Publisert av: For the Little Prince - Per | mars 15, 2008

John McCain: What’s Not To Like About John McCain

John McCain:What’s Not To Like About John McCain**************************************************

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John McCain:What’s Not To Like About John McCain


John McCain’s early life began at a military base. He was born on August 29, 1936, at Coco Solo Naval Air Station[2] in Panama within the then-American-controlled Panama Canal Zone to Navy officer John S. McCain, Jr. (1911–1981) and Roberta (Wright) McCain (b. 1912). His father and paternal grandfather both eventually became United States Navy admiralsMcCain has Scots-Irish[4] and English roots.

McCain’s family (including his older sister Sandy and younger brother Joe)[2] followed his father to various naval postings in the United States and the Pacific; altogether he attended about twenty different schools.[6] As a child, John was known for a quick temper, and an aggressive drive to compete and prevail.[7][8] In 1951, the family settled in Northern Virginia and McCain attended Episcopal High School, a private preparatory boarding school in Alexandria.[9] There he excelled at wrestling[10] and graduated in 1954.[8]

On July 3, 1965 McCain married Carol Shepp, a model originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[13] McCain adopted her two children Doug and Andy,[22] who were five and three years old at the time;[20] he and Carol then had a daughter named Sidney in September 1966.[23][24]

McCain requested a combat assignment,[25] and in December 1966 was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal, flying A-4 Skyhawks.[26][27]

Both McCain’s grandfather and father were admirals in the United States Navy. McCain attended the United States Naval Academy and graduated in 1958. He became a naval aviator, flying attack aircraft from carriers. During the Vietnam War in 1967, he narrowly escaped death in the Forrestal fire. On his twenty-third bombing mission over North Vietnam later in 1967, he was shot down and badly injured. He then endured five and a half years as a prisoner of war, including periods of torture, before he was released following the Paris Peace Accords in 1973.

Prisoner of War

John McCain was flying an A-4E Skyhawk like this one (from a different Oriskany squadron) in 1967, when he was shot down.

John McCain was flying an A-4E Skyhawk like this one (from a different Oriskany squadron) in 1967, when he was shot down.

McCain being pulled out of Truc Bach Lake in Hanoi and about to become a prisoner of war on October 26, 1967.

McCain being pulled out of Truc Bach Lake in Hanoi and about to become a prisoner of war[33] on October 26, 1967.

John McCain’s capture and imprisonment began on October 26, 1967. He was flying his twenty-third bombing mission over North Vietnam, when his A-4E Skyhawk was shot down by a Soviet-made SA-2 anti-aircraft missile over Hanoi.[34][35][36][37] McCain fractured both arms and a leg,[38] and then nearly drowned when he parachuted into Truc Bach Lake in Hanoi.[34] After he regained consciousness, a mob gathered around, spat on him, kicked him, and stripped him of his clothes.[39] Others crushed his shoulder with the butt of a rifle and bayoneted him in his left foot and abdominal area; he was then transported to Hanoi’s main Hoa Loa Prison, nicknamed the «Hanoi Hilton» by American POWs.[39][40]

Although McCain was badly wounded, his captors refused to give him medical care unless he gave them military information, beating and interrogating him.[39] Only when the North Vietnamese discovered that his father was a top admiral did they give him medical care[39] and announced his capture. His status as a POW made the front pages of The New York Times[41] and The Washington Post.[42]

McCain spent six weeks in the Hoa Loa hospital, receiving marginal care.[34] Now having lost 50 pounds, in a chest cast, and with his hair turned white,[34] McCain was sent to a different camp on the outskirts of Hanoi[43] in December 1967, into a cell with two other Americans who did not expect him to live a week; they nursed McCain and kept him alive.[44] In March 1968, McCain was put into solitary confinement, where he would remain for two years.[39]

In July 1968, McCain’s father was named commander of all U.S. forces in the Vietnam theater.[2] McCain was immediately offered a chance to return home early:[34] The North Vietnamese wanted a worldwide propaganda coup by appearing merciful, and also wanted to show other POWs that elites like McCain were willing to be treated preferentially.[39] McCain turned down the offer of repatriation; he would only accept the offer if every man taken in before him was released as well.[45] McCain’s refusal to be released was even remarked upon by North Vietnamese senior negotiator Le Duc Tho to U.S. envoy Averell Harriman during the ongoing Paris Peace Talks.[46]

