John McCain

John McCain

Overview
John Sidney McCain III (born August 29, 1936) is the senior United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Senator from Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

. He was the Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 nominee for president
Presidential nominee
In United States politics and government, the term presidential nominee has two distinct meanings.The first is the person chosen by the primary voters and caucus-goers of a political party to be the party's nominee for President of the United States...

 in the 2008 United States election.

McCain followed his father
John S. McCain, Jr.
John Sidney "Jack" McCain Jr. was a United States Navy admiral, who served in conflicts from the 1940s through the 1970s, including as the Commander, United States Pacific Command....

 and grandfather
John S. McCain, Sr.
John Sidney "Slew" McCain Sr. was a U.S. Navy admiral. He held several command assignments during the Pacific campaign of World War II....

, both four-star admirals
Admiral (United States)
In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, admiral is a four-star flag officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. Admiral ranks above vice admiral and below Fleet Admiral in the Navy; the Coast Guard and the Public Health...

, into the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

, graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in Annapolis, Maryland, United States...

 in 1958. He became a naval aviator
Naval Aviator
A United States Naval Aviator is a qualified pilot in the United States Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard.-Naming Conventions:Most Naval Aviators are Unrestricted Line Officers; however, a small number of Limited Duty Officers and Chief Warrant Officers are also trained as Naval Aviators.Until 1981...

, flying ground-attack aircraft from aircraft carriers. During the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, he was almost killed in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire
1967 USS Forrestal fire
The 1967 USS Forrestal fire was a devastating fire and series of chain-reaction explosions on 29 July 1967 that killed 134 sailors and injured 161 on the aircraft carrier , after an unusual electrical anomaly discharged a Zuni rocket on the flight deck...

. In October 1967, while on a bombing mission over Hanoi
Hanoi
Hanoi , is the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts, 6.5 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam...

, he was shot down, seriously injured, and captured by the North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

ese.
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GOP fund-raiser, Washington D.C., June 1998
Encyclopedia
John Sidney McCain III (born August 29, 1936) is the senior United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 Senator from Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

. He was the Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 nominee for president
Presidential nominee
In United States politics and government, the term presidential nominee has two distinct meanings.The first is the person chosen by the primary voters and caucus-goers of a political party to be the party's nominee for President of the United States...

 in the 2008 United States election.

McCain followed his father
John S. McCain, Jr.
John Sidney "Jack" McCain Jr. was a United States Navy admiral, who served in conflicts from the 1940s through the 1970s, including as the Commander, United States Pacific Command....

 and grandfather
John S. McCain, Sr.
John Sidney "Slew" McCain Sr. was a U.S. Navy admiral. He held several command assignments during the Pacific campaign of World War II....

, both four-star admirals
Admiral (United States)
In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, admiral is a four-star flag officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. Admiral ranks above vice admiral and below Fleet Admiral in the Navy; the Coast Guard and the Public Health...

, into the United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

, graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in Annapolis, Maryland, United States...

 in 1958. He became a naval aviator
Naval Aviator
A United States Naval Aviator is a qualified pilot in the United States Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard.-Naming Conventions:Most Naval Aviators are Unrestricted Line Officers; however, a small number of Limited Duty Officers and Chief Warrant Officers are also trained as Naval Aviators.Until 1981...

, flying ground-attack aircraft from aircraft carriers. During the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, he was almost killed in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire
1967 USS Forrestal fire
The 1967 USS Forrestal fire was a devastating fire and series of chain-reaction explosions on 29 July 1967 that killed 134 sailors and injured 161 on the aircraft carrier , after an unusual electrical anomaly discharged a Zuni rocket on the flight deck...

. In October 1967, while on a bombing mission over Hanoi
Hanoi
Hanoi , is the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts, 6.5 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam...

, he was shot down, seriously injured, and captured by the North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

ese. He was a prisoner of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 until 1973. McCain experienced episodes of torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

, and refused an out-of-sequence early repatriation
Repatriation
Repatriation is the process of returning a person back to one's place of origin or citizenship. This includes the process of returning refugees or soldiers to their place of origin following a war...

 offer. His war wounds left him with lifelong physical limitations.

He retired from the Navy as a captain in 1981 and moved to Arizona, where he entered politics. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982, he served two terms, and was then elected to the U.S. Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 in 1986, winning re-election easily four times, most recently in 2010. While generally adhering to conservative principles, McCain at times has had a media reputation as a "maverick" for his willingness to disagree with his party on certain issues. After being investigated and largely exonerated in a political influence scandal of the 1980s as a member of the Keating Five
Keating Five
The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The five senators – Alan Cranston , Dennis DeConcini, John Glenn , John McCain , and Donald W. Riegle,...

, he made campaign finance reform
Campaign finance reform
Campaign finance reform is the common term for the political effort in the United States to change the involvement of money in politics, primarily in political campaigns....

 one of his signature concerns, which eventually led to the passage of the McCain-Feingold Act in 2002. He is also known for his work towards restoring diplomatic relations with Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 in the 1990s, and for his belief that the war in Iraq should be fought to a successful conclusion. McCain has chaired the Senate Commerce Committee
United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
The United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is a standing committee of the United States Senate in charge of all senate matters related to the following subjects:* Coast Guard* Coastal zone management* Communications...

, opposed spending that he considered to be pork barrel
Pork barrel
Pork barrel is a derogatory term referring to appropriation of government spending for localized projects secured solely or primarily to bring money to a representative's district...

, and played a key role in alleviating a crisis over judicial nominations
Gang of 14
The Gang of 14 was a term coined to describe the bipartisan group of Senators in the 109th United States Congress who successfully negotiated a compromise in the spring of 2005 to avoid the deployment of the so-called nuclear option over an organized use of the filibuster by Senate...

.

McCain ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000
United States presidential election, 2000
The United States presidential election of 2000 was a contest between Republican candidate George W. Bush, then-governor of Texas and son of former president George H. W. Bush , and Democratic candidate Al Gore, then-Vice President....

 but lost a heated primary season contest
Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2000
The 2000 Republican presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Republican Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 2000 U.S. presidential election. Governor of Texas George W...

 to George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

. He secured the nomination in 2008
United States presidential election, 2008
The United States presidential election of 2008 was the 56th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on November 4, 2008. Democrat Barack Obama, then the junior United States Senator from Illinois, defeated Republican John McCain, the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona. Obama received 365...

 after coming back from early reversals, but lost to Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 candidate Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 in the general election. He subsequently adopted more orthodox conservative stances and attitudes and largely opposed actions of the Obama administration.

Early life and military career, 1936–1981



Formative years and education


John McCain was born on August 29, 1936 at Coco Solo
Coco Solo
Coco Solo was a United States Navy submarine base established in 1918 on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Panama Canal Zone, near Colón, Panama....

 Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone
Panama Canal Zone
The Panama Canal Zone was a unorganized U.S. territory located within the Republic of Panama, consisting of the Panama Canal and an area generally extending 5 miles on each side of the centerline, but excluding Panama City and Colón, which otherwise would have been partly within the limits of...

, to naval officer John S. McCain, Jr.
John S. McCain, Jr.
John Sidney "Jack" McCain Jr. was a United States Navy admiral, who served in conflicts from the 1940s through the 1970s, including as the Commander, United States Pacific Command....

 (1911–1981) and Roberta (Wright) McCain
Roberta McCain
Roberta Wright McCain is the widow of Admiral John S. McCain, Jr. and mother of the Republican Arizona Senator and two-time Presidential candidate John S. McCain III.-Background:...

 (b. 1912). At that time, the Panama Canal
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

 was under U.S. control.

McCain's family tree includes Scots-Irish
Scots-Irish American
Scotch-Irish Americans are an estimated 250,000 Presbyterian and other Protestant dissenters from the Irish province of Ulster who immigrated to North America primarily during the colonial era and their descendants. Some scholars also include the 150,000 Ulster Protestants who immigrated to...

 and English
English American
English Americans are citizens or residents of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England....

 ancestors. His father and his paternal grandfather, John S. McCain, Sr.
John S. McCain, Sr.
John Sidney "Slew" McCain Sr. was a U.S. Navy admiral. He held several command assignments during the Pacific campaign of World War II....

, both became four-star United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 admirals
Admiral (United States)
In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, admiral is a four-star flag officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. Admiral ranks above vice admiral and below Fleet Admiral in the Navy; the Coast Guard and the Public Health...

. His family, including his older sister Sandy and younger brother Joe
Joe McCain
Joseph Pinckney "Joe" McCain II is a stage actor, newspaper reporter, and brother of U.S. Senator and two-time presidential candidate John McCain.-Early life and education:...

, followed his father to various naval postings in the United States and the Pacific. Altogether, he attended about 20 schools.

In 1951, the family settled in Northern Virginia
Northern Virginia
Northern Virginia consists of several counties and independent cities in the Commonwealth of Virginia, in a widespread region generally radiating southerly and westward from Washington, D.C...

, and McCain attended Episcopal High School, a private preparatory boarding school in Alexandria
Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2009, the city had a total population of 139,966. Located along the Western bank of the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately six miles south of downtown Washington, D.C.Like the rest of northern Virginia, as well as...

. He excelled at wrestling
Scholastic wrestling
Scholastic wrestling, sometimes known in the United States as Folkstyle wrestling, is a style of amateur wrestling practised at the high school and middle school levels in the United States. This wrestling style is essentially Collegiate wrestling with some slight modifications. It is currently...

 and graduated in 1954.

Following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, McCain entered the United States Naval Academy
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in Annapolis, Maryland, United States...

 at Annapolis. There, he was a friend and informal leader for many of his classmates, and sometimes stood up for targets of bullying. He also became a lightweight boxer
Boxing
Boxing, also called pugilism, is a combat sport in which two people fight each other using their fists. Boxing is supervised by a referee over a series of between one to three minute intervals called rounds...

. McCain came into conflict with higher-ranking personnel, and he did not always obey the rules, which contributed to a low class rank (894 of 899), despite a high IQ
Intelligence quotient
An intelligence quotient, or IQ, is a score derived from one of several different standardized tests designed to assess intelligence. When modern IQ tests are constructed, the mean score within an age group is set to 100 and the standard deviation to 15...

. He did well in academic subjects that interested him, such as literature and history, but studied only enough to pass subjects he struggled with, such as mathematics. McCain graduated in 1958.

Naval training, first marriage, and Vietnam assignment


John McCain's early military career began when he was commissioned an ensign and started two and a half years of training at Pensacola
Pensacola, Florida
Pensacola is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle and the county seat of Escambia County, Florida, United States of America. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 56,255 and as of 2009, the estimated population was 53,752...

 to become a naval aviator. While there, he earned a reputation as a partying man. He completed flight school in 1960, and became a naval pilot of ground-attack aircraft, assigned to A-1 Skyraider
A-1 Skyraider
The Douglas A-1 Skyraider was an American single-seat attack aircraft that saw service between the late 1940s and early 1980s. It became a piston-powered, propeller-driven anachronism in the jet age, and was nicknamed "Spad", after a French World War I fighter...

 squadrons aboard the aircraft carrier
Aircraft carrier
An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations...

s USS Intrepid
USS Intrepid (CV-11)
USS Intrepid , also known as The Fighting "I", is one of 24 s built during World War II for the United States Navy. She is the fourth US Navy ship to bear the name. Commissioned in August 1943, Intrepid participated in several campaigns in the Pacific Theater of Operations, most notably the Battle...

 and USS Enterprise
USS Enterprise (CVN-65)
USS Enterprise , formerly CVA-65, is the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the eighth US naval vessel to bear the name. Like her predecessor of World War II fame, she is nicknamed the "Big E". At , she is the longest naval vessel in the world...

 in the Caribbean
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

 and Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

s. McCain began as a sub-par flier who was at times careless and reckless; during the early-to-mid 1960s, the planes he was flying crashed twice and once collided with power lines, but he received no major injuries. His aviation skills improved over time, and he was seen as a good pilot, albeit one who tended to "push the envelope
Flight envelope
In aerodynamics, the flight envelope or performance envelope of an aircraft refers to the capabilities of a design in terms of airspeed and load factor or altitude. The term is somewhat loosely applied, and can also refer to other measurements such as maneuverability...

