MOUNTAIN VIEW, California (Reuters) - Google Inc. officials suggested on Friday that Sen. John McCain might have a tough time getting a job at the high-flying Internet company, but gave him an unusual platform to discuss his run for the U.S. presidency.
Playing the role of genial talk show host, Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, one of the highest-profile U.S. business leaders, interviewed the Republican candidate in front of several hundred employees.
“I like to think of the presidency as a job interview with the American people ... and it’s hard to get a job at Google,” Schmidt told McCain in a conversation that included questions about his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam and the fighting in Iraq.
Later, one official at the Internet search company who worked in recruiting asked the Arizona senator about his grade point average.
“Everyone you see here in this room is the best of the best. We have some requirements on the GPAs of the candidates. We know that President Bush was a C student at Yale, so do you remember your GPA?” he asked to the amusement of the crowd.
McCain, who has tried to foster a reputation for candid discussion, admitted a less-than-stellar academic record to a crowd that included top graduates of elite universities.
“My GPA earned me 5th from the bottom of my class,” he said. “I can assure you by today’s standards it would be barely passing.”
“Everyone in this room is probably smarter than I am,” McCain said. “I accept that with your gigantic egos that you are the best.”
Google officials say they have invited all of the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates to address workers at their corporate headquarters in Mountain View south of San Francisco. Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York spoke there in March without media present.
Google said it would post the video of McCain’s appearance on its YouTube site.