In August of 1968, a program of severe torture methods began on McCain, using rope bindings into painful positions, and beatings every two hours, at the same time as he was suffering from dysentery.[39][34] McCain made an anti-American propaganda «confession» that said he was a «black criminal» and an «air pirate».[34] He has always felt that his statement was dishonorable,[47] but as he would later write, «I had learned what we all learned over there: Every man has his breaking point. I had reached mine.»[39] His injuries left him permanently incapable of raising his arms above his head.[48] He subsequently received two to three beatings per week because of his continued refusal to sign additional statements.[49] Other American POWs were similarly tortured and maltreated in order to extract «confessions»,[39] with many enduring even worse treatment than McCain.[50]

McCain refused to meet with various anti-war peace groups coming to Hanoi, not wanting to give either them or the North Vietnamese a propaganda victory based on his connection to his father.[39] From late 1969 on, treatment of McCain and some of the other POWs became more tolerable after disclosures to the world press of the conditions to which they were being subjected.[39] McCain and other prisoners were moved around to different camps at times, and later cheered the B-52-led U.S. «Christmas Bombing» campaign of December 1972 as a forceful measure to force North Vietnam to terms.[39][51]

Altogether, McCain was held as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for five and a half years. The Paris Peace Accords were signed on January 27, 1973, ending direct U.S. involvement in the war, but the Operation Homecoming arrangements for POWs took longer; McCain was finally released from captivity on March 15, 1973.[52]

You can read more about John McCain’s release here:

Return to United States

McCain’s return to the United States reunited him with his wife and family. His wife Carol had suffered her own crippling, near-death ordeal during his captivity, due to an automobile accident in December 1969.[53] As a returned POW, McCain became a celebrity of sorts.[54][39] The photograph at left of him on crutches shaking the hand of President Richard Nixon during a White House reception for returning POWs became iconic.[53]

McCain underwent treatment for his injuries, including months of grueling physical therapy,[55] and attended the National War College in Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. during 1973–1974.[53][18] By late 1974 McCain had recuperated enough to have his flight status reinstated,[53] and he became Commanding Officer of a large A-7 Corsair II Navy training squadron stationed in Florida.[53][18][56] McCain’s leadership abilities were credited with turning around a mediocre unit and winning the squadron its first Meritorious Unit Commendation.[55] During this period, the McCains’ marriage began to falter;[57] he would later say he was to blame.[57]

«I attribute [the breakup of our marriage] more to John turning 40 and wanting to be 25 again than I do to anything else.»[

n 1979,[55] McCain met and began a relationship with Cindy Lou Hensley, a teacher from Phoenix, Arizona, whose father was a wealthy Anheuser-Busch distributor.[57] By then McCain’s naval career had stalled;[60] it was unlikely he would ever be promoted to admiral as his grandfather and father had been,[55] because he had poor annual physicals and had been given no major sea command.[61]

His wife Carol accepted a divorce in February of 1980,[55] and the uncontested divorce occurred on April 2, 1980.[22] The settlement included two houses, and financial support for her ongoing medical treatments resulting from the 1969 automobile accident; they would remain on good terms.[57] McCain and Hensley were married on May 17, 1980.[13]

McCain retired from the Navy on April 1, 1981,[62] as a Captain.[63] During his military career, he received a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, the Purple Heart and a Distinguished Flying Cross.[64]

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The House and Senate Career of John McCain, 1982–1999

U.S. Congressman and More Children

McCain set his sights on becoming a Congressman. Living in Phoenix, he went to work for Hensley & Co., his new father-in-law Jim Hensley‘s large Anheuser-Busch beer distributorship, as Vice President of Public Relations.[57] There he gained political support among the local business community,[58] meeting powerful figures such as banker Charles Keating, Jr., real estate developer Fife Symington III,[57] and newspaper publisher Darrow «Duke» Tully.[58] In 1982, McCain ran as a Republican for an open seat in Arizona’s 1st congressional district.[65] As a newcomer to the state, McCain was hit with repeated charges of being a carpetbagger.[57] McCain responded to a voter making the charge with what a Phoenix Gazette columnist would later label as «the most devastating response to a potentially troublesome political issue I’ve ever heard»:[57]