" in his flying.

On July 3, 1965, McCain married Carol Shepp
Carol McCain
Carol Shepp McCain is a former model, director of the White House Visitors Office, and event planner. She was the first wife of United States Senator and two-time presidential candidate John McCain.-Early life and first marriage:...

, a model
Model (person)
A model , sometimes called a mannequin, is a person who is employed to display, advertise and promote commercial products or to serve as a subject of works of art....

 originally from Philadelphia. McCain adopted her two young children Douglas and Andrew. He and Carol then had a daughter named Sidney.

McCain requested a combat assignment, and was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal
USS Forrestal (CVA-59)
The USS Forrestal , formerly AVT-59 and CVA-59, is a supercarrier that was named after former Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal and was the lead ship of her class of aircraft carriers. The other carriers of her class were the , and...

 flying A-4 Skyhawk
A-4 Skyhawk
The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a carrier-capable ground-attack aircraft designed for the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The delta winged, single-engined Skyhawk was designed and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company, and later McDonnell Douglas. It was originally designated the A4D...

s. His combat duty began when he was 30 years old, in mid-1967, when Forrestal was assigned to a bombing campaign, Operation Rolling Thunder
Operation Rolling Thunder
Operation Rolling Thunder was the title of a gradual and sustained US 2nd Air Division , US Navy, and Republic of Vietnam Air Force aerial bombardment campaign conducted against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam from 2 March 1965 until 1 November 1968, during the Vietnam War.The four objectives...

, during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. McCain and his fellow pilots became frustrated by micromanagement from Washington, and he would later write that "In all candor, we thought our civilian commanders were complete idiots who didn't have the least notion of what it took to win the war."

On July 29, 1967, McCain, by then a lieutenant commander
Lieutenant commander (United States)
Lieutenant commander is a mid-ranking officer rank in the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, with the pay grade of O-4 and NATO rank code OF-3...

, was near the center of the Forrestal fire
1967 USS Forrestal fire
The 1967 USS Forrestal fire was a devastating fire and series of chain-reaction explosions on 29 July 1967 that killed 134 sailors and injured 161 on the aircraft carrier , after an unusual electrical anomaly discharged a Zuni rocket on the flight deck...

. He escaped from his burning jet and was trying to help another pilot escape when a bomb exploded; McCain was struck in the legs and chest by fragments. The ensuing fire killed 134 sailors and took 24 hours to control. With the Forrestal out of commission, McCain volunteered for assignment with the USS Oriskany
USS Oriskany (CV-34)
USS Oriskany – nicknamed Mighty O, The O-boat, and Toasted O – was one of 24 s completed during or shortly after World War II for the United States Navy. The ship was the third US Navy ship to bear the name, and was named for the Revolutionary War Battle of Oriskany.The history of...

, another aircraft carrier
Aircraft carrier
An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations...

 employed in Operation Rolling Thunder
Operation Rolling Thunder
Operation Rolling Thunder was the title of a gradual and sustained US 2nd Air Division , US Navy, and Republic of Vietnam Air Force aerial bombardment campaign conducted against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam from 2 March 1965 until 1 November 1968, during the Vietnam War.The four objectives...

. Once there, he would be awarded the Navy Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star
Bronze Star Medal
The Bronze Star Medal is a United States Armed Forces individual military decoration that may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. As a medal it is awarded for merit, and with the "V" for valor device it is awarded for heroism. It is the fourth-highest combat award of the...

 for missions flown over North Vietnam.

Prisoner of war


John McCain's capture and subsequent imprisonment began on October 26, 1967. He was flying his 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam
North Vietnam
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam , was a communist state that ruled the northern half of Vietnam from 1954 until 1976 following the Geneva Conference and laid claim to all of Vietnam from 1945 to 1954 during the First Indochina War, during which they controlled pockets of territory throughout...

 when his A-4E Skyhawk was shot down by a missile over Hanoi
Hanoi
Hanoi , is the capital of Vietnam and the country's second largest city. Its population in 2009 was estimated at 2.6 million for urban districts, 6.5 million for the metropolitan jurisdiction. From 1010 until 1802, it was the most important political centre of Vietnam...

. McCain fractured both arms and a leg ejecting from the aircraft, and nearly drowned when he parachuted into Truc Bach Lake. Some North Vietnamese pulled him ashore, then others crushed his shoulder with a rifle butt and bayoneted him. McCain was then transported to Hanoi's main Hoa Lo Prison, nicknamed the "Hanoi Hilton".

Although McCain was badly wounded, his captors refused to treat his injuries, beating and interrogating him to get information; he was given medical care only when the North Vietnamese discovered that his father was a top admiral. His status as a prisoner of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 (POW) made the front pages of major newspapers.

McCain spent six weeks in the hospital while receiving marginal care. By then having lost 50 pounds (23 kg), in a chest cast, and with his hair turned white, McCain was sent to a different camp on the outskirts of Hanoi in December 1967, into a cell with two other Americans who did not expect him to live a week. In March 1968, McCain was put into solitary confinement
Solitary confinement
Solitary confinement is a special form of imprisonment in which a prisoner is isolated from any human contact, though often with the exception of members of prison staff. It is sometimes employed as a form of punishment beyond incarceration for a prisoner, and has been cited as an additional...

, where he would remain for two years.

In mid-1968, John S. McCain, Jr.
John S. McCain, Jr.
John Sidney "Jack" McCain Jr. was a United States Navy admiral, who served in conflicts from the 1940s through the 1970s, including as the Commander, United States Pacific Command....

 was named commander of all U.S. forces in the Vietnam theater, and the North Vietnamese offered McCain early release because they wanted to appear merciful for propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 purposes, and also to show other POWs that elite prisoners were willing to be treated preferentially. McCain turned down the offer; he would only accept repatriation if every man taken in before him was released as well. Such early release was prohibited by the POW's interpretation of the military Code of Conduct: To prevent the enemy from using prisoners for propaganda, officers were to agree to be released in the order in which they were captured.

In August 1968, a program of severe torture began on McCain. He was subjected to rope bindings and repeated beatings every two hours, at the same time as he was suffering from dysentery
Dysentery
Dysentery is an inflammatory disorder of the intestine, especially of the colon, that results in severe diarrhea containing mucus and/or blood in the faeces with fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, dysentery can be fatal.There are differences between dysentery and normal bloody diarrhoea...

. Further injuries led to the beginning of a suicide attempt, stopped by guards. After four days, McCain made an anti-American propaganda "confession". He has always felt that his statement was dishonorable, but as he later wrote, "I had learned what we all learned over there: Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine." Many American POWs were tortured and maltreated in order to extract "confessions" and propaganda statements, with many enduring even longer and worse treatment; virtually all of them eventually yielded something to their captors. McCain subsequently received two to three beatings weekly because of his continued refusal to sign additional statements.

McCain refused to meet with various anti-war groups seeking peace in Hanoi, wanting to give neither them nor the North Vietnamese a propaganda victory. From late 1969 onward, treatment of McCain and many of the other POWs became more tolerable, while McCain continued actively to resist the camp authorities. McCain and other prisoners cheered the U.S. "Christmas Bombing" campaign
Operation Linebacker II
Operation Linebacker II was a US Seventh Air Force and US Navy Task Force 77 aerial bombing campaign, conducted against targets in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam during the final period of US involvement in the Vietnam War...

 of December 1972, viewing it as a forceful measure to push North Vietnam to terms.

Altogether, McCain was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for five and a half years. He was released on March 14, 1973. His wartime injuries left him permanently incapable of raising his arms above his head.

Commanding officer, liaison to Senate, and second marriage


McCain's return to the United States reunited him with his family. His wife Carol
Carol McCain
Carol Shepp McCain is a former model, director of the White House Visitors Office, and event planner. She was the first wife of United States Senator and two-time presidential candidate John McCain.-Early life and first marriage:...

 had suffered her own crippling ordeal due to an automobile accident in December 1969. McCain became a celebrity of sorts, as a returned POW.

McCain underwent treatment for his injuries, including months of grueling physical therapy
Physical therapy
Physical therapy , often abbreviated PT, is a health care profession. Physical therapy is concerned with identifying and maximizing quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, diagnosis, treatment/intervention,and rehabilitation...

, and attended the National War College
National War College
The National War College of the United States is a school in the National Defense University. It is housed in Roosevelt Hall on Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., the third-oldest Army post still active. It was officially established on July 1, 1946, as an upgraded replacement for the...

 at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 during 1973–1974. Having been rehabilitated, by late 1974, McCain had his flight status reinstated, and in 1976 he became commanding officer
Commanding officer
The commanding officer is the officer in command of a military unit. Typically, the commanding officer has ultimate authority over the unit, and is usually given wide latitude to run the unit as he sees fit, within the bounds of military law...

 of a training squadron stationed in Florida. He improved the unit's flight readiness and safety records, and won the squadron its first-ever Meritorious Unit Commendation
Meritorious Unit Commendation
The Meritorious Unit Commendation is a mid-level unit award of the United States military which is awarded to any military command which displays exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service, heroic deeds, or valorous actions....

. During this period in Florida, McCain had extramarital affairs, and the McCains' marriage began to falter, for which he later would accept blame.

McCain served as the Navy's liaison to the U.S. Senate beginning in 1977. In retrospect, he has said that this represented his "real entry into the world of politics and the beginning of my second career as a public servant." His key behind-the-scenes role gained congressional financing for a new supercarrier
Supercarrier
Supercarrier is an unofficial descriptive term for the largest type of aircraft carrier, usually displacing over 70,000 long tons.Supercarrier is an unofficial descriptive term for the largest type of aircraft carrier, usually displacing over 70,000 long tons.Supercarrier is an unofficial...

 against the wishes of the Carter administration.

In April 1979, McCain met Cindy Lou Hensley, a teacher from Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

, whose father
Jim Hensley
James Willis "Jim" Hensley was an American businessman in the beer industry.Hensley was born in Texas and moved to Arizona during his youth. He was a bombardier on B-17 Flying Fortresses during World War II and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross...

 had founded a large beer distributorship
Hensley & Co.
Hensley & Co., also known as Hensley Beverage Company, is an Anheuser-Busch beer wholesaler and distributor headquartered in the West Phoenix area of Phoenix, Arizona. It markets to the Phoenix, Tempe, and Prescott Valley areas. It is the third-largest Anheuser-Busch distributor in the United...

. They began dating, and he urged his wife Carol to grant him a divorce, which she did in February 1980, with the uncontested divorce taking effect in April 1980. The settlement included two houses, and financial support for her ongoing medical treatments due to her 1969 car accident; they would remain on good terms. McCain and Hensley were married on May 17, 1980, with Senators William Cohen
William Cohen
William Sebastian Cohen is an author and American politician from the U.S. state of Maine. A Republican, Cohen served as Secretary of Defense under Democratic President Bill Clinton.-Early life and education:...

 and Gary Hart
Gary Hart
Gary Hart is an American politician, lawyer, author, professor and commentator. He served as a Democratic Senator representing Colorado , and ran in the U.S...

 attending as groomsmen. McCain’s children did not attend, and several years would pass before they reconciled. John and Cindy McCain entered into a prenuptial agreement
Prenuptial agreement
A prenuptial agreement, antenuptial agreement, or premarital agreement, commonly abbreviated to prenup or prenupt, is a contract entered into prior to marriage, civil union or any other agreement prior to the main agreement by the people intending to marry or contract with each other...

 that kept most of her family's assets under her name; they would always keep their finances apart and file separate income tax returns
Tax return (United States)
Tax returns in the United States are reports filed with the Internal Revenue Service or with the state or local tax collection agency containing information used to calculate income tax or other taxes...

.

