REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE - JOHN MCCAIN
John Sidney McCain III is an American politician, decorated war veteran, and currently the Republican Senior U.S. Senator from Arizona. He was a presidential candidate in the 2000 election, but was defeated by George W. Bush for the Republican nomination. McCain is one of five veterans from the Vietnam War currently serving in the United States Senate; the others are Thomas Carper (D-DE), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), John Kerry (D-MA), and Jim Webb (D-VA). In 1997, TIME named him as one of the "25 Most Influential People in America".
McCain was born in Coco Solo in the then American-controlled Panama Canal Zone to Admiral John S. McCain, Jr. and Roberta (Wright) McCain. Although McCain was not born within the a state of the United States, his US citizenship (and future eligibility to be elected to the presidency) was assured at birth both by jus sanguinis, since both of his parents were U.S. citizens, and jus soli, as the Canal Zone was at that time a United States possession. Both his father and grandfather were U.S. Navy admirals. His father commanded American forces in Vietnam while McCain was a prisoner of war. His grandfather John S. McCain, Sr. commanded naval aviation at the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. He attended Episcopal High School and graduated in 1954. That autumn, McCain entered the United States Naval Academy, like his father and grandfather. He graduated in 1958.
In 1965, McCain married Carol Shepp, a model originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. McCain adopted his wife's two children Doug and Andy. He and Carol then had a daughter named Sidney. The couple were divorced on April 2, 1980. After graduating from Annapolis, McCain trained as a naval aviator at Pensacola, Florida, and Corpus Christi, Texas. During a practice run in Corpus Christi, his aircraft crashed into Corpus Christi Bay, though he escaped without major injuries. Eventually he graduated and became a naval flight attack pilot.
McCain was again almost killed during July 29, 1967. While Forrestal cruised off the coast of Vietnam with its crew preparing to launch attacks, a Zuni rocket from an F-4 Phantom was accidentally fired across the carrier's deck. The rocket struck McCain's A-4E Skyhawk as the jet was preparing for launch. The impact ruptured the Skyhawk's fuel tank, which ignited the fuel and knocked two bombs loose. McCain escaped from his jet by climbing out of the cockpit, working himself to the nose of the jet, and jumping off its refueling probe onto the burning deck of the aircraft carrier. Ninety seconds after the impact, one of the bombs exploded underneath his airplane. McCain was struck in the legs and chest by shrapnel. The ensuing fire killed 132 sailors, injured 62 others, destroyed at least 20 aircraft, and threatened to sink the ship. After the Forrestal incident, McCain joined the VA-163 Saints on board the short-staffed Oriskany. Before McCain's arrival, on October 26, 1966, a mishandled flare caused a deck fire, resulting in the death of 44 crew, including 24 pilots, and the Oriskany underwent significant repairs.
On October 26, 1967, McCain's A-4 Skyhawk was shot down by an anti-aircraft missile, landing in North Vietnam's Truc Bach Lake, near Hanoi. McCain broke both arms and a leg after ejecting from his plane. After he regained consciousness, a mob gathered around him, spat on him, kicked him and stripped him of his clothing. He was then tortured by soldiers from North Vietnam, who crushed his shoulder with the butt of a rifle and bayoneted him in his left foot and abdominal area. He was then transported to the Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the "Hanoi Hilton." Once McCain arrived at the prison, he was placed in a cell and interrogated daily. When McCain refused to provide any information to his captors, he was beaten until he lost consciousness. When it was discovered his father was the Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Command, (CINCPAC), commander of all U.S. forces in Vietnam, he was offered a chance to return home. McCain turned down the offer of repatriation due to his belief in the principle of "first in, first out": he would only accept the offer if every man taken in before him was released as well.
McCain signed an anti-American propaganda message as a result of rigorous torture methods, which to this day have left him incapable of raising his arms above his head. They tried to force him to sign a second statement, and this time he refused. He received two to three beatings per week because of his continued refusal. McCain was held as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for five and a half years, mostly in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton," and was finally released from captivity in 1973. McCain was reinstated to flight status and became Commanding Officer of the VA-174 Hellrazors, the East Coast A-7 Corsair II Navy training squadron. In 1976 he became the Navy's liaison to the Senate. He retired from the Navy in 1981 as a captain. During his military career, he received a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, the Purple Heart, and a Distinguished Flying Cross. A television film entitled Faith Of My Fathers, based on McCain's memoir of his experiences as a POW, aired on Memorial Day, 2005 on A&E.
In 1980, McCain married Cindy Hensley and moved to Phoenix. McCain went to work for her father's Anheuser-Busch beer distributorship, where he gained political support among the local business community. When John Jacob Rhodes, the longtime Republican congressman from Arizona's 1st congressional district, announced his retirement, McCain ran for the seat as a Republican in 1982 and won. In 1986, upon Republican Senator Barry Goldwater's retirement, McCain was elected to succeed him. McCain became a presidential candidate in the 2000 election, focusing on the New Hampshire primary. In visits to towns he gave a ten-minute talk focused on campaign reform issues, then announced he would stay until he answered every question that everyone had. He made over 200 stops, talking in every town in New Hampshire in an example of "retail politics" that overcame Bush's famous name. He won by 49-30, and suddenly was the celebrity of the hour. Analysts predicted that a McCain victory in the crucial primary in South Carolina would give him unstoppable momentum. However, McCain lost South Carolina, allowing Bush to regain the momentum. Analysts attribute McCain's loss in South Carolina to Bush's mobilization of the state's evangelical voters. Additionally, conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh entered the fray supporting Bush.