Listen, pal. I spent 22 years in the Navy. My father was in the Navy. My grandfather was in the Navy. We in the military service tend to move a lot. We have to live in all parts of the country, all parts of the world. I wish I could have had the luxury, like you, of growing up and living and spending my entire life in a nice place like the First District of Arizona, but I was doing other things. As a matter of fact, when I think about it now, the place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi.[57][66]

With the assistance of local political endorsements, his Washington connections, as well money that his wife lent to his campaign,[58] McCain won a highly contested primary election,[57] then easily won the general election in the heavily Republican district.[57]

McCain was elected the president of the 1983 Republican freshman class of representatives.[57] His politics at this point were mainly in line with President Ronald Reagan, and he was active on Indian Affairs bills.[67] He won re-election to the House easily in 1984.[57]

In 1984 McCain and his wife Cindy had their first child together, daughter Meghan. She was followed two years later by son John Sidney IV (known as «Jack»), and in 1988 by son James.[68] In 1991, Cindy McCain brought an abandoned three-month old girl needing medical treatment to the U.S. from a Bangladeshi orphanage run by Mother Teresa;[69] the McCains decided to adopt her, and named her Bridget.[70]

Political views

A lifelong Republican, McCain’s American Conservative Union rating is 83 percent. However, McCain has supported some initiatives not agreed upon by his own party and has been called a «maverick» by some members of the American media.

McCain has consistently shown himself to be a prominent «hawk» on foreign policy. McCain supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the U.S. decision to overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime, of a continued, and increased, military presence, and most of Bush’s foreign policies. His speech at the 2004 Republican National Convention centered around that theme. Despite offering support for war, McCain has urged the Bush administration to make «significant policy changes» in the Iraq War; yet, «stay the course.» He criticized The Pentagon several times, most notably concerning low troop strength in Iraq, and has called for a diversification of Iraqi national forces to better represent the multiple ethnic groups contained within the country. He stated that the United States government must do more to keep public support high for the war, stressing that «America, Iraq and the world are better off with Saddam Hussein in prison rather than in power.and we must honor their sacrifice by seeing this mission through to victory.» McCain’s full speech on the matter from mid-November 2005 can be read at his Senate website.

McCain has stated that he had «no confidence» in former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, but refused to act on his words to call for his resignation, explaining that «the president picks his team, and the president has the right to stay with that team if he wants to.»

Environmental Issues

His concerns over global warming and other environmental issues have put him at odds with the Bush administration and other Republicans. On the other hand, he has voted for the bills supporting the drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Social issues

McCain voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment, arguing that each state should be able to choose whether to recognize gay marriage (he supported the Arizona initiative to ban gay marriage ).

Illegal Immigration

McCain has initiated legislation to find a solution to illegal immigration through guest worker programs. His legislation coauthored with Senator Kennedy was a major focus of debate in 2006. He has supported some moves to expand immigration to the US-including expansion of the H-1B visa program (though H-1B is technically a non-immigrant visa). In 2005, he co-sponsored a bill with Ted Kennedy that would expand use of guest worker visas. However, he voted for the permanent ban on the immigration of individuals living with HIV. Speaking about the immigration reform protests, McCain warned the Hispanic community that it may experience a backlash if too many Hispanic flags were flown during the protests. McCain has criticized conservatives like Rush Limbaugh for not supporting more lenient immigration laws.


McCain has announced that he supports the inclusion of intelligent design teaching in schools. In 2005, McCain told the Arizona Daily Star that he believes «all points of view» should be available to students.

McCain is a member of The Republican Main Street Partnership and supports stem cell research despite his earlier opposition to the research.


McCain firmly supports the State of Israel. He demonstrated his strong support when he made a speech addressing AIPAC on April 23, 2002. During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, McCain said Israel’s response to the assault by Islamic guerrillas is appropriate. «What would we do if somebody came across our borders and killed our soldiers and captured our soldiers?,» says McCain. «Do you think we would be exercising total restraint?» Such restraint should come from Hezbollah and the nations sponsoring it, notably Iran, McCain said in remarks that became a freewheeling, far-reaching speech on foreign policy, including his views on matters involving North Korea, Iraq and the U.S. war on terrorism.