McCain decided to leave the Navy. It was doubtful whether he would ever be promoted to the rank of full admiral
Admiral (United States)
In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, admiral is a four-star flag officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. Admiral ranks above vice admiral and below Fleet Admiral in the Navy; the Coast Guard and the Public Health...

, as he had poor annual physicals and had been given no major sea command. His chances of being promoted to rear admiral were better, but McCain declined that prospect, as he had already made plans to run for Congress and said he could "do more good there." McCain retired from the Navy on April 1, 1981 as a captain. He was designated as disabled and awarded a disability pension
Veteran's pension
A veteran's pension is a pension for veterans of the United States Armed Forces, who served in the military but did not qualify for a retirement pension from the Armed Forces. It was established by the United States Congress and given to veterans who meet the eligibility requirements...

. Upon leaving the military, he moved to Arizona. His 17 military awards and decorations include the Silver Star
Silver Star
The Silver Star is the third-highest combat military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the United States armed forces for valor in the face of the enemy....

, Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit
The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements...

, Distinguished Flying Cross
Distinguished Flying Cross (United States)
The Distinguished Flying Cross is a medal awarded to any officer or enlisted member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself or herself in support of operations by "heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight, subsequent to November 11, 1918." The...

, Bronze Star
Bronze Star Medal
The Bronze Star Medal is a United States Armed Forces individual military decoration that may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. As a medal it is awarded for merit, and with the "V" for valor device it is awarded for heroism. It is the fourth-highest combat award of the...

 and Navy Commendation Medal, for actions before, during, and after his time as a POW.

House and Senate elections and career, 1982–2000


U.S. Congressman


McCain set his sights on becoming a Congressman because he was interested in current events, was ready for a new challenge, and had developed political ambitions during his time as Senate liaison. Living in Phoenix, he went to work for Hensley & Co.
Hensley & Co.
Hensley & Co., also known as Hensley Beverage Company, is an Anheuser-Busch beer wholesaler and distributor headquartered in the West Phoenix area of Phoenix, Arizona. It markets to the Phoenix, Tempe, and Prescott Valley areas. It is the third-largest Anheuser-Busch distributor in the United...

, his new father-in-law Jim Hensley
Jim Hensley
James Willis "Jim" Hensley was an American businessman in the beer industry.Hensley was born in Texas and moved to Arizona during his youth. He was a bombardier on B-17 Flying Fortresses during World War II and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross...

's large Anheuser-Busch
Anheuser-Busch
Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. , is an American brewing company. The company operates 12 breweries in the United States and 18 in other countries. It was, until December 2009, also one of America's largest theme park operators; operating ten theme parks across the United States through the...

 beer distributorship. As Vice President of Public Relations at the distributorship, he gained political support among the local business community, meeting powerful figures such as banker Charles Keating, Jr., real estate developer Fife Symington III
Fife Symington III
John Fife Symington III is an American businessman and the former Governor of the U.S. state of Arizona from 1991 until his resignation in 1997.-Background:...

 and newspaper publisher Darrow "Duke" Tully. In 1982, McCain ran as a Republican for an open seat in Arizona's 1st congressional district
Arizona's 1st congressional district
Arizona's 1st congressional district is a congressional district located in the U.S. state of Arizona. Geographically, it is the tenth largest congressional district in the country and includes much of the state outside the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas.It is currently represented by...

. A newcomer to the state, McCain was hit with charges of being a carpetbagger
Carpetbagger
Carpetbaggers was a pejorative term Southerners gave to Northerners who moved to the South during the Reconstruction era, between 1865 and 1877....

. McCain responded to a voter making that charge with what a Phoenix Gazette
Phoenix Gazette
The Phoenix Gazette was a newspaper published in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. It was founded in 1881, and was known in its early years as the Phoenix Evening Gazette....

columnist would later describe as "the most devastating response to a potentially troublesome political issue I've ever heard":
With the assistance of local political endorsements, his Washington connections, as well as money that his wife lent to his campaign, McCain won a highly contested primary election. He then easily won the general election in the heavily Republican district.

In 1983, McCain was elected to lead the incoming group of Republican representatives, and was assigned to the House Committee on Interior Affairs. Also that year, he opposed creation of a federal Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, but admitted in 2008: "I was wrong and eventually realized that, in time to give full support [in 1990] for a state holiday in Arizona."

McCain's politics at this point were mainly in line with President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

, including support for Reaganomics
Reaganomics
Reaganomics refers to the economic policies promoted by the U.S. President Ronald Reagan during the 1980s, also known as supply-side economics and called trickle-down economics, particularly by critics...

, and he was active on Indian Affairs bills. He supported most aspects of the foreign policy of the Reagan administration
Foreign policy of the Reagan administration
The foreign policy of the Ronald Reagan administration was the foreign policy of the United States from 1981 to 1989. It was characterized by a strategy of "peace through strength" followed by a warming of relations with the Soviet Union, and resulting in an end to the Cold War when Mikhail...

, including its hardline stance against the Soviet Union and policy towards Central American conflicts, such as backing the Contras
Contras
The contras is a label given to the various rebel groups opposing Nicaragua's FSLN Sandinista Junta of National Reconstruction government following the July 1979 overthrow of Anastasio Somoza Debayle's dictatorship...

 in Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

. McCain opposed keeping U.S. Marines deployed in Lebanon
Multinational Force in Lebanon
The Multinational Force in Lebanon was an international peacekeeping force created in 1982 and sent to Lebanon to oversee the withdrawal of the Palestine Liberation Organization...

 citing unattainable objectives, and subsequently criticized President Reagan for pulling out the troops too late; in the interim, the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing
1983 Beirut barracks bombing
The Beirut Barracks Bombing occurred during the Lebanese Civil War, when two truck bombs struck separate buildings housing United States and French military forces—members of the Multinational Force in Lebanon—killing 299 American and French servicemen...

 killed hundreds. McCain won re-election to the House easily in 1984, and gained a spot on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. In 1985, he made his first return trip to Vietnam, and also traveled to Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

 where he met with its military junta
Government Junta of Chile (1973)
Government Junta of Chile was the military junta established to rule Chile during the military dictatorship that followed the overthrow of President Salvador Allende in the 1973 Chilean coup d'état. It was the executive and legislative branch of government until December 17, 1974...

 ruler, General Augusto Pinochet
Augusto Pinochet
Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, more commonly known as Augusto Pinochet , was a Chilean army general and dictator who assumed power in a coup d'état on 11 September 1973...

.

Growing family


In 1984, McCain and Cindy had their first child together, daughter Meghan
Meghan McCain
Meghan Marguerite McCain is an American columnist, author, and blogger. She is a daughter of U.S. Senator John McCain and Cindy Hensley McCain. McCain first received media attention in 2007 for her blog, McCain Blogette, on which she documented life on the campaign trail and mused about...

, followed two years later by son John Sidney (Jack) IV, and in 1988 by son James (Jimmy). In 1991, Cindy McCain brought an abandoned three-month old girl needing medical treatment to the U.S. from a Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

i orphanage run by Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa , born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu , was a Roman Catholic nun of Albanian ethnicity and Indian citizenship, who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India, in 1950...

. The McCains decided to adopt her and named her Bridget.

First two terms in U.S. Senate


McCain's Senate career began in January 1987, after he defeated his Democratic opponent, former state legislator Richard Kimball
Richard Kimball
Richard Kimball is an American politician, and president of the nonprofit organization Project Vote Smart.-Biography:In 1986, after serving in the Arizona Legislature and the state's Corporation Commission, Kimball ran as a Democrat against John McCain for the U.S...

, by 20 percentage points in the 1986 election. McCain succeeded longtime American conservative icon and Arizona fixture Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater
Barry Morris Goldwater was a five-term United States Senator from Arizona and the Republican Party's nominee for President in the 1964 election. An articulate and charismatic figure during the first half of the 1960s, he was known as "Mr...

 upon the latter's retirement as United States Senator from Arizona.


Senator McCain became a member of the Armed Services Committee
United States Senate Committee on Armed Services
The Committee on Armed Services is a committee of the United States Senate empowered with legislative oversight of the nation's military, including the Department of Defense, military research and development, nuclear energy , benefits for members of the military, the Selective Service System and...

, with which he had formerly done his Navy liaison work; he also joined the Commerce Committee
United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
The United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation is a standing committee of the United States Senate in charge of all senate matters related to the following subjects:* Coast Guard* Coastal zone management* Communications...

 and the Indian Affairs Committee
United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs
The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs is a committee of the United States Senate charged with oversight in matters related to the American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native peoples. A Committee on Indian Affairs existed from 1820 to 1947, after which it was folded into the Committee on...

. McCain continued to support the Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 agenda. As first a House member and then a senator – and as a life-long gambler with close ties to the gambling
Gambling
Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

 industry – McCain was one of the main authors of the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is a 1988 United States federal law that establishes the jurisdictional framework that governs Indian gaming. There was no federal gaming structure before this act...

, which codified rules regarding Native American gambling enterprises
Native American gambling enterprises
Native American gaming enterprises are gaming businesses operated on Indian reservations or tribal land in the United States. Indian tribes have limited sovereignty over these businesses and therefore are granted the ability to establish gambling enterprises outside of direct state...

. McCain was also a strong supporter of the Gramm-Rudman legislation that enforced automatic spending cuts in the case of budget deficits.

McCain soon gained national visibility. He delivered a well-received speech at the 1988 Republican National Convention
1988 Republican National Convention
The 1988 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States was held in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana from August 15 to August 18, 1988. It was the second time that a major party held its conclave in one of the five states known as the Deep South, coming on the...

, was mentioned by the press as a short list
Short list
A short list or shortlist is a list of candidates for a job, prize, award, political position, etc., that has been reduced from a longer list of candidates . The length of short lists varies according to the context.-U.S...

 vice-presidential running mate for Republican nominee George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

, and was named chairman of Veterans for Bush.

McCain became enmeshed in a scandal during the 1980s as one of five United States Senators comprising the so-called Keating Five
Keating Five
The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980s and early 1990s. The five senators – Alan Cranston , Dennis DeConcini, John Glenn , John McCain , and Donald W. Riegle,...

. Between 1982 and 1987, McCain had received $112,000 in lawful political contributions from Charles Keating Jr. and his associates at Lincoln Savings and Loan Association
Lincoln Savings and Loan Association
The Lincoln Savings and Loan Association of Irvine, California was the financial institution at the heart of the Keating Five scandal during the 1980s Savings and Loan crisis....

, along with trips on Keating's jets that McCain belatedly repaid in 1989. In 1987, McCain was one of the five senators whom Keating contacted in order to prevent the government's seizure of Lincoln, and McCain met twice with federal regulators to discuss the government's investigation of Lincoln. In 1999, McCain said: "The appearance of it was wrong. It's a wrong appearance when a group of senators appear in a meeting with a group of regulators, because it conveys the impression of undue and improper influence. And it was the wrong thing to do." In the end, McCain was cleared by the Senate Ethics Committee of acting improperly or violating any law or Senate rule, but was mildly rebuked for exercising "poor judgment". In his 1992 re-election bid, the Keating Five affair was not a major issue, and he won handily, gaining 56 percent of the vote to defeat Democratic community and civil rights
Civil rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.Civil rights include...

 activist Claire Sargent and independent former Governor Evan Mecham
Evan Mecham
Evan Mecham was the 17th Governor of Arizona. A decorated veteran of World War II, Mecham earned his living as an automotive dealership owner and occasional newspaper publisher...

.


McCain developed a reputation for independence during the 1990s. He took pride in challenging party leadership and establishment forces, becoming difficult to categorize politically.

As a member of the 1991–1993 Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, chaired by Democrat and fellow Vietnam War veteran John Kerry
John Kerry
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

, McCain investigated the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue
Vietnam War POW/MIA issue
The Vietnam War POW/MIA issue concerns the fate of United States servicemen who were reported as missing in action during the Vietnam War and associated theaters of operation in Southeast Asia...

