McCain’s Temper; Washington Post story reports screaming and shoving

From yesterday’s Washington Post, this hot story.


Former senator Bob Smith, a New Hampshire Republican, expresses worries about McCain: “His temper would place this country at risk in international affairs, and the world perhaps in danger. In my mind, it should disqualify him.”

A spokesman for McCain’s campaign said he would be unavailable for an interview on the subject of his temper. But over the years, no one has written more intimately about McCain’s outbursts than McCain himself. “My temper has often been both a matter of public speculation and personal concern,” he wrote in a 2002 memoir. “I have a temper, to state the obvious, which I have tried to control with varying degrees of success because it does not always serve my interest or the public’s.”

Hmm. Does this report make you sleep better at night?

  21 comments for “McCain’s Temper; Washington Post story reports screaming and shoving

  1. April 21, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    I’m currently reading Cliff Schecter’s book called “The Real McCain” and it’s quite an eye opener. I recommend it.

  2. anon
    April 22, 2008 at 8:26 am

    I’m no McCain fan, but this post seems to be simply more of the personality-based politics that the MSM keeps shoving down our throats. To put it bluntly, It’s The Issues, Stupid.

    So he loses his cool sometimes. Fact is, many, many of our Presidents have been real harda**es behind closed doors. So what? C’mon people, can we focus on the issues most Americans REALLY care about?

  3. Dan Chmielewski
    April 22, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Yet there is no double standard when it comes to criticizing Hillary or Obama. If the MSM can focus on people who live in Obama’s neighborhood who did terrible things when he was 8 or Hillary’s sniper fire comments, McCain’s Hulk-like anger is also an issue. Unless you want to talk about the importance of flag pins on our lapels?

  4. anon
    April 22, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Dan, the MSM is engaging in these petty personality-based politics with all three of the candidates. There’s just more with Obama and Clinton right now because they’re still slugging it out. That will likely change when we have our candidate determined.

    Now, you aren’t SERIOUSLY an advocate for this kind of “journalism”, are you?

  5. Dan Chmielewski
    April 22, 2008 at 10:40 am

    The article interviews multiple Republican senators, who have almost completely endorsed McCain. Democrats fall in love with their Candidates; Republicans fall in line with theirs. If issues of Obama’;s patriotism and Hillary’s truthfulness warrant the coverage they’ve received to date, McCain’s anger management issues are fair game.

    Because if the MSM does focus on issues, McCain’s voting record aligns with President Bush 89 percent of the time and he has flip flopped on most things that matter to conservatives. Lets bring on a fact based, issued based coverage to this campaign; and if we do, what would the Fox guys have to talk about?

  6. anon
    April 22, 2008 at 11:10 am


    I’ll take that as a YES…you ARE an advocate for that kind of “journalism”.

    Either that, or your basic perspective is “they’re doing it to our guys/gals, so we need to do it to theirs”. That’s kinda weak.

  7. Dan Chmielewski
    April 22, 2008 at 11:14 am

    HT to the Conservative College Blog:

    1) Defending His Amnesty Bill, Sen. McCain Lost His Temper And “Screamed, ‘F*ck You!’ At Texas Sen. John Cornyn” (R-TX). “Presidential hopeful John McCain – who has been dogged for years by questions about his volcanic temper – erupted in an angry, profanity-laced tirade at a fellow Republican senator, sources told The Post yesterday. In a heated dispute over immigration-law overhaul, McCain screamed, ‘F— you!’ at Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who had been raising concerns about the legislation. ‘This is chickens—stuff,’ McCain snapped at Cornyn, according to several people in the room off the Senate floor Thursday. ‘You’ve always been against this bill, and you’re just trying to derail it.’” (Charles Hurt, “Raising McCain,” New York Post, 5/19/07)

    2) In 2000, Sen. McCain Ran An Attack Ad Comparing Then-Gov. George W. Bush To Bill Clinton. SEN. MCCAIN: “I guess it was bound to happen. Governor Bush’s campaign is getting desperate, with a negative ad about me. The fact is, I’ll use the surplus money to fix Social Security, cut your taxes and pay down the debt. Governor Bush uses all of the surplus for tax cuts, with not one new penny for Social Security or the debt. His ad twists the truth like Clinton. We’re all pretty tired of that. As president, I’ll be conservative and always tell you the truth. No matter what.” (McCain 2000, Campaign Ad, 2/9/00;

