Sen. McCain surprises Mattress Firm conference
February 20, 2014,
U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., addresses the Mattress Firm BED Talks Leadership Conference just outside Washington, D.C.
For the Mattress Firm group meeting here, the answer was Sen. John McCain, a former presidential candidate and currently the senior senator from Arizona.
McCain, an unannounced addition to the weeklong Mattress Firm Leadership Conference agenda, received a rousing reception when he walked onto the stage of the Gaylord National resort here. And he immediately connected with the hundreds of Mattress Firm employees in the hall with a sleep joke.
After he lost the presidency to Barack Obama in 2008, McCain quipped, he slept like a baby. He slept for two hours and woke up crying.
McCain congratulated the Mattress Firm team on its "enormous success," noting that the company has more than 1,200 stores and has passed the $1 billion mark in sales. He cited Mattress Firm CEO Steve Stagner by name and praised the company for its "professionalism, quality and pride" in growing its business.
Sen. John McCain, left, talks to Mattress Firm CEO Steve Stagner and his wife, Kelly.
McCain is a member of the board of TGen, a research facility in Phoenix that is on the front lines of the fight against pancreatic cancer. One of the leading pancreatic cancer researchers there is Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, who had just concluded his address to the Mattress Firm group when McCain was announced as the next speaker.
McCain thanked the Mattress Firm employees for their support of Von Hoff and for TGen.
Mattress Firm has raised more than $1 million to support the fight against pancreatic cancer. Stagner is a supporter of the Seena Magowitz Golf Classic, which each year raises funds for pancreatic cancer research at TGen. He has encouraged mattress industry leaders to step up their support for the fight against pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest cancers.
The Seena Magowitz Golf Classic was started by Roger Magowitz, who is executive director of the Mattress Firm Foundation. Mattress Firm has long been a supporter of the Seena Magowitz event.
The importance of giving back to the community was one of the themes of the Mattress Firm conference.
In his address to the Mattress Firm audience, McCain touched on key issues facing Congress and the country, including the need for debt reduction and for education and immigration reform.
He admitted that Congress is "in gridlock," and said a spirit of compromise is needed. "You can compromise and not betray your principles," he said.