, to determine the fate of U.S. service personnel listed as missing in action
Missing in action
Missing in action is a casualty Category assigned under the Status of Missing to armed services personnel who are reported missing during active service. They may have been killed, wounded, become a prisoner of war, or deserted. If deceased, neither their remains nor grave can be positively...

 during the Vietnam War. The committee's unanimous report stated there was "no compelling evidence that proves that any American remains alive in captivity in Southeast Asia." Helped by McCain's efforts, in 1995 the U.S. normalized diplomatic relations with Vietnam. McCain was vilified by some POW/MIA activists who, unlike the Arizona senator, believed large numbers of Americans were still held against their will in Southeast Asia. Since January 1993, McCain has been Chairman of the International Republican Institute
International Republican Institute
Founded in 1983, the International Republican Institute is an organization, funded by the United States government, that conducts international political programs, sometimes labeled 'democratization programs'....

, an organization partly funded by the U.S. Government that supports the emergence of political democracy
Democracy
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

 worldwide.

In 1993 and 1994, McCain voted to confirm President Clinton's nominees Stephen Breyer
Stephen Breyer
Stephen Gerald Breyer is an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1994, and known for his pragmatic approach to constitutional law, Breyer is generally associated with the more liberal side of the Court....

 and Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Ginsburg was appointed by President Bill Clinton and took the oath of office on August 10, 1993. She is the second female justice and the first Jewish female justice.She is generally viewed as belonging to...

 whom he considered to be qualified for the U.S. Supreme Court. He would later explain that "under our Constitution, it is the president's call to make." McCain had also voted to confirm nominees of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, including Robert Bork
Robert Bork
Robert Heron Bork is an American legal scholar who has advocated the judicial philosophy of originalism. Bork formerly served as Solicitor General, Acting Attorney General, and judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit...

 and Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Succeeding Thurgood Marshall, Thomas is the second African American to serve on the Court....

.

McCain attacked what he saw as the corrupting influence of large political contributions – from corporations, labor unions, other organizations, and wealthy individuals – and he made this his signature issue. Starting in 1994, he worked with Democratic Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold
Russ Feingold
Russell Dana "Russ" Feingold is an American politician from the U.S. state of Wisconsin. He served as a Democratic party member of the U.S. Senate from 1993 to 2011. From 1983 to 1993, Feingold was a Wisconsin State Senator representing the 27th District.He is a recipient of the John F...

 on campaign finance reform
Campaign finance reform
Campaign finance reform is the common term for the political effort in the United States to change the involvement of money in politics, primarily in political campaigns....

; their McCain-Feingold bill attempted to put limits on "soft money". The efforts of McCain and Feingold were opposed by some of the moneyed interests targeted, by incumbents in both parties, by those who felt spending limits impinged on free political speech and might be unconstitutional as well, and by those who wanted to counterbalance the power of what they saw as media bias
Media bias
Media bias refers to the bias of journalists and news producers within the mass media in the selection of events and stories that are reported and how they are covered. The term "media bias" implies a pervasive or widespread bias contravening the standards of journalism, rather than the...

. Despite sympathetic coverage in the media, initial versions of the McCain-Feingold Act were filibustered and never came to a vote.

The term "maverick Republican" became a label frequently applied to McCain, and he has also used it himself. In 1993, McCain opposed military operations in Somalia
Operation Gothic Serpent
Operation Gothic Serpent was a military operation conducted by special operations forces of the United States with the primary mission of capturing warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid...

. Another target of his was pork barrel
Pork barrel
Pork barrel is a derogatory term referring to appropriation of government spending for localized projects secured solely or primarily to bring money to a representative's district...

 spending by Congress, and he actively supported the Line Item Veto Act of 1996
Line Item Veto Act of 1996
The Line Item Veto Act of 1996 enacted a line-item veto for the Federal government of the United States, but its effect was brief due to judicial review....

, which gave the president power to veto individual spending items but was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1998.

In the 1996 presidential election
United States presidential election, 1996
The United States presidential election of 1996 was a contest between the Democratic national ticket of President Bill Clinton of Arkansas and Vice President Al Gore of Tennessee and the Republican national ticket of former Senator Bob Dole of Kansas for President and former Housing Secretary Jack...

, McCain was again on the short list
Short list
A short list or shortlist is a list of candidates for a job, prize, award, political position, etc., that has been reduced from a longer list of candidates . The length of short lists varies according to the context.-U.S...

 of possible vice-presidential picks, this time for Republican nominee Bob Dole
Bob Dole
Robert Joseph "Bob" Dole is an American attorney and politician. Dole represented Kansas in the United States Senate from 1969 to 1996, was Gerald Ford's Vice Presidential running mate in the 1976 presidential election, and was Senate Majority Leader from 1985 to 1987 and in 1995 and 1996...

. The following year, Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 magazine named McCain as one of the "25 Most Influential People in America".


In 1997, McCain became chairman of the powerful Senate Commerce Committee; he was criticized for accepting funds from corporations and businesses under the committee's purview, but in response said the small contributions he received were not part of the big-money nature of the campaign finance problem. McCain took on the tobacco industry
Tobacco industry
The tobacco industry comprises those persons and companies engaged in the growth, preparation for sale, shipment, advertisement, and distribution of tobacco and tobacco-related products. It is a global industry; tobacco can grow in any warm, moist environment, which means it can be farmed on all...

 in 1998, proposing legislation that would increase cigarette taxes in order to fund anti-smoking campaigns, discourage teenage smokers, increase money for health research studies, and help states pay for smoking-related health care costs. Supported by the Clinton administration but opposed by the industry and most Republicans, the bill failed to gain cloture
Cloture
In parliamentary procedure, cloture is a motion or process aimed at bringing debate to a quick end. It is also called closure or, informally, a guillotine. The cloture procedure originated in the French National Assembly, from which the name is taken. Clôture is French for "ending" or "conclusion"...

.

Start of third term in the U.S. Senate


McCain won re-election to a third senate term in November 1998, prevailing in a landslide over his Democratic opponent, environmental lawyer Ed Ranger. In the February 1999 Senate trial following the impeachment of Bill Clinton
Impeachment of Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton, President of the United States, was impeached by the House of Representatives on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice on December 19, 1998, but acquitted by the Senate on February 12, 1999. Two other impeachment articles, a second perjury charge and a charge of abuse of...

, McCain voted to convict the president on both the perjury
Perjury
Perjury, also known as forswearing, is the willful act of swearing a false oath or affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to a judicial proceeding. That is, the witness falsely promises to tell the truth about matters which affect the outcome of the...

 and obstruction of justice
Obstruction of justice
The crime of obstruction of justice, in United States jurisdictions, refers to the crime of interfering with the work of police, investigators, regulatory agencies, prosecutors, or other officials...

 counts, saying Clinton had violated his sworn oath of office. In March 1999, McCain voted to approve the NATO bombing campaign against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, saying that the ongoing genocide of the Kosovo War
Kosovo War
The term Kosovo War or Kosovo conflict was two sequential, and at times parallel, armed conflicts in Kosovo province, then part of FR Yugoslav Republic of Serbia; from early 1998 to 1999, there was an armed conflict initiated by the ethnic Albanian "Kosovo Liberation Army" , who sought independence...

 must be stopped and criticizing past Clinton administration inaction. Later in 1999, McCain shared the Profile in Courage Award
Profile in Courage Award
The Profile in Courage Award is a private award given to recognize displays of courage similar to those John F. Kennedy described in his book Profiles in Courage...

 with Feingold for their work in trying to enact their campaign finance reform, although the bill was still failing repeated attempts to gain cloture.

In August 1999, McCain's memoir Faith of My Fathers
Faith of My Fathers
-See also:* Early life and military career of John McCain* Character Is Destiny* My Dad, John McCain...

, co-authored with Mark Salter
Mark Salter
Mark Salter is an American speechwriter from Davenport, Iowa, known for his collaborations with United States Senator John McCain on several nonfiction books as well as on political speeches....

, was published; a reviewer observed that its appearance "seems to have been timed to the unfolding Presidential campaign." The most successful of his writings, it received positive reviews, became a bestseller, and was later made into a TV film
Faith of My Fathers (film)
Faith of My Fathers is a 2005 American television film, directed by Peter Markle. Based on the 1999 memoir of the same name by United States Senator and former United States Navy aviator John McCain , it aired on A&E Network on Memorial Day, May 30, 2005.Filmed in Louisiana, Faith of My...

. The book traces McCain's family background and childhood, covers his time at Annapolis and his service before and during the Vietnam War, concluding with his release from captivity in 1973. According to one reviewer, it describes "the kind of challenges that most of us can barely imagine. It's a fascinating history of a remarkable military family."

2000 presidential campaign



McCain announced his candidacy for president on September 27, 1999 in Nashua, New Hampshire
Nashua, New Hampshire
-Climate:-Demographics:As of the census of 2010, there were 86,494 people, 35,044 households, and 21,876 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,719.9 people per square mile . There were 37,168 housing units at an average density of 1,202.8 per square mile...

, saying he was staging "a fight to take our government back from the power brokers and special interests, and return it to the people and the noble cause of freedom it was created to serve". The leader for the Republican nomination was Texas Governor
Governor of Texas
The governor of Texas is the head of the executive branch of Texas's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Texas Legislature, and to convene the legislature...

 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

, who had the political and financial support of most of the party establishment.

McCain focused on the New Hampshire primary
New Hampshire primary
The New Hampshire primary is the first in a series of nationwide political party primary elections held in the United States every four years , as part of the process of choosing the Democratic and Republican nominees for the presidential elections to be held the subsequent November.Although only a...

, where his message appealed to independents. He traveled on a campaign bus
Campaign bus
A campaign bus is a bus used as both a vehicle and a center of operations in a political campaign. The modern use of campaign buses is often calculated to bring to mind whistlestop train tour tours that political candidates had historically used to reach large numbers of voters while campaigning...

 called the Straight Talk Express. He held many town hall meeting
Town hall meeting
A town hall meeting is an American English term given to an informal public meeting. Everybody in a town community is invited to attend, not always to voice their opinions, but to hear the responses from public figures and elected officials about shared subjects of interest. Attendees rarely voted...

s, answering every question voters asked, in a successful example of "retail politics", and he used free media to compensate for his lack of funds. One reporter later recounted that, "McCain talked all day long with reporters on his Straight Talk Express bus; he talked so much that sometimes he said things that he shouldn't have, and that's why the media loved him." On February 1, 2000, he won New Hampshire's primary with 49 percent of the vote to Bush's 30 percent. The Bush campaign and the Republican establishment feared that a McCain victory in the crucial South Carolina primary
South Carolina primary
The South Carolina presidential primary has become one of several key early state nominating contests in the process of choosing nominees of the Democratic and Republican parties for the following election for President of the United States....

 might give his campaign unstoppable momentum.

The Arizona Republic
The Arizona Republic
The Arizona Republic is a daily newspaper published in Phoenix. Circulated throughout Arizona, it is the state's largest newspaper. Since 2000, it has been owned by the Gannett newspaper chain. It was ranked tenth in US daily newspapers by circulation in 2007.-Early years:The newspaper was founded...

would write that the McCain–Bush primary contest in South Carolina "has entered national political lore as a low-water mark in presidential campaigns", while The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

called it "a painful symbol of the brutality of American politics". A variety of interest groups that McCain had challenged in the past ran negative ads. Bush borrowed McCain's earlier language of reform, and declined to dissociate himself from a veterans activist who accused McCain (in Bush's presence) of having "abandoned the veterans" on POW/MIA and Agent Orange
Agent Orange
Agent Orange is the code name for one of the herbicides and defoliants used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971. Vietnam estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth...

 issues.

