February 6, 2006


McCain Blasts -- And We Mean Blasts -- Obama (Hotline On-call, 2/06/06)

An outraged Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) today called Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) insincere and partisan, suggesting the Illinois freshman as much as lied in private discussions the two had about ethics reform last week.

McCain is perhaps the most admired Republican senator in the country and is likely an '08 presidential candidate. Obama, of course, is the Democratic Party's featured player, rivaling Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) in nationwide popularity and fundraising prowess. It is rare for a Senator to rebuke another so publicly, and all the more exceptional that McCain does not cloak his language in layers of euphemism.

"I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform were sincere," McCain writes.

Great politics for the GOP's prohibitive favorite in picking a fight with any Democrat, but even better when it's a potential general election rival. That a featherweight like Mr. Obama is one speaks volumes about the mess the Democrats are in.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 6, 2006 8:26 PM

Well, I'm all for bashing Obama. That's fine. And I'm even resigned to supporting McCain for the nomination.

BUT McCain's superhuman sanctimony saturates every line of this letter. I'm on his side, I can't stand the object of his scorn, and I STILL want to clean McCain's clock after reading this.

He'll be an ok president (I think he is as close to being a lock in 2008 as can possibly be), but just infuriating.

Posted by: rds at February 6, 2006 10:15 PM

rds: He'll be an atrocious President, but President he will be.

Posted by: b at February 6, 2006 10:36 PM


Posted by: joe shropshire at February 6, 2006 10:39 PM

Given their druthers, the media would rather run along with the "maverick" label for McCain for another two years or so, if they were sure his maverick streak would continue to put George W. Bush and other Republicans in the headlights. But going off on the Democrats' young next-best-hope at this time may put them in a quandry, if Obama opts to fight McCain on the issue.

They either have to start trashing John's reputation as a straight shooter now, instead of holding their ammunition until the 2008 general election, or they have to let Barack be hit with a charge of hypocracy/double-dealing that sticks, and makes him a less attractive candidate for either president or as an '08 VP choice. My guess is they hope Obama shuts up and lets this controversy die out, so they don't have to officially choose sides until later.

Posted by: John at February 6, 2006 10:41 PM

maybe mc cain is doing this to force their hand now. he is no fool, and knows what snakes the msm are.

Posted by: machiavelli's toe at February 6, 2006 10:46 PM

Maybe McCain doesn't really support "reform" at all, and Obama knows it. The Democrats have nothing to lost by making "reform", whatever that is, their biggest issue. It's the only thing that sticks with the electorate, with the Abramoff scandal and all. McCain may personally want "reform" to bolster his "maverick" status in the media and among Independents, but the reality is that there is no stomach for any far-reaching "reform" in the GOP caucus. Not in the House or the Senate. Maybe there shouldn't be, and "reform" is just another version of the bogus campaign finance law that McCain sponsored before. But that's a separate argument. What McCain wants is to be the guy who "champions reform", regardless of whether it actually changes anything. Obama understands the dynamics within the GOP caucus. And he astutely melded politics and policy together by supporting a more far-reaching Democratic bill over the GOP+Lieberman&Nelson blue ribbon panel. He pulled the rug out of McCain's "I am America's maverick" facade - one that would have helped Republicans in November by feigning "reform" and helped McCain in 2008 - and so McCain struck back with unprecedented anger. Obama is most certainly a partisan. But so is McCain.

Posted by: Elrod at February 7, 2006 12:12 AM

That letter does not make McCain look good or Obama look bad. Public temper tantrums don't go over well.

Posted by: Pug at February 7, 2006 9:11 AM


They do with the party base, which helps McCain.

Posted by: oj at February 7, 2006 9:22 AM

Unbearable tedium delirium.

Posted by: erp at February 7, 2006 3:46 PM

If he picks Condi for his running mate, I could get enthusiastic.

Posted by: Mike Morley at February 7, 2006 10:02 PM