Senator McCain tried to persuade FIFA to ban Iran from the 2006 World Cup. given Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s comments that the Holocaust never happened (which is a criminal offense in Germany).

«Gang of 14» and Senate filibuster

On May 23, 2005, McCain was one of fourteen Senators to forge a compromise on the Democrats’ use of the judicial filibuster, thus eliminating the need for the Republican leadership’s attempt to implement the so-called «nuclear option». Under the agreement, senators would retain the power to filibuster a judicial nominee, the Democrats would agree to use this power against Bush nominees only in an «extraordinary circumstance», the Republicans involved would agree to vote against the nuclear option if implemented, and three of the most contested Bush appellate court nominees (Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen and William Pryor) would receive a vote by the full Senate.

Detention and torture of extrajudicial prisoners

The McCain Detainee Amendment was an amendment to the United States Senate Department of Defense Authorization bill, commonly referred to as the Amendment on (1) the Army Field Manual and (2) Cruel, Inhumane, Degrading Treatment, amendment #1977 and also known as the McCain Amendment 1977. It became the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 as Title X of the Department of Defense Authorization bill. The amendment prohibits inhumane treatment of prisoners, including prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, by confining interrogations to the techniques in FM 34-52 Intelligence Interrogation.

Senator McCain, as a former POW, was previously recognized for his sensitivity to the issue of the detention and interrogation of detainees from the War on Terror. On October 3, 2005, Senator McCain introduced the McCain Detainee Amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill for 2005. On October 5, 2005, the United States Senate voted 90-9 to support the amendment.

On December 15, 2005, President Bush announced that he accepted McCain’s terms and will «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.» President Bush made clear his interpretation of this legislation on December 30th, 2005, in a signing statement, reserving what he interpreted to be his Presidential constitutional authority in order to avoid further terrorist attacks.

McCain argues that American military and intelligence personnel in future wars will suffer for abuses committed in 2006 by the US in the name of fighting terrorism. He fears the administration’s policy will put American prisoners at risk of torture, summary executions and other atrocities by chipping away at Geneva Convention. He argues that his rival bill to Bush.s plan gives defendants access to classified evidence being used to convict them and will set tight limits on use of testimony obtained by coercion. Furthermore it offers CIA interrogators some legal protections from charges of abuse, but rejects the administration.s plan to more narrowly define the Geneva Conventions. standards for humane treatment of prisoners. McCain insists this issue overrides politics.

McCain, whose six years of captivity and torture in Vietnam made him a national celebrity, negotiated (in September 2006) a compromise in the Senate for the Military Commissions Act of 2006, suspending habeas corpus provisions for anyone deemed by the Executive Branch an «unlawful combatant» and barring them from challenging their detentions in court. (McCain himself was tortured in Vietnam, signing a false confession in 1968.) Coming on the heels of a Supreme Court decision adverse to the White House, McCain’s compromise gave a retroactive, nine-year immunity to U.S. officials who authorized, ordered, or committed acts of torture and abuse, and permitted the use of statements obtained through torture to be used in military tribunals so long as the abuse took place by December 30, 2005. McCain’s compromise permitted the President to establish permissible interrogation techniques and to «interpret the meaning and application» of international Geneva Convention standards, so long as the coercion fell short of «serious» bodily or psychological injury. Widely dubbed McCain’s «torture compromise», the bill was signed into law by George W. Bush on October 17, 2006, shortly before the 2006 midterm elections.

Campaign finance regulation

An advocate of government restrictions on campaign spending and contributions, McCain made campaign finance reform a central issue in his 2000 presidential bid. With Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin he pushed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 which banned unlimited donations to national political parties («soft money») and curtailed issue-advocacy ads.