    3) Sen. McCain Repeatedly Called Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) An “A**hole”, Causing A Fellow GOP Senator To Say, “I Didn’t Want This Guy Anywhere Near A Trigger.” “Why can’t McCain win the votes of his own colleagues? To explain, a Republican senator tells this story: at a GOP meeting last fall, McCain erupted out of the blue at the respected Budget Committee chairman, Pete Domenici, saying, ‘Only an a–hole would put together a budget like this.’ Offended, Domenici stood up and gave a dignified, restrained speech about how in all his years in the Senate, through many heated debates, no one had ever called him that. Another senator might have taken the moment to check his temper. But McCain went on: ‘I wouldn’t call you an a–hole unless you really were an a–hole.’ The Republican senator witnessing the scene had considered supporting McCain for president, but changed his mind. ‘I decided,’ the senator told Newsweek, ‘I didn’t want this guy anywhere near a trigger.’” (Evan Thomas, et al., “Senator Hothead,” Newsweek, 2/21/00)

    4) Sen. McCain Had A Heated Exchange With Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) And Called Him A “F*cking Jerk.” “Senators are not used to having their intelligence or integrity challenged by another senator. ‘Are you calling me stupid?’ Sen. Chuck Grassley once inquired during a debate with McCain over the fate of the Vietnam MIAs, according to a source who was present. ‘No,’ replied McCain, ‘I’m calling you a f—ing jerk!’ (Grassley and McCain had no comment.)” (Evan Thomas, et al., “Senator Hothead,” Newsweek, 2/21/00)

    5) In 1995, Sen. McCain Had A “Scuffle” With 92-Year-Old Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC) On The Senate Floor. “In January 1995, McCain was midway through an opening statement at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing when chairman Strom Thurmond asked, ‘Is the senator about through?’ McCain glared at Thurmond, thanked him for his ‘courtesy’ (translation: buzz off), and continued on. McCain later confronted Thurmond on the Senate floor. A scuffle ensued, and the two didn’t part friends.” (Harry Jaffe, “Senator Hothead,” The Washingtonian, 2/97)

    6) Sen. McCain Accused Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Of The “Most Egregious Incident” Of Corruption He Had Seen In The Senate. “It escalated when McCain reiterated the charges Oct. 10 in a cross-examination, calling McConnell’s actions the ‘most egregious incident’ demonstrating the appearance of corruption he has ever seen in his Senate career.” (Amy Keller, “Attacks Escalate In Depositions,” Roll Call, 10/21/02)

    7) Sen. McCain Attacked Christian Leaders And Republicans In A Blistering Speech During The 2000 Campaign. MCCAIN: “Unfortunately, Governor Bush is a Pat Robertson Republican who will lose to Al Gore. … The political tactics of division and slander are not our values… They are corrupting influences on religion and politics, and those who practice them in the name of religion or in the name of the Republican Party or in the name of America shame our faith, our party and our country. Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance, whether they be Louis Farrakhan or Al Sharpton on the left, or Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell on the right.” (Sen. John McCain, Remarks, Virginia Beach, VA, 2/28/00)

    8) Sen. McCain Attacked Vice President Cheney. MCCAIN: “The president listened too much to the Vice President . . . Of course, the president bears the ultimate responsibility, but he was very badly served by both the Vice President and, most of all, the Secretary of Defense.” (Roger Simon, “McCain Bashes Cheney Over Iraq Policy,” The Politico, 1/24/07)

    9) Celebrating His First Senate Election In 1986, Sen. McCain Screamed At And Harassed A Young Republican Volunteer. “It was election night 1986, and John McCain had just been elected to the U.S. Senate for the first time. Even so, he was not in a good mood. McCain was yelling at the top of his lungs and poking the chest of a young Republican volunteer who had set up a lectern that was too tall for the 5-foot-9 politician to be seen to advantage, according to a witness to the outburst. ‘Here this poor guy is thinking he has done a good job, and he gets a new butt ripped because McCain didn’t look good on television,’ Jon Hinz told a reporter Thursday. At the time, Hinz was executive director of the Arizona Republican Party. … Hinz said McCain’s treatment of the young campaign worker in 1986 troubled him for years. ‘There were an awful lot of people in the room,’ Hinz recalled. ‘You’d have to stick cotton in your ears not to hear it. He (McCain) was screaming at him, and he was red in the face. It wasn’t right, and I was very upset at him.’” (Kris Mayes and Charles Kelly, “Stories Surface On Senator’s Demeanor,” The Arizona Republic, 11/5/99)