Incensed, McCain ran ads accusing Bush of lying and comparing the governor to Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

, which Bush said was "about as low a blow as you can give in a Republican primary". An anonymous smear campaign began against McCain, delivered by push poll
Push poll
A push poll is a political campaign technique in which an individual or organization attempts to influence or alter the view of respondents under the guise of conducting a poll. In a push poll, large numbers of respondents are contacted, and little or no effort is made to collect and analyze...

s, faxes, e-mails, flyers, and audience plants. The smears claimed that McCain had fathered a black child out of wedlock (the McCains' dark-skinned daughter was adopted from Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

), that his wife Cindy was a drug addict, that he was a homosexual, and that he was a "Manchurian Candidate
The Manchurian Candidate
The Manchurian Candidate , by Richard Condon, is a political thriller novel about the son of a prominent US political family who is brainwashed into being an unwitting assassin for the Communist Party....

" who was either a traitor or mentally unstable from his North Vietnam POW days. The Bush campaign strongly denied any involvement with the attacks.

McCain lost South Carolina on February 19, with 42 percent of the vote to Bush's 53 percent, in part because Bush mobilized the state's evangelical voters and outspent McCain. The win allowed Bush to regain lost momentum. McCain would say of the rumor spreaders, "I believe that there is a special place in hell for people like those." According to one report, the South Carolina experience left McCain in a "very dark place".

McCain's campaign never completely recovered from his South Carolina defeat, although he did rebound partially by winning in Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

 and Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

 a few days later. He made a speech in Virginia Beach that criticized Christian leaders, including Pat Robertson
Pat Robertson
Marion Gordon "Pat" Robertson is a media mogul, television evangelist, ex-Baptist minister and businessman who is politically aligned with the Christian Right in the United States....

 and Jerry Falwell
Jerry Falwell
Jerry Lamon Falwell, Sr. was an evangelical fundamentalist Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist, and a conservative commentator from the United States. He was the founding pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church, a megachurch in Lynchburg, Virginia...

, as divisive conservatives, declaring "... we embrace the fine members of the religious conservative community. But that does not mean that we will pander to their self-appointed leaders." McCain lost the Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 primary on February 29, and on March 7 lost nine of the thirteen primaries on Super Tuesday
Super Tuesday
In the United States, Super Tuesday, in general, refers to the Tuesday in February or March of a presidential election year when the greatest number of states hold primary elections to select delegates to national conventions at which each party's presidential candidates are officially nominated...

 to Bush. With little hope of overcoming Bush's delegate lead, McCain withdrew from the race on March 9, 2000. He endorsed Bush two months later, and made occasional appearances with the Texas governor during the general election campaign.

Remainder of third Senate term


McCain began 2001 by breaking with the new George W. Bush administration on a number of matters, including HMO reform, climate change, and gun legislation; McCain-Feingold
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 is a United States federal law that amended the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, which regulates the financing of political campaigns. Its chief sponsors were Senators Russell Feingold and John McCain...

 was opposed by Bush as well. In May 2001, McCain was one of only two Senate Republicans to vote against the Bush tax cuts
Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001
The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 , was a sweeping piece of tax legislation in the United States by President George W. Bush...

. Besides the differences with Bush on ideological grounds, there was considerable antagonism between the two remaining from the previous year's campaign. Later, when Republican Senator Jim Jeffords
Jim Jeffords
James Merrill "Jim" Jeffords is a former U.S. Senator from Vermont. He served as a Republican until 2001, when he left the party to become an independent. He retired from the Senate in 2006.-Background:...

 became an Independent, throwing control of the Senate to the Democrats, McCain defended Jeffords against "self-appointed enforcers of party loyalty". Indeed, there was speculation at the time, and in years since, about McCain himself leaving the Republican Party, but McCain has always adamantly denied that he ever considered doing so. Beginning in 2001, McCain used political capital
Political capital
Political capital is primarily based on a public figure's favorable image among the populace and among other important factors in or out of the government. Political capital is essentially the opinion of another person, group of people, or nation about you, your organization, or your government...

 gained from his presidential run, as well as improved legislative skills and relationships with other members, to become one of the Senate's most influential members.


After the September 11, 2001 attacks
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

, McCain supported Bush and the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

. He and then-Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman
Joe Lieberman
Joseph Isadore "Joe" Lieberman is the senior United States Senator from Connecticut. A former member of the Democratic Party, he was the party's nominee for Vice President in the 2000 election. Currently an independent, he remains closely affiliated with the party.Born in Stamford, Connecticut,...

 wrote the legislation that created the 9/11 Commission
9/11 Commission
The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission, was set up on November 27, 2002, "to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 attacks", including preparedness for and the immediate response to...

, while he and Democratic Senator Fritz Hollings co-sponsored the Aviation and Transportation Security Act
Aviation and Transportation Security Act
The Aviation and Transportation Security Act was enacted by the 107th United States Congress in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The Act created the Transportation Security Administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation...

 that federalized airport security
Airport security
Airport security refers to the techniques and methods used in protecting airports and aircraft from crime.Large numbers of people pass through airports. This presents potential targets for terrorism and other forms of crime due to the number of people located in a particular location...

.

In March 2002, McCain-Feingold passed in both Houses of Congress and was signed into law by President Bush. Seven years in the making, it was McCain's greatest legislative achievement.

Meanwhile, in discussions over proposed U.S. action against Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, McCain was a strong supporter of the Bush administration's position. He stated that Iraq was "a clear and present danger to the United States of America", and voted accordingly for the Iraq War Resolution
Iraq Resolution
The Iraq Resolution or the Iraq War Resolution is a joint resolution passed by the United States Congress in October 2002 as Public Law No: 107-243, authorizing military action against Iraq.-Contents:The resolution cited many factors to justify the use of military force against...

 in October 2002. He predicted that U.S. forces would be treated as liberators by a large number of the Iraqi people. In May 2003, McCain voted against the second round of Bush tax cuts, saying it was unwise at a time of war. By November 2003, after a trip to Iraq, he was publicly questioning Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Rumsfeld
Donald Henry Rumsfeld is an American politician and businessman. Rumsfeld served as the 13th Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford, and as the 21st Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush. He is both the youngest and the oldest person to...

, saying that more U.S. troops were needed; the following year, McCain announced that he had lost confidence in Rumsfeld.

In October 2003, McCain and Lieberman co-sponsored the Climate Stewardship Act
Climate Stewardship Acts
The Climate Stewardship Acts are a series of three acts introduced to the United States Senate by Senator John McCain and Senator Joseph Lieberman , with a number of other co-sponsors. Their aim was to introduce a mandatory cap and trade system for greenhouse gases, as a response to the threat of...

 that would have introduced a cap and trade system aimed at returning greenhouse gas emissions to 2000 levels; the bill was defeated with 55 votes to 43 in the Senate. They reintroduced modified versions of the Act two additional times, most recently in January 2007 with the co-sponsorship of Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

, among others.

In the 2004 U.S. presidential election campaign
United States presidential election, 2004
The United States presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Republican Party candidate and incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic Party candidate John Kerry, the then-junior U.S. Senator...

, McCain was once again frequently mentioned for the vice-presidential slot, only this time as part of the Democratic ticket under nominee John Kerry
John Kerry
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

. McCain said that Kerry had never formally offered him the position and that he would not have accepted it if he had. At the 2004 Republican National Convention
2004 Republican National Convention
The 2004 Republican National Convention, the presidential nominating convention of the Republican Party of the United States, took place from August 30 to September 2, 2004 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York...

, McCain supported Bush for re-election, praising Bush's management of the War on Terror
War on Terror
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

 since the September 11 attacks. At the same time, the Senator defended Kerry's Vietnam war record. By August 2004, McCain had the best favorable-to-unfavorable rating (55 percent to 19 percent) of any national politician; he campaigned for Bush much more than he had four years previously, though the two remained situational allies rather than friends.

McCain was also up for re-election as Senator in 2004. He defeated little-known Democratic schoolteacher Stuart Starky
Stuart Starky
Stuart Marc "Stu" Starky is a perennial United States politician from Arizona, who ran unsuccessfully as a Democratic nominee for the State Senate, United States House of Representatives and United States Senate....

 with his biggest margin of victory, garnering 77 percent of the vote.

Start of fourth Senate term



In May 2005, McCain led the so-called Gang of 14
Gang of 14
The Gang of 14 was a term coined to describe the bipartisan group of Senators in the 109th United States Congress who successfully negotiated a compromise in the spring of 2005 to avoid the deployment of the so-called nuclear option over an organized use of the filibuster by Senate...

 in the Senate, which established a compromise that preserved the ability of senators to filibuster judicial nominees, but only in "extraordinary circumstances". The compromise took the steam out of the filibuster movement, but some Republicans remained disappointed that the compromise did not eliminate filibusters of judicial nominees in all circumstances. McCain subsequently cast Supreme Court confirmation votes in favor of John Roberts and Samuel Alito
Samuel Alito
Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr. is an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was nominated by President George W. Bush and has served on the court since January 31, 2006....

, calling them "two of the finest justices ever appointed to the United States Supreme Court."

Breaking from his 2001 and 2003 votes, McCain supported the Bush tax cut extension
Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005
The Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 was enacted on May 17, 2006.This bill prevents several tax provisions from sunseting in the near future. The two most notable pieces of the bill are the extension of the reduced tax rates on capital gains and dividends and extension of the...

 in May 2006, saying not to do so would amount to a tax increase. Working with Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy was a United States Senator from Massachusetts and a member of the Democratic Party. Serving almost 47 years, he was the second most senior member of the Senate when he died and is the fourth-longest-serving senator in United States history...

, McCain was a strong proponent of comprehensive immigration reform, which would involve legalization, guest worker programs, and border enforcement components. The Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act
Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act
Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act was an immigration reform bill introduced in the United States Senate on May 12, 2005 by Senators John McCain and Ted Kennedy...

 was never voted on in 2005, while the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 passed the Senate in May 2006 but failed in the House. In June 2007, President Bush, McCain, and others made the strongest push yet for such a bill, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007
The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, or, in its full name, the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 was a bill discussed in the 110th United States Congress that would have provided legal status and a path to citizenship for the approximately 12 to...

, but it aroused intense grassroots opposition among talk radio listeners and others, some of whom furiously characterized the proposal as an "amnesty" program, and the bill twice failed to gain cloture in the Senate.

By the mid-2000s decade, the increased Indian gaming that McCain had helped bring about was a $23 billion industry. He was twice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, in 1995–1997 and 2005–2007, and his Committee helped expose the Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal
Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal
The Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal is a United States political scandal relating to the work performed by political lobbyists Jack Abramoff, Ralph E. Reed, Jr., Grover Norquist and Michael Scanlon on Indian casino gambling interests for an estimated $85 million in fees. Abramoff and Scanlon...

. By 2005 and 2006, McCain was pushing for amendments to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is a 1988 United States federal law that establishes the jurisdictional framework that governs Indian gaming. There was no federal gaming structure before this act...

 that would limit creation of off-reservation casinos, as well as limiting the movement of tribes across state lines to build casinos.


Owing to his time as a POW, McCain has been recognized for his sensitivity to the detention and interrogation of detainees in the War on Terror
War on Terrorism
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

. In October 2005, McCain introduced the McCain Detainee Amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill for 2005, and the Senate voted 90–9 to support the amendment. It prohibits inhumane treatment of prisoners, including prisoners at Guantanamo Bay
Guantanamo Bay detainment camp
The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a detainment and interrogation facility of the United States located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. The facility was established in 2002 by the Bush Administration to hold detainees from the war in Afghanistan and later Iraq...

, by confining military interrogations to the techniques in the U.S. Army Field Manual on Interrogation
FM 34-52 Intelligence Interrogation
The US Army Field Manual on Interrogation, sometimes known by the military nomenclature FM 34-52, is a 177-page manual describing to military interrogators how to conduct effective interrogations while conforming with US and international law...

. Although Bush had threatened to veto the bill if McCain's amendment was included, the President announced in December 2005 that he accepted McCain's terms and would "make it clear to the world that this government does not torture and that we adhere to the international convention of torture, whether it be here at home or abroad". This stance, among others, led to McCain being named by Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine in 2006 as one of America's 10 Best Senators. McCain voted in February 2008 against a bill containing a ban on waterboarding
Waterboarding
Waterboarding is a form of torture in which water is poured over the face of an immobilized captive, thus causing the individual to experience the sensation of drowning...

