John McCain, challenged over his choice of vice presidential candidate, his unswerving acceptance of disproven “facts” about his opponent and his weak grasp of economic issues, asserted that at age 72 he’s as sharp as a tack.

McCain denied reports that his thinking is irregular in any way. “These whippersnappers are full of prunes,” he said of critics.  He was responding to public reactions that he was out of touch when he commented that the economy is fundamentally strong, in spite of the collapse of two investment banks and the possible imminent demise of AIG. These events, in addition to a 6.1% unemployment rate have thrown his campaign off message.

His campaign manager, Rick Davis, denied reports that Sarah Palin will accompany McCain to most campaign events because he sometimes forgets where he is. He denied other reports that McCain sometimes addresses Palin as “Cindy.”

In a lighter moment, when a reporter playfully asked McCain, “Boxers or briefs,” McCain replied, “Depends.”