McCain publicly praised President Bush during the 2004 U.S. presidential election. He often praised Bush's management since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. McCain's reputation as a moderate appealed to many voters who found President Bush too conservative, and in the 2000 elections, many thought of Bush as the more conservative candidate and McCain as the more moderate candidate. In fact, according to Voteview.com, McCain's voting record in the 109th Congress was the third most conservative among senators. However, his voting record during the 107th Congress, from January 2001 through November 2002, placed him as the 6th most liberal Republican senator, according to the same analysis at voteview.com.
In April 2007, McCain delivered three policy speeches. These focused on Iraq, the U.S. Economy, and on Energy. Sen. McCain's speech on Iraq was delivered to the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) Corps of Cadets after his return from Iraq. His speech centered on his support for a new strategy in Iraq and his opposition to Democratic efforts towards troop withdrawal. The U.S. Senator repeated his criticism of the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq War on April 29, 2007 in Elko, Nevada, and stated that Donald Rumsfeld will be remembered as one the worst defense secretaries in history. Sen. McCain's speech on the U.S. Economy was delivered to the Economic Club of Memphis. In his speech, McCain criticized wasteful spending and reiterated his promise to make any sponsors of pork or earmarks "famous" when he becomes President. Sen. McCain's speech on Energy policy was delivered at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) at the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center in Washington D.C. His speech connected energy independence with national security, climate change, and the environment. McCain proposed increasing ethanol imports, moving from exploration to production of plug-in electric vehicles, and better harnessing nuclear power much as Europe has managed to do.
A lifelong moderate Republican, McCain's American Conservative Union total rating is 82 percent with a 65 percent rating for 2006. However, McCain has supported some initiatives not agreed upon by his own party and has been called a "maverick" by certain members of the American media, because he is brutally honest McCain's reputation as a maverick stems from his active sponsorship of gun control legislation, authorship of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Bill, support for legalizing the status of illegal aliens, his mixed record on environmental issues and affirmative action, and opposition to President Bush's $350 billion in tax breaks over 11 years, which are also known as the Bush Tax cuts. McCain later switched on the issue by saying he favored the tax cuts. McCain also has some traditionally Republican views that include: a strong pro-life voting record, a strong free trade voting record (including a 100% rating from the Cato Institute), wanting private social security accounts, being against socialized health care, supporting school vouchers, supporting the death penalty, supporting mandatory sentencing, and supporting welfare reform.
According to a review by Gun Owners of America (GOA), "in 2001, McCain went from being a supporter of anti-gun bills to being a lead sponsor." Further, McCain was a key sponsor of what GOA calls the "odious McCain-Feingold Incumbent Protection Act. This legislation, characterized by its proponents as campaign finance reform, severely limits the abilities of groups like GOA to inform the public about the gun rights voting records of politicians already in office. In many cases, it becomes illegal to even mention a politician's name in on-air advertising the month before an election." McCain supports legalizing the status of illegal aliens already present in the United States and giving them an avenue toward citizenship. He has also frequently supported increases in guest worker visas and legal immigration. He was among the most prominent Senators pushing for these policies in the immigration debates of 2006 and 2007, and at one point was a cosponsor of one bill with Ted Kennedy.
JOHN MCCAIN QUOTES
"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."
"Common sense conservatives believe in a short list of self-evident truths: love of country; respect for our unique influence on history; a strong defense and strong alliances based on mutual respect and mutual responsibility; steadfast opposition to threats to our security and values that matches resources to ends wisely; and confident, reliable, consistent leadership to advance human rights, democracy, peace and security."
"Sacrifice for a cause greater than yourself, and you invest your life with the eminence of that cause, your self-respect assured."
"The federal government spends too much money, squanders precious resources on questionable projects pushed by special interests, and ignores the priorities of the American taxpayer."
"At its core, abortion is a human tragedy. To effect meaningful change, we must engage the debate at a human level."
"Americans are part of something providential - a great experiment to prove to the world that democracy is not only the most effective form of government, but the only moral government. And through the years, generations of Americans have held fast to the belief that we were meant to transform history. What greater cause could we ever serve?"
"In Iraq our national security interests and our national values converge. Iraq is truly the test of a generation, for America and for our role in the world. Faced with similar challenges, previous generations of Americans have passed such tests with honor. It is now our turn to demonstrate that our power, ennobled by our principles, is the greatest force for good on earth today. Iraq's transformation into a secure democracy and a force for freedom in the greater Middle East is the calling of our age. We can succeed."
"A democratic government operates best in the disinfecting light of the public eye. Ethics and transparency are not election year buzz words; they are the obligations of democracy and the duties of honorable public service."
"For my part, I would simply affirm that the sacrifices borne by veterans deserve to be memorialized in something more lasting than marble or bronze or in the fleeting effect of a politician's speech. Your valor and your devotion to duty have earned your country's abiding concern for your well being. I am, I assure you, committed to honoring that debt."
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John McCain Official Website
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