, which provision was later narrowly passed and vetoed by Bush. However, the bill in question contained other provisions to which McCain objected, and his spokesman stated: "This wasn't a vote on waterboarding. This was a vote on applying the standards of the [Army] field manual to CIA personnel."

Meanwhile, McCain continued questioning the progress of the war in Iraq. In September 2005, he remarked upon Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is by law the highest ranking military officer in the United States Armed Forces, and is the principal military adviser to the President of the United States, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council and the Secretary of Defense...

 Richard Myers
Richard Myers
Richard Bowman Myers is a retired four-star general in the United States Air Force and served as the 15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As Chairman, Myers was the United States military's highest ranking uniformed officer....

' optimistic outlook on the war's progress: "Things have not gone as well as we had planned or expected, nor as we were told by you, General Myers." In August 2006, he criticized the administration for continually understating the effectiveness of the insurgency: "We [have] not told the American people how tough and difficult this could be." From the beginning, McCain strongly supported the Iraq troop surge of 2007. The strategy's opponents labeled it "McCain's plan" and University of Virginia
University of Virginia
The University of Virginia is a public research university located in Charlottesville, Virginia, United States, founded by Thomas Jefferson...

 political science professor Larry Sabato
Larry Sabato
Larry Joseph Sabato is an American political scientist and analyst. He is the Robert Kent Gooch Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, and director of its Center for Politics. He founded Sabato's Crystal Ball, an online newsletter and website that provides free political analysis and...

 said, "McCain owns Iraq just as much as Bush does now." The surge and the war were unpopular during most of the year, even within the Republican Party, as McCain's presidential campaign was underway; faced with the consequences, McCain frequently responded, "I would much rather lose a campaign than a war." In March 2008, McCain credited the surge strategy with reducing violence in Iraq, as he made his eighth trip to that country since the war began.

2008 presidential campaign




John McCain formally announced his intention to run for President of the United States on April 25, 2007 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Portsmouth is a city in Rockingham County, New Hampshire in the United States. It is the largest city but only the fourth-largest community in the county, with a population of 21,233 at the 2010 census...

. He stated that: "I'm not running for President to be somebody, but to do something; to do the hard but necessary things not the easy and needless things."

McCain's oft-cited strengths as a presidential candidate for 2008 included national name recognition, sponsorship of major lobbying and campaign finance reform initiatives, his ability to reach across the aisle, his well-known military service and experience as a POW, his experience from the 2000 presidential campaign, and an expectation that he would capture Bush's top fundraisers. During the 2006 election cycle, McCain had attended 346 events and helped raise more than $10.5 million on behalf of Republican candidates. McCain also became more willing to ask business and industry for campaign contributions, while maintaining that such contributions would not affect any official decisions he would make. Despite being considered the front-runner for the nomination by pundits as 2007 began, McCain was in second place behind former Mayor of New York City
Mayor of New York City
The Mayor of the City of New York is head of the executive branch of New York City's government. The mayor's office administers all city services, public property, police and fire protection, most public agencies, and enforces all city and state laws within New York City.The budget overseen by the...

 Rudy Giuliani
Rudy Giuliani
Rudolph William Louis "Rudy" Giuliani KBE is an American lawyer, businessman, and politician from New York. He served as Mayor of New York City from 1994 to 2001....

 in national Republican polls
Nationwide opinion polling for the Republican Party 2008 presidential candidates
This article is a collection of nation-wide public opinion polls that have been conducted relating to the 2008 Republican presidential candidates, typically using standard statistical methodology...

 as the year progressed.

McCain had fundraising problems in the first half of 2007, due in part to his support for the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007
The Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, or, in its full name, the Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007 was a bill discussed in the 110th United States Congress that would have provided legal status and a path to citizenship for the approximately 12 to...

, which was unpopular among the Republican base electorate. Large-scale campaign staff downsizing took place in early July, but McCain said that he was not considering dropping out of the race. Later that month, the candidate's campaign manager and campaign chief strategist both departed. McCain slumped badly in national polls, often running third or fourth with 15 percent or less support.
Nationwide opinion polling for the Republican Party 2008 presidential candidates
This article is a collection of nation-wide public opinion polls that have been conducted relating to the 2008 Republican presidential candidates, typically using standard statistical methodology...



The Arizona senator subsequently resumed his familiar position as a political underdog
Underdog (competition)
An underdog is a person or group in a competition, frequently in electoral politics, sports and creative works, who is popularly expected to lose. The party, team or individual expected to win is called the favorite or top dog. In the rare case where an underdog wins, the outcome is an upset. These...

, riding the Straight Talk Express and taking advantage of free media such as debates and sponsored events. By December 2007, the Republican race was unsettled, with none of the top-tier candidates dominating the race and all of them possessing major vulnerabilities with different elements of the Republican base electorate. McCain was showing a resurgence, in particular with renewed strength in New Hampshire – the scene of his 2000 triumph – and was bolstered further by the endorsements of The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe is an American daily newspaper based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Globe has been owned by The New York Times Company since 1993...

, the New Hampshire Union Leader
New Hampshire Union Leader
The New Hampshire Union Leader is the daily newspaper of Manchester, the largest city in the state of New Hampshire. As of September 2010 it had a daily circulation of 48,342 and the circulation of its Sunday paper, the New Hampshire Sunday News, was 63,991. It was founded in 1863.It was called...

, and almost two dozen other state newspapers, as well as from Independent Democrat
Independent Democrat
Independent Democrat is a term occasionally adopted by American politicians to refer to their party affiliation. Several elected officials, including members of Congress, have identified as " Independent Democrats."...

ic Senator Joe Lieberman
Joe Lieberman
Joseph Isadore "Joe" Lieberman is the senior United States Senator from Connecticut. A former member of the Democratic Party, he was the party's nominee for Vice President in the 2000 election. Currently an independent, he remains closely affiliated with the party.Born in Stamford, Connecticut,...

. McCain decided not to campaign significantly in the January 3, 2008, Iowa caucuses
Iowa Republican caucuses, 2008
The 2008 Iowa Republican caucuses took place on January 4, 2008. The Iowa Republican caucuses are an unofficial primary, with the delegates to the state convention selected proportionally via a straw poll...

, which saw a win by former Governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee
Mike Huckabee
Michael "Mike" Dale Huckabee is an American politician who served as the 44th Governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007. He was a candidate in the 2008 United States Republican presidential primaries, finishing second in delegate count and third in both popular vote and number of states won . He won...

.

McCain's comeback plan paid off when he won the New Hampshire primary
New Hampshire Republican primary, 2008
The 2008 New Hampshire Republican primary took place on January 8, 2008, with 12 national delegates being allocated proportionally to the popular vote...

 on January 8, defeating former Governor of Massachusetts
Governor of Massachusetts
The Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the executive magistrate of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, United States. The current governor is Democrat Deval Patrick.-Constitutional role:...

 Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney
Willard Mitt Romney is an American businessman and politician. He was the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and is a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination.The son of George W...

 in a close contest, to once again become one of the front-runners in the race. In mid-January, McCain placed first in the South Carolina primary
South Carolina Republican primary, 2008
The South Carolina Republican primary, 2008 was held on January 19, with 24 delegates at stake. The Republican National Committee took half of South Carolina's 47 delegates away from them because the state committee moved its Republican primary before February 5...

, narrowly defeating Mike Huckabee. Pundits credited the third-place finisher, Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

's former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson, with drawing votes from Huckabee in South Carolina, thereby giving a narrow win to McCain.
A week later, McCain won the Florida primary
Florida Republican primary, 2008
The 2008 Florida Republican primary was held on January 29, 2008, with 57 delegates at stake on a winner-take-all basis. The Republican National Committee removed half of Florida's delegates because the state committee moved its Republican primary before February 5. Arizona Senator John McCain was...

, beating Romney again in a close contest; Giuliani then dropped out and endorsed McCain.

On February 5, McCain won both the majority of states and delegate
Delegate
A delegate is a person who speaks or acts on behalf of an organization at a meeting or conference between organizations of the same level A delegate is a person who speaks or acts on behalf of an organization (e.g., a government, a charity, an NGO, or a trade union) at a meeting or conference...

s in the Super Tuesday Republican primaries
Republican Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008
The 2008 Republican presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Republican Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 U.S. presidential election...

, giving him a commanding lead toward the Republican nomination. Romney departed from the race on February 7. McCain's wins in the March 4 primaries clinched a majority of the delegates, and he became the presumptive Republican nominee.

McCain, having been born in the (Panama) Canal Zone, if elected would have become the first president who was born outside the current 50 states. This raised a potential legal issue, since the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 requires the president to be a natural-born citizen
Natural-born citizen
Status as a natural-born citizen of the United States is one of the eligibility requirements established in the United States Constitution for election to the office of President or Vice President...

 of the United States. A bipartisan legal review and a unanimous but non-binding Senate resolution both concluded that he is a natural-born citizen. Also, if inaugurated in 2009 at age 72 years and 144 days, he would have been the oldest U.S. president upon ascension to the presidency, and the second-oldest president to be inaugurated.

McCain has addressed concerns about his age and past health concerns, stating in 2005 that his health was "excellent". He has been treated for a type of skin cancer
Skin cancer
Skin neoplasms are skin growths with differing causes and varying degrees of malignancy. The three most common malignant skin cancers are basal cell cancer, squamous cell cancer, and melanoma, each of which is named after the type of skin cell from which it arises...

 called melanoma
Melanoma
Melanoma is a malignant tumor of melanocytes. Melanocytes are cells that produce the dark pigment, melanin, which is responsible for the color of skin. They predominantly occur in skin, but are also found in other parts of the body, including the bowel and the eye...

, and an operation in 2000 for that condition left a noticeable mark on the left side of his face. McCain's prognosis appears favorable, according to independent experts, especially because he has already survived without a recurrence for more than seven years. In May 2008, McCain's campaign briefly let the press review his medical records, and he was described as appearing cancer-free, having a strong heart and in general good health.

Upon clinching enough delegates for the nomination, McCain's focus shifted toward the general election, while Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 and Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is the 67th United States Secretary of State, serving in the administration of President Barack Obama. She was a United States Senator for New York from 2001 to 2009. As the wife of the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, she was the First Lady of the...

 fought a prolonged battle for the Democratic nomination
Democratic Party (United States) presidential primaries, 2008
The 2008 Democratic presidential primaries were the selection process by which voters of the Democratic Party chose its nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 U.S. presidential election...

. McCain introduced various policy proposals, and sought to improve his fundraising. Cindy McCain, who accounts for most of the couple's wealth with an estimated net worth of $100 million, made part of her tax returns public in May. After facing criticism about lobbyists on staff, the McCain campaign issued new rules in May 2008 to avoid conflicts of interest
Conflict of interest
A conflict of interest occurs when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in the other....

, causing five top aides to leave.


When Obama became the Democrats' presumptive nominee
Presumptive nominee
In politics, the presumptive nominee is a political candidate who is all but assured of his or her party's nomination, but has not yet been formally nominated...

 in early June, McCain proposed joint town hall meetings, but Obama instead requested more traditional debates
United States presidential election debates, 2008
The bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates sponsored four debates for the 2008 U.S. presidential general election, which took place at various locations around the United States in September and October 2008...

 for the fall. In July, a staff shake-up put Steve Schmidt
Steve Schmidt
Steve Schmidt is an American campaign strategist and public relations worker for the U.S. Republican Party. He specializes in political "message development and strategy"...

 in full operational control of the McCain campaign. Throughout these summer months, Obama typically led McCain in national polls by single-digit margins, and also led in several key swing states. McCain reprised his familiar underdog role, which was due at least in part to the overall challenges Republicans faced in the election year. McCain accepted public financing for the general election campaign, and the restrictions that go with it, while criticizing his Democratic opponent for becoming the first major party candidate to opt out of such financing for the general election since the system was implemented in 1976. The Republican's broad campaign theme focused on his experience and ability to lead, compared to Obama's.

