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Sen. John McCain is full of great admiration

Sen. John McCain: Great admirer or greatest admirer? (Source: Post TV)

Like any good dad, Sen. John McCain knows how to destroy a joke. Once he’s found a phrase he likes, he holds on tight.

On Sunday, McCain (R-Ariz.) appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” and was asked about two of the hottest topics in politics right now: the traffic scandal swirling around New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s harsh take on President Obama’s leadership.

Before he got to answering the host’s questions, he wanted to make one thing clear: he’s “a great admirer” of both men. McCain’s actually a fan of a lot of people, it turns out. He’s been using the phrase repeatedly for at least a decade. Just for fun, here’s a hardly comprehensive list of the people—and in some cases things and nations—McCain admires, compiled mostly from just the first five pages of search results. (To save you from counting, there are 23 instances and one bonus.)

January 2014: “I’m a great admirer of Secretary Gates.” (Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.)

January 2014: “I’m a great admirer of Governor Christie.” (New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.)

October 2013: “I’m a great admirer of the speaker.” (House Speaker John Boehner.)

September 2013: “I’m a great admirer of Russia.” (The nation.)

March 2013: “I’m a great admirer of Charles.” (Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer.)

February 2013: “I’m a great admirer of Secretary Panetta’s.” (Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.)

October 2012: “I’m a great admirer of the Secretary of State.” (Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.)

October 2012: “I’m a great admirer of his.” (Former Florida Rep. Allen West.)

April 2012: “I’m a great admirer of Raffi.” (Hockey player Raffi Torres.)

September 2010: “I’m a great admirer of him.” (Former Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware.)

May 2010: “I’m a great admirer of President Calderon.” (Former Mexican President Filipe Calderon.)

November 2008: “I’m a great admirer.” (Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt.)

July 2008: “I’m a great admirer of Tom Ridge.” (Former Secretary of Homeland Security.)

June 2008: “I’m a great admirer.” (Former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.)

April 2008: “I’m a great admirer of Secretary Rice.” (Former Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice.)

February 2008: “I’m a great admirer of his.” (Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert.)

January 2008: “I’m a great admirer of the education reform here in the state of Florida.”

October 2007: “I’m a great admirer of the Governor’s.” (Former New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch.)

September 2006: “I’m a great admirer of the Governor, Martha Rainville and Rich Tarrant.” (Former Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, congressional candidate Martha Rainville and Senate hopeful Rich Tarrant.)

March 2005: “I’m a great admirer of Governor Bush.” (Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.)

February 2005: “I’m a great admirer of Governor Bush.” (Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.)

December 2004: “I’m a great admirer of Mr. Volcker’s.” (Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.)

April 2003: “I’m a great admirer of Rumsfeld.” (Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.)

But there is one group that McCain claims to admire more than any other:

April 2008: “There‘s nobody I admire more than great athletes.”

Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

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