Controversy and John McCain

Keating Five Controversy

The Keating Five (or Keating Five Scandal) refers to a Congressional scandal related to the collapse of most of the Savings and Loan institutions in the United States in the late 1980s. McCain was one of five senators who met at least twice in 1987 with Ed Gray, chairman of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, seeking to prevent the government’s seizure of Lincoln Savings and Loan, a subsidiary of Charles H. Keating’s American Continental Corporation. Between 1982-1987, McCain received approximately $112,000 in political contributions from Keating and his associates. In addition, McCain’s wife and her father had invested $359,100 in a Keating shopping center in April 1986, a year before McCain met with the regulators. McCain, his family and baby-sitter made at least nine trips at Keating’s expense, sometimes aboard the American Continental jet. After learning Keating was in trouble over Lincoln, McCain paid for the air trips totalling $13,433. Federal regulators ultimately filed a $1.1 billion civil racketeering and fraud suit against Keating, accusing him of siphoning Lincoln’s deposits to his family and into political campaigns. McCain received a rebuke from the Ethics Committee for exercising poor judgment for intervening with the federal regulators on behalf of Keating. On his Keating Five experience, 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.»

Other Controversies

  • In 1998, McCain was chastised for reportedly making an off-color joke at a Republican fundraiser about President Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea, saying «Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno.» McCain later apologized to President Clinton and Clinton accepted his apology.
  • McCain has acknowledged engaging in extramarital affairs upon returning from Vietnam. While he was in Vietnam, his wife Carol had been severely injured in a car accident. Upon returning home in 1973, McCain found his wife to be very different from when he had married her. He soon began engaging in extramarital affairs and in 1979, he met Cindy Hensley. A year later, McCain sought a divorce from Carol and a month after that, he married Cindy. McCain remains on good terms with Carol, who said in 2000, «I’m crazy about John McCain and I love him to pieces.»
  • Joan Molinaro, Bruce De Cell, Grace Godshalk and Peter Gadiel of «9/11 Families for a Secure America» accused McCain of «screaming at them» during a chance encounter with McCain when they criticized his proposed immigration reform bills, which they felt were not strict enough in stopping terrorists from crossing the southern border.
  • McCain is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Republican Institute, which has been accused by a former U.S. ambassador to Haiti of undermining negotiations between Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his opposition after the contested 2000 election.

Appearances on radio, television and in movies

McCain has made appearances in various entertainment media. He was criticized for his cameo in the 2005 summer movie Wedding Crashers. It prompted some critics to accuse McCain of hypocrisy due to his earlier criticisms of Hollywood for creating too many movies of that style. Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report, commenting on McCain’s appearance, referred to the film as a «boob raunch fest.» McCain responded during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno by joking that he is «working with boobs all the time in Washington.».

McCain hosted the October 12, 2002 episode of Saturday Night Live, making him the second U.S. Senator after Paul Simon, to host the show.

In the 2005 documentary Why We Fight by Eugene Jarecki, McCain is interviewed.

McCain made a brief cameo on the show 24.

He appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 2005 in a bit entitled Secrets.

A 2005 made-for-TV movie, «Faith of My Fathers,» was based on John McCain’s memoirs of his experience in the Vietnam War.

John McCain: What’s Not To Like About John McCain? By Sandy S. Zoo

Reading excerpts from a variety of sources, I learned that

John McCain is a Moderate Republican. [You need to cite this, Sandy.]

In describing John McCain, the word colorful comes to mind.

However, the John McCain that I have observed over the last

eight years is a very strong man, with strong opinions, and

with strong ties to his family.

The word colorful, regarding John McCain, evolves into a

more respectful word: passionate.

Studying the life of John McCain as a young man the

words that comes to mind are bold and feisty.

John McCain, admittedly, had, and still has, a fighting spirit.

That is, essentially, the character trait, that saw him through

his ordeal as a POW. And, reading about his faith and his

upbringing in the church, John McCain kept his faith, I

believe. It is not to say that he was perfect. But, his life

speaks loudly in saying that ‘he never gave up’. And, through

the crises of his life; he found new life, ‘true’ love and family.

Those are the kind of qualities you would look for in the

Future President of the United States. Throughout the

years, he has proven himself to be a formidable leader. I kind

of like the guy.

Sandy S. Zoo * ©2008 * Sandy and Co


This is my First Draft: Material will be properly cited.

Sandy S. Zoo 3/14/08


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