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin
Sarah Louise Palin is an American politician, commentator and author. As the Republican Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 presidential election, she was the first Alaskan on the national ticket of a major party and first Republican woman nominated for the vice-presidency.She was...

 was revealed as McCain's surprise choice for running mate on August 29, 2008. McCain was only the second U.S. major-party presidential nominee to select a woman for running mate and the first Republican to do so; Palin would have become the first female Vice President of the United States
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 if she had been elected. On September 3, 2008, McCain and Palin became the Republican Party's Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees, respectively, at the 2008 Republican National Convention
2008 Republican National Convention
The United States 2008 Republican National Convention took place at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota, from September 1, through September 4, 2008...

 in Saint Paul, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Saint Paul is the capital and second-most populous city of the U.S. state of Minnesota. The city lies mostly on the east bank of the Mississippi River in the area surrounding its point of confluence with the Minnesota River, and adjoins Minneapolis, the state's largest city...

. McCain surged ahead of Obama in national polls following the convention, as the Palin pick energized core Republican voters who had previously been wary of him. However, by the campaign's own later admission, the rollout of Palin to the national media went poorly, and voter reactions to Palin grew increasingly negative, especially among independents and other voters concerned about her qualifications.

On September 24, McCain said he was suspending his campaign, called on Obama to join him, and proposed delaying the first of the general election debates with Obama
United States presidential election debates, 2008
The bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates sponsored four debates for the 2008 U.S. presidential general election, which took place at various locations around the United States in September and October 2008...

, in order to work on the proposed U.S. financial system bailout before Congress, which was targeted at addressing the subprime mortgage crisis
Subprime mortgage crisis
The U.S. subprime mortgage crisis was one of the first indicators of the late-2000s financial crisis, characterized by a rise in subprime mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures, and the resulting decline of securities backed by said mortgages....

 and liquidity crisis. McCain's intervention helped to give dissatisfied House Republicans an opportunity to propose changes to the plan that was otherwise close to agreement. After Obama declined McCain's suspension suggestion, McCain went ahead with the debate on September 26. On October 1, McCain voted in favor of a revised $700 billion rescue plan. Another debate was held on October 7; like the first one, polls afterward suggested that Obama had won it. A final presidential debate occurred on October 15. During and after it, McCain compared Obama's proposed policies to socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 and often invoked "Joe the Plumber
Joe the Plumber
Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher , is a conservative activist, author, and commentator. A resident of Holland, Ohio, United States, he gained significant attention during the 2008 U.S. presidential election after he was videotaped questioning then-Democratic candidate Barack Obama about his small...

" as a symbol of American small business dreams that would be thwarted by an Obama presidency. McCain barred using the Jeremiah Wright controversy
Jeremiah Wright controversy
The Jeremiah Wright controversy is an American political issue that gained national attention in March 2008 when ABC News, after reviewing dozens of U.S. 2008 Presidential Election candidate Barack Obama's pastor Jeremiah Wright's sermons, excerpted parts which were subject to intense media scrutiny...

 in ads against Obama, but the campaign did frequently criticize Obama regarding his purported relationship with Bill Ayers. Down the stretch, McCain was outspent by Obama by a four-to-one margin.

The election took place on November 4, and Barack Obama was projected the winner at about 11:00 pm Eastern Standard Time; McCain delivered his concession speech in Phoenix, Arizona about twenty minutes later. In it, he noted the historic and special significance of Obama becoming the nation's first African American president. In the end, McCain won 173 electoral college votes to Obama's 365; McCain failed to win most of the battleground states and lost some traditionally Republican ones. McCain gained 46 percent of the nationwide popular vote, compared to Obama's 53 percent.

Remainder of fourth Senate term


Following his defeat, McCain returned to the Senate amid varying views about what role he might play there. In mid-November 2008 he met with President-elect Obama, and the two discussed issues they had commonality on. Around the same time, McCain indicated that he intended to run for re-election to his Senate seat in 2010
United States Senate election in Arizona, 2010
The 2010 United States Senate election in Arizona took place on November 2, 2010 along with other elections to the United States Senate in other states as well as elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections. The primaries were held on August 24,...

. As the inauguration neared, Obama consulted with McCain on a variety of matters, to an extent rarely seen between a president-elect and his defeated rival, and President Obama's inauguration speech contained an allusion to McCain's theme of finding a purpose greater than oneself.

Nevertheless, McCain emerged as a leader of the Republican opposition to the Obama economic stimulus package of 2009
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, abbreviated ARRA and commonly referred to as the Stimulus or The Recovery Act, is an economic stimulus package enacted by the 111th United States Congress in February 2009 and signed into law on February 17, 2009, by President Barack Obama.To...

, saying it had too much spending for too little stimulative effect. McCain also voted against Obama's Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor
Sonia Sotomayor
Sonia Maria Sotomayor is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, serving since August 2009. Sotomayor is the Court's 111th justice, its first Hispanic justice, and its third female justice....

 – saying that while undeniably qualified, "I do not believe that she shares my belief in judicial restraint" – and by August 2009 was siding more often with his Republican Party on closely divided votes than ever before in his senatorial career. McCain reasserted that the Afghanistan War was winnable and criticized Obama for a slow process in deciding whether to send additional U.S. troops there. McCain also harshly criticized Obama for scrapping construction of the U.S. missile defense complex in Poland, declined to enter negotiations over climate change legislation similar to what he had proposed in the past, and strongly opposed the Obama health care plan. McCain led a successful filibuster of a measure that would allow repeal of the military's "Don't ask, don't tell
Don't ask, don't tell
"Don't ask, don't tell" was the official United States policy on homosexuals serving in the military from December 21, 1993 to September 20, 2011. The policy prohibited military personnel from discriminating against or harassing closeted homosexual or bisexual service members or applicants, while...

" policy towards gays. Factors involved in McCain's new direction included Senate staffers leaving, a renewed concern over national debt levels and the scope of federal government, a possible Republican primary challenge from conservatives in 2010, and McCain's campaign edge being slow to wear off. As one longtime McCain advisor said, "A lot of people, including me, thought he might be the Republican building bridges to the Obama Administration. But he's been more like the guy blowing up the bridges."
In early 2010, a primary challenge from radio talk show host and former U.S. Congressman J. D. Hayworth
J. D. Hayworth
John David Hayworth, Jr. , usually known as J. D. Hayworth, is an American politician who served as a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 2007 from Arizona's 5th congressional district...

 materialized in the 2010 U.S. Senate election in Arizona
United States Senate election in Arizona, 2010
The 2010 United States Senate election in Arizona took place on November 2, 2010 along with other elections to the United States Senate in other states as well as elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections. The primaries were held on August 24,...

 and drew support from some but not all elements of the Tea Party movement
Tea Party movement
The Tea Party movement is an American populist political movement that is generally recognized as conservative and libertarian, and has sponsored protests and supported political candidates since 2009...

. With Hayworth using the campaign slogan "The Consistent Conservative", McCain said (despite his own past use of the term), "I never considered myself a maverick. I consider myself a person who serves the people of Arizona to the best of his abilities." The primary challenge coincided with McCain reversing or muting his stance on some issues such as the bank bailouts, closing of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, campaign finance restrictions, and gays in the military. When the health care plan, now called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a United States federal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. The law is the principal health care reform legislation of the 111th United States Congress...

, passed Congress and became law in March 2010, McCain strongly opposed the landmark legislation not only on its merits but also on the way it had been handled in Congress. As a consequence, he warned that congressional Republicans would not be working with Democrats on anything else: "There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year. They have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it." McCain became a vocal defender of Arizona SB 1070, the April 2010 tough anti-illegal immigration state law that aroused national controversy, saying that the state had been forced to take action given the federal government's inability to control the border. In the August 24 primary, McCain beat Hayworth by a 56 to 32 percent margin. McCain proceeded to easily defeat Democratic city councilman Rodney Glassman in the general election.

In the lame duck session of the 111th Congress, McCain voted for the compromise Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010
Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010
The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 , was passed by the United States Congress on December 16, 2010 and signed into law by President Barack Obama on December 17, 2010....

, but against the DREAM Act
DREAM Act
The DREAM Act is an American legislative proposal first introduced in the Senate on August 1, 2001 and most recently reintroduced there on May 11, 2011....

 (which he had once sponsored) and the New START Treaty. Most prominently, he continued to lead the eventually losing fight against "Don't ask, don't tell" repeal, with his opposition . In his opposition, he sometimes fell into anger or hostility on the Senate floor, and called its passage "a very sad day" that would compromise the battle effectiveness of the military.

Start of fifth Senate term


While control of the House of Representatives went over to the Republicans in the 112th Congress, the Senate stayed Democratic and McCain continued to be the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee
United States Senate Committee on Armed Services
The Committee on Armed Services is a committee of the United States Senate empowered with legislative oversight of the nation's military, including the Department of Defense, military research and development, nuclear energy , benefits for members of the military, the Selective Service System and...

. As the 2011 Middle East and North Africa protests took center stage, McCain urged that embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak
Hosni Mubarak
Muhammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak is a former Egyptian politician and military commander. He served as the fourth President of Egypt from 1981 to 2011....

 step down and thought the U.S. should push for democratic reforms in the region despite the associated risks of religious extremists gaining power. McCain was an especially vocal supporter of the 2011 military intervention in Libya
2011 military intervention in Libya
On 19 March 2011, a multi-state coalition began a military intervention in Libya to implement United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which was taken in response to events during the 2011 Libyan civil war...

. In April of that year he visited the Anti-Gaddafi forces
Anti-Gaddafi forces
The anti-Gaddafi forces were Libyan groups that opposed and militarily defeated the government of Muammar Gaddafi, killing him in the process. These opposition forces included organised and armed militia groups, participants in the 2011 Libyan civil war, Libyan diplomats who switched their...

 and National Transitional Council
National Transitional Council
The National Transitional Council of Libya , sometimes known as the Transitional National Council, the Interim National Council, or the Libyan National Council,...

 in Benghazi
Benghazi
Benghazi is the second largest city in Libya, the main city of the Cyrenaica region , and the former provisional capital of the National Transitional Council. The wider metropolitan area is also a district of Libya...

, the highest-ranking American to do so, and said that the rebel forces were "my heroes". In August, McCain voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011
Budget Control Act of 2011
The Budget Control Act of 2011 was passed by the 112th United States Congress signed into law by President Barack Obama. It brought conclusion to the 2011 United States debt ceiling crisis, which had threatened to lead the United States into sovereign default on or about August 3, 2011.The law...

 that resolved the U.S. debt ceiling crisis.

Caucus memberships

  • International Conservation Caucus
    United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus
    The U.S. Congressional International Conservation Caucus is a bipartisan congressional organization that was founded in September 2003 with the conviction that “the United States of America has the opportunity, the obligation and the interests to advance the conservation of natural resources for...

  • Senate Diabetes Caucus
  • Senate National Security Caucus (Co-Chair)
  • Sportsmen's Caucus
  • Senate Wilderness and Public Lands Caucus

Political positions




Various advocacy group
Advocacy group
Advocacy groups use various forms of advocacy to influence public opinion and/or policy; they have played and continue to play an important part in the development of political and social systems...

s have given Senator McCain scores or grades as to how well his votes align with the positions of each group. The American Conservative Union
American Conservative Union
The American Conservative Union is an American political organization advocating conservative policies, and is the oldest such conservative lobbying organization in the country.-Organization:...

 awarded McCain a lifetime rating of 83 percent through 2010, while McCain has an average lifetime 12 percent "Liberal Quotient" from Americans for Democratic Action
Americans for Democratic Action
Americans for Democratic Action is an American political organization advocating progressive policies. ADA works for social and economic justice through lobbying, grassroots organizing, research and supporting progressive candidates.-History:...

 through 2010.

