of it. And an assertion that I’ve ever done otherwise, I take strong exception to.”

McCain has lied a lot this year, but he really doesn’t like it when people bring it up.

McCain was probably most annoyed with the editors asked about Sarah Palin’s readiness for national office. “[W]ith due respect, I strongly disagree with your premise that she doesn’t have experience and knowledge and background,” McCain said, visibly annoyed “I fundamentally disagree and I’m proud of her record.” Sensing he may be pushing the anger envelope a bit, McCain started to launch into another tirade before saying, “I’ll stop there.”

The videos are all online. They’re worth checking out.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.