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What You Might Not Know About John McCain

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

YES, YOU KNOW THAT JOHN MCCAIN

IS A SENATOR FROM ARIZONA AND THAT HE WAS HELD PRISONER IN THE VIETNAM WAR, BUT YOU MAY NOT KNOW . . .

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1. For most of his career, McCain was a darling of the pro-gun movement and an A-rated politician backed by the National Rifle Association. But in 2000, he strained his relations with the gun lobby by appearing in TV ads for a gun-control group that promoted ballot initiatives in two states that would require criminal background checks for people who buy firearms at gun shows. The NRA eventually docked his grade, and his latest rating, from 2004, is a C.

2. This fall, McCain gave a campaign speech at Clemson University's Strom Thurmond Institute, a tribute in part to the legendary South Carolina senator who served until age 100. But McCain and Thurmond didn't always enjoy a perfect relationship as GOP senators who both had reputations for being a bit combative at times. Thurmond threw his support behind George W. Bush in the critical 2000 Republican presidential primary in South Carolina, spurning his Senate colleague. And in 1995, McCain and Thurmond, then 92, reportedly had an altercation at a Senate hearing over a lengthy opening statement that McCain gave and Thurmond tried to cut off.

3. McCain has taken his shots at Washington lobbyists over the years as he advocated campaign finance reform and made a name for himself criticizing wasteful federal spending. But before his political career began, he was a lobbyist of sorts as the Navy's liaison to the U.S. Senate. In that job, McCain lobbied lawmakers for a new aircraft carrier even when his White House and Pentagon bosses didn't want it. He became the drinking buddy of lawmakers and their staffs, and his Navy office became a popular afternoon hangout for lawmakers.

4. In a recent interview with Beliefnet.com, McCain said he believes "that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation." And when asked how he thinks a Muslim presidential candidate would fare, he said: "I just have to say in all candor that since this nation was founded primarily on Christian principles . . . personally, I prefer someone who I know who has a solid grounding in my faith. But that doesn't mean that I'm sure that someone who is Muslim would not make a good president."

-- John Solomon


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