The Almanac of American Politics collects the National Journal
National Journal
National Journal is a nonpartisan American weekly magazine that reports on the current political environment and emerging political and policy trends. National Journal was first published in 1969. Times Mirror owned the magazine from 1986 to 1997, when it was purchased by David G. Bradley...

ratings of congressional votes as liberal
Liberalism in the United States
Liberalism in the United States is a broad political philosophy centered on the unalienable rights of the individual. The fundamental liberal ideals of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion for all belief systems, and the separation of church and state, right to due process...

 or conservative on the political spectrum
Political spectrum
A political spectrum is a way of modeling different political positions by placing them upon one or more geometric axes symbolizing independent political dimensions....

 in three policy areas: economic, social, and foreign. For 2005–2006, McCain's average ratings were as follows: economic 59 percent conservative and 41 percent liberal; social 54 percent conservative / 38 percent liberal; and foreign 56 percent conservative / 43 percent liberal.

Columnists such as Robert Robb and Matthew Continetti
Matthew Continetti
Matthew Continetti is a conservative journalist and associate editor at The Weekly Standard.-Biography:He graduated from Columbia University in 2003. While in college he wrote for the Columbia Spectator and the Intercollegiate Studies Institute's magazine, CAMPUS...

 have used a formulation devised by William F. Buckley, Jr.
William F. Buckley, Jr.
William Frank Buckley, Jr. was an American conservative author and commentator. He founded the political magazine National Review in 1955, hosted 1,429 episodes of the television show Firing Line from 1966 until 1999, and was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist. His writing was noted for...

 to describe McCain as "conservative" but not "a conservative", meaning that while McCain usually tends towards conservative positions, he is not "anchored by the philosophical tenets of modern American conservatism." Following his 2008 presidential election loss, McCain began adopting more orthodox conservative views; National Journal magazine
National Journal
National Journal is a nonpartisan American weekly magazine that reports on the current political environment and emerging political and policy trends. National Journal was first published in 1969. Times Mirror owned the magazine from 1986 to 1997, when it was purchased by David G. Bradley...

rated McCain along with seven of his colleagues as the "most conservative" Senators for 2010 and he achieved his first 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union for that year.

From the late 1990s until 2008, McCain was a board member of Project Vote Smart
Project Vote Smart
Project Vote Smart is a non-profit, non-partisan research organization that collects and distributes information on candidates for public office in the United States...

 (PVS) which was set up by Richard Kimball, his 1986 Senate opponent. PVS provides non-partisan information about the political positions of McCain and other candidates for political office. Additionally, McCain uses his Senate web site to describe his political positions.

McCain is a signer of Americans for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Cultural and political image


John McCain's personal character has been a dominant feature of his public image. This image includes the military service of both himself and his family, his maverick political persona, his temper, his admitted problem of occasional ill-considered remarks, and his close ties to his children from both his marriages.

McCain's political appeal has been more nonpartisan and less ideological compared to many other national politicians. His stature and reputation stem partly from his service in the Vietnam War. He also carries physical vestiges of his war wounds, as well as his melanoma surgery. When campaigning, he quips: "I am older than dirt and have more scars than Frankenstein."

Writers often extolled McCain for his courage not just in war but in politics, and wrote sympathetically about him. McCain's shift of political stances and attitudes during and especially after the 2008 presidential campaign, including his self-repudiation of the maverick label, left many writers expressing sadness and wondering what had happened to the McCain they thought they had known.

In his own estimation, the Arizona senator is straightforward and direct, but impatient. Other traits include a penchant for lucky charms, a fondness for hiking, and a sense of humor that has sometimes backfired spectacularly, as when he made a joke in 1998 about the Clintons widely deemed not fit to print in newspapers: "Do you know why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly? — Because Janet Reno is her father." McCain subsequently apologized profusely, and the Clinton White House accepted his apology. McCain has not shied away from addressing his shortcomings, and apologizing for them. He is known for sometimes being prickly and hot-tempered with Senate colleagues, but his relations with his own Senate staff have been more cordial, and have inspired loyalty towards him.

McCain acknowledges having said intemperate things in years past, though he also says that many stories have been exaggerated. One psychoanalytic
Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...

 comparison suggests that McCain was not the first presidential candidate to have a temper, and cultural critic Julia Keller
Julia Keller
Julia Keller is an American writer. She won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for her account of the deadly April 2004 Utica, Illinois tornado outbreak, which was published in the Chicago Tribune, where Keller works as cultural critic...

 argues that voters want leaders who are passionate, engaged, fiery, and feisty. McCain has employed both profanity and shouting on occasion, although such incidents have become less frequent over the years. Senator Joe Lieberman
Joe Lieberman
Joseph Isadore "Joe" Lieberman is the senior United States Senator from Connecticut. A former member of the Democratic Party, he was the party's nominee for Vice President in the 2000 election. Currently an independent, he remains closely affiliated with the party.Born in Stamford, Connecticut,...

 has made this observation: "It is not the kind of anger that is a loss of control. He is a very controlled person." Senator Thad Cochran
Thad Cochran
William Thad Cochran is the senior United States Senator from Mississippi and a member of the Republican Party. First elected to the Senate in 1978, he is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and was its chairman and 2005 to 2007.-Early life:He was born in Pontotoc,...

, who has known McCain for decades and has battled him over earmarks
Earmark (politics)
In United States politics, an earmark is a legislative provision that directs approved funds to be spent on specific projects, or that directs specific exemptions from taxes or mandated fees...

, expressed concern about a McCain presidency: "He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me." Ultimately Cochran decided to support McCain for president, after it was clear he would win the nomination.

All of John McCain's family members are on good terms with him, and he has defended them against some of the negative consequences of his high-profile political lifestyle. His family's military tradition extends to the latest generation: son John Sidney IV ("Jack") graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2009, becoming the fourth generation John S. McCain to do so, and is a helicopter pilot; son James served two tours with the Marines
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 in the Iraq War; and son Doug flew jets in the Navy. His daughter Meghan
Meghan McCain
Meghan Marguerite McCain is an American columnist, author, and blogger. She is a daughter of U.S. Senator John McCain and Cindy Hensley McCain. McCain first received media attention in 2007 for her blog, McCain Blogette, on which she documented life on the campaign trail and mused about...

 became a blogging and Twitter
Twitter
Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, informally known as "tweets".Twitter was created in March 2006 by Jack Dorsey and launched that July...

ing presence in the debate about the future of the Republican Party following the 2008 elections, and showed some of his maverick tendencies.

Books

  • Faith of My Fathers
    Faith of My Fathers
    -See also:* Early life and military career of John McCain* Character Is Destiny* My Dad, John McCain...

    by John McCain, Mark Salter
    Mark Salter
    Mark Salter is an American speechwriter from Davenport, Iowa, known for his collaborations with United States Senator John McCain on several nonfiction books as well as on political speeches....

     (Random House, August 1999) ISBN 0-375-50191-6 (later made into the 2005 television film Faith of My Fathers
    Faith of My Fathers (film)
    Faith of My Fathers is a 2005 American television film, directed by Peter Markle. Based on the 1999 memoir of the same name by United States Senator and former United States Navy aviator John McCain , it aired on A&E Network on Memorial Day, May 30, 2005.Filmed in Louisiana, Faith of My...

    )
  • Worth the Fighting For
    Worth the Fighting For
    Worth the Fighting For is a 2002 book by United States Senator John McCain with Mark Salter. Published by Random House, it is part autobiography, part mini-biographies of others....

    by John McCain, Mark Salter (Random House, September 2002) ISBN 0-375-50542-3
  • Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life by John McCain, Mark Salter (Random House, April 2004) ISBN 1-4000-6030-3
  • Character Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember by John McCain, Mark Salter (Random House, October 2005) ISBN 1-4000-6412-0
  • Hard Call: Great Decisions and the Extraordinary People Who Made Them
    Hard Call
    Hard Call: Great Decisions and the Extraordinary People Who Made Them is a book written by United States Senator John McCain with Mark Salter. Its theme is decision-making based on personal principles. The hardcover edition was released August 14, 2007, and the paperback edition was subsequently...

    by John McCain, Mark Salter (Hachette, August 2007) ISBN 978-0-446-58040-3

Articles and forewords

  • "How the POW's Fought Back", by John S. McCain III, Lieut. Commander, U.S. Navy, U.S. News and World Report, May 14, 1973 (reprinted for web under different title in 2008). Reprinted in Reporting Vietnam, Part Two: American Journalism 1969–1975 (The Library of America, 1998) ISBN 1-883011-59-0
  • "The Code of Conduct and the Vietnam Prisoners of War
    The Code of Conduct and the Vietnam Prisoners of War
    The Code of Conduct and the Vietnam War is a report from an individual research project conducted by John McCain, Commander, United States Navy, at the National War College...

    ", by John S. McCain, Commander USN, National War College
    National War College
    The National War College of the United States is a school in the National Defense University. It is housed in Roosevelt Hall on Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., the third-oldest Army post still active. It was officially established on July 1, 1946, as an upgraded replacement for the...

    , April 8, 1974 (actual paper)
  • Foreword by John McCain to A Code to Keep: The True Story of America's Longest-Held Civilian POW in Vietnam by Ernest C. Brace
    Ernest C. Brace
    Ernest C. Brace was the longest-held civilian prisoner of war in Vietnam.Brace, a former Marine Corps pilot who had flown more than 100 combat missions in Korea, had been accused of deserting the scene of an aircraft accident and was court-martialed and discharged from the Marines.Brace then...

     (St. Martin's Press, 1988) ISBN 0-7090-3560-8
  • Speeches of John McCain, 1988–2000
  • Foreword by John McCain to Glory Denied: The Saga of Jim Thompson, America's Longest-held Prisoner by Tom Philpott (W. W. Norton, 2001) ISBN 0-393-02012-6
  • Foreword by John McCain to The Best and the Brightest
    The Best and the Brightest
    The Best and the Brightest is an account by journalist David Halberstam of the origins of the Vietnam War published by Random House. The focus of the book is on the foreign policy crafted by the academics and intellectuals who were in John F...

    by David Halberstam
    David Halberstam
    David Halberstam was an American Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author and historian, known for his early work on the Vietnam War, his work on politics, history, the Civil Rights Movement, business, media, American culture, and his later sports journalism.-Early life and education:Halberstam...

     (Random House, 2001 edition) ISBN 1-58836-098-9
  • Foreword by John S. McCain to Unfinished Business: Afghanistan, the Middle East and Beyond – Defusing the Dangers That Threaten America's Security by Harlan Ullman (Citadel Press, June 2002) ISBN 0-8065-2431-6
  • Foreword by John McCain and Max Cleland
    Max Cleland
    Joseph Maxwell Cleland is an American politician from Georgia. Cleland, a Democrat, is a disabled US Army veteran of the Vietnam War, a recipient of the Silver Star and the Bronze Star for valorous action in combat, and a former U.S. Senator...

     to Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming by Jonathan Shay (Scribner, November 2002) ISBN 0-7432-1156-1
  • Foreword by John McCain to Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts by the Editors of Popular Mechanics
    Popular Mechanics
    Popular Mechanics is an American magazine first published January 11, 1902 by H. H. Windsor, and has been owned since 1958 by the Hearst Corporation...

    (Hearst, August 2006) ISBN 1-58816-635-X
  • Introduction by John McCain to Pearl Harbor, the Day of Infamy, an Illustrated History by Dan van der Vat
    Dan van der Vat
    Daniel Francis Jeroen van der Vat is a journalist, writer and military historian, with a focus on naval history. Van der Vat grew up in Nazi-German occupied Holland...

     (Black Walnut Books, 2007) ISBN 1-897330-28-6
  • "An Enduring Peace Built on Freedom: Securing America's Future" by John McCain Foreign Affairs
    Foreign Affairs
    Foreign Affairs is an American magazine and website on international relations and U.S. foreign policy published since 1922 by the Council on Foreign Relations six times annually...

    , November/December 2007


External links



  • Senator John McCain official U.S. Senate site
  • John McCain for Senate official campaign site
  • John McCain at Twitter
  • John McCain's Navy Records some of his records released by the United States Navy
    United States Navy
    The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...