Friday, April 4, 2008


MICHAEL KRANISH, BOSTON GLOBE, JAN 27 Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi, who has known Senator John McCain for more than three decades, on Wednesday endorsed Mitt Romney for president.

Cochran said his choice was prompted partly by his fear of how McCain might behave in the Oval Office.

"The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine," Cochran said about McCain by phone. "He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."

McCain's run-ins with other Republican senators are legendary. Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa said in an interview that he was so upset by a McCain tirade that he didn't speak to him for two years. Grassley, who said he will make no endorsement, nonetheless says McCain is the most qualified among the five GOP candidates to be president. . .

McCain supporters say the senator more recently has tamed his temper as well as his political style. For example, they note that while McCain in 2000 said some religious conservative leaders were "agents of intolerance," the senator made a point of courting some of the same leaders in this campaign. . .

During McCain's 2000 campaign, his hometown newspaper, The Arizona Republic, published an editorial saying that the country should be warned about McCain's "volcanic" temper.

In his memoir, "Worth the Fighting For," McCain provided what appears to be his fullest explanation of the subject, acknowledging his temper but writing that he sometimes uses it strategically.

"My temper has often been both a matter of public speculation and personal concern," McCain wrote. "I have a temper, to state the obvious, which I have tried to control with varying degrees of success because it does not always serve my interest or the public's. I have regretted losing my temper on many occasions. But there are things worth getting angry about in politics, and I have at times tried to use my anger to incite public outrage. I make no apologies for that. . . . When public servants lose their capacity for outrage over practices injurious to the national interest, they have outlived their usefulness to the country."

Grassley, the Iowa Republican, has often tangled with McCain over ethanol subsidies, which Grassley views as crucial and McCain has said he sees as wasteful. But the hottest disagreement took place when the two got into a heated argument in 1992 over McCain's contention that a former prisoner of war in Vietnam had been a traitor. McCain peered closely into Grassley's face as he shouted an obscenity at his Iowa colleague, according to reports published over the years.

Grassley, asked whether the reports were accurate, acknowledged the feud and said: "We didn't speak for a couple of years. Then, one time, he came up to me and said, 'Chuck, we need to talk,' and we have had friendly conversations ever since.". . .

McCain's feuds with other senators have surfaced regularly. McCain has written about how he screamed at Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama an inch away from his face after Shelby voted against the 1989 nomination of John Tower as defense secretary. "I was madder than hell when I accosted him . . . and the incident is one of the occasions when my temper lived up to its much exaggerated legend."

While that encounter happened years ago, the Washington Post reported a similar outburst by McCain last year when he shouted an obscenity during a confrontation with Senator John Cornyn, the Texas Republican, over an immigration bill.

By his own account, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the front-runner for the 2008 presidential race, had trouble controlling his anger long before he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

RON KESSLER, 2006 Back in 1999, McCain allowed reporters from the Arizona Republic, New York Times, and The Associated Press to review 1,500 pages of his medical and psychiatric records from his service in the military. McCain would not allow reporters to copy the records. Only a few papers ran details relating to his temper.

The documents, which include the results of annual psychiatric exams after he was released from a North Vietnamese prison in 1973, indicate McCain was not diagnosed with any psychiatric disorder and had adjusted well to his ordeal. McCain's imprisonment began in October 1967 when he was shot down over Hanoi. However, in response to the question, "What traits do you have that others object to?" McCain answered, "Quick temper.". . .

A July 5 NewsMax article quoted former Sen. Bob Smith, a New Hampshire Republican who served with McCain on the Senate Armed Services Committee, as saying, "I have witnessed incidents where he has used profanity at colleagues and exploded at colleagues . . . He would disagree about something and then explode. It was incidents of irrational behavior. We've all had incidents where we have gotten angry, but I've never seen anyone act like that."

McCain's outbursts often erupted when other members rebuffed his requests for support during his bid in 2000 for the Republican nomination for president, the story said. "People who disagree with him get the f*** you,'" said former Rep. John LeBoutillier, a New York Republican who had an encounter with McCain when he was on a POW task force in the House.

"He had very few friends in the Senate," said former Sen. Smith, who dealt with McCain almost daily. "He has a lot of support around the country, but I don't think he has a lot of support from people who know him well.". . .

At other times, McCain is simply nasty, those who know him say. Last February, McCain sent Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., a mocking letter, saying he wanted to "apologize" for "assuming" Obama's private assurances of working together were sincere.

"I'm embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics, I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss routinely used in politics to make self-interested partisan posturing appear more noble," McCain said sarcastically. "Again, sorry for the confusion, but please be assured I won't make the same mistake again.". . .

Democrat Paul Johnson, the former mayor of Phoenix, saw McCain's temper up close. "His volatility borders in the area of being unstable," Johnson has said. "Before I let this guy put his finger on the button, I would have to give considerable pause."

"I think he is mentally unstable and not fit to be president," former congressman LeBoutillier said.

Many have thought that McCain might have developed his out-of-control temper while a POW. But as described in his military records, McCain's anger pre-dated his captivity.

Only a few news outlets, like the Phoenix New Times in Arizona and the National Journal have run an Associated Press story reporting McCain's 1998 joke suggesting that Chelsea Clinton was ugly and that Janet Reno and Hillary Clinton were lesbians. "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?" McCain said at a GOP fund-raiser in Washington. "Because Janet Reno is her father."

In a major exception to what it called the "fawning" treatment the national media give McCain, the Arizona Republic, in a front page article and separate editorial in October 1999, said it wanted the nation to know about the "volcanic" temper McCain had unleashed on top state officials. "McCain often insults people and flies off the handle," the editorial said. Moreover, he is often "sarcastic and condescending." The paper said that it was "time the rest of the nation learned about the John McCain we know in Arizona." The editorial said there is reason to "seriously question" whether McCain has the "temperament" to be president.

WONKETTE - In 1995, at the Capitol, McCain had a "scuffle" with 92-year-old Republican Senator Strom Thurmond. That's right, McCain tried to beat up the one person who was even older than McCain himself.

. . . When two Arizona medical doctors met with McCain to discuss a local endangered squirrel, "He slammed his fists on his desk, scattering papers across the room . . . He jumped up and down, screaming obscenities at us for at least 10 minutes. He shook his fists as if he was going to slug us."


At April 4, 2008 6:36 PM, Anonymous Brad said...

Strom Thurmond was a true conservative. McCain is a fraud.


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