Election 2008


The Presidential Candidates: John McCain

January 18, 2008
by findingDulcinea Staff
Senator from Arizona, former prisoner of war and noted author, John McCain is the Republican presidential candidate whose prospects looked bleak only a year ago.


John McCain’s official Web site details his life. The grandson and son of highly decorated navy admirals, he attended the U.S. Naval Academy and logged 22 years as a naval aviator. He served in Vietnam, spending five years as a prisoner of war under brutal conditions. Upon retiring from the navy in 1981, he ran successfully for a congressional seat in Arizona, and was elected as a senator in 1986.  McCain won several early Republican primaries in 2000, but ultimately lost the nomination to George Bush.

Sasha Issenberg of The Boston Globe traced McCain’s political career in a November 2007 article. Titled “Defining Moments,” the article discusses McCain’s handling of a scandal in the early 1990s regarding his meeting with bank regulators at the behest of a campaign contributor. Other senators involved in the matter hunkered down, but McCain openly acknowledged his role. He won reelection in 1992 by turning the issue on its ear and evangelizing for campaign contribution reform, which he continues to this day.  Issenberg writes that McCain emerged during the 2000 primaries as “the charismatic front man for a national constituency that appeared to transcend all that was small and petty about American public life.”

Too Conservative, Too Liberal

In contrast to the policies of the Bush administration, McCain views American reliance on foreign oil as a threat to national security, and global warming  "a serious and urgent economic, environmental, and national security challenge" that "isn’t a Hollywood invention."

During an interview for the "PostTalk" program on washingtonpost.com, McCain pitched his “outsider” bona fides, saying he has repeatedly challenged the Washington establishment during his political career. He also discussed the journey from the dark days of midsummer to his recent front-runner status once the primaries commenced.

McCain said that he felt his comeback began in early September, with a good performance in a debate held on the University of New Hampshire campus. "It wasn't well publicized or covered, but a lot of people in New Hampshire watched that debate that night and we made slow but steady progress."

Straight Talk

In a Wall Street Journal article, Dorothy Rabinowitz lists the unpopular positions that have cost McCain votes—on the Iraq war, his support for President Bush, his stand on immigration—and says “That ingrained pride of his that forbids pandering for political gain—that would be shamed by lying about his deeply held views—is what is old about him. Old in the sense that honor of this kind is sufficiently rare, now, that it's a subject of wonderment to people when they find it in someone, as they have in John McCain.”

Speech and Dialogue

Project Vote Smart’s Web site links to transcripts of speeches and other discussions in which McCain has taken part, listed in reverse-chronological order.

McCain sat for a 48-minute interview with National Public Radio on October 21, 2002.

A Profile in Pictures

Reuters offers a slideshow of pictures taken over the past eight years.
To find out more about all the presidential candidates and the sites providing the best coverage, read the findingDulcinea 2008 Election Guide.

Most Recent Features