    10) Sen. McCain “Publicly Abused” Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL). “[McCain] noted his propensity for passion but insisted that he doesn’t ‘insult anybody or fly off the handle or anything like that.’ This is, quite simply, hogwash. McCain often insults people and flies off the handle…. There have been the many times McCain has called reporters ‘liars’ and ‘idiots’ when they have had the audacity to ask him unpleasant, but pertinent, questions. McCain once… publicly abused Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama.” (Editorial, “There’s Something About McCain,” The Austin American-Statesman, 1/24/07)

  8. Dan Chmielewski
    April 22, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Anon .

    I am playing by the same set of rules Republicans established two election cycles ago. And while I want issues based journalism, Republican corporate media at Fox News wants to talk about Obama as a muslim, Obama’s preacher, Hillary’s sniper fire, Bill Clinton’s finger wagging, lack of flag label pins et al.

    Its called what’s good for the goose is good or the gander.

  9. anon
    April 22, 2008 at 11:26 am

    “Its called what’s good for the goose is good or the gander.”

    That tells us all we need to know about the state of political discourse in this country.

    Growing number of people are fed up with that approach. Hopefully one day you will join us.

  10. Dan Chmielewski
    April 22, 2008 at 11:42 am

    I suggest you go back and review Newt Gingirch;s marching orders on the notion of political discourse. When the word “Liberal” is no longer a dirty word, they I’d say we’re ready for true discourse.

    But in 2000 and 2004, we tried to play by the rules on issues-based communication and what we got was a smack down by the Rovian wedge issue machine. What does the term “swiftboating” mean?  PLease don’t ask me to play by the rules if your side won’t.

  11. anon
    April 22, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Very interesting how you assume I’m on the “other” side, presumbably because I disagree with you. That’s messed up dude.

  12. just...asking?
    April 22, 2008 at 1:17 pm


    You are ok with a documented “hothead” as your president…

    You blame the mainstream media for our political problems…

    You blame some type of journalists,
    “I’ll take that as a YES…you ARE an advocate for that kind of “journalism”.

    Its not about Dem or Reep, its about people who think discussion about our leaders should be muted or limited only to what the campaigns can control. Some of the character issues for all three candidates are important. While I don’t always agree with the amount of coverage they receive, I’m ok with these issues being covered.

    If these type of msm issues were not discussed we’d still have Rudi and Mitt in this mix. So some good does come from this…

    Can I ask you, if you support Clinton or Obama, would it be an issue if either one of them could not control their temper? …just asking?

  13. anon
    April 22, 2008 at 1:30 pm


    Like I said before, we’ve had other Presidents that would lose their temper from time to time. Even Bill Clinton did. One could just as easily make the case that getting riled up from time to time can be a good thing if that energy is used for good.

    We piss and moan when the right wing noise machine uses these personality-based politics to take the focus off the important issues. And then we’re supposed to be advocates for the same techniques against THEIR candidates? That is just self-evidently immature and hypocritical. Democrats are supposed to be better than that.

    If you think that the campaigns are controlling what we hear, I dare say you greatly underestimate the role the MSM plays. It’s not the campaigns that have been focusing on bitter-gate, bowling, haircuts, etc…it’s the MSM that is feeding us this garbage.

    And as for your last question, my first paragraph answers that.

  14. Heather Pritchard
    April 22, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    It’s a fact that John McCain has temper issues. Is it personality based? Yes. Questioning someone’s patriotism because they don’t wear a flat pin is different to me. John McCain’s temper has alienated many who have worked with him, I highly doubt it would be a good thing to have him tell a fellow world leader to go F**k themselves.

    I see it as a huge issue.

  15. anon
    April 22, 2008 at 2:10 pm


    Tell us when John McCain has ever told a world leader to go F**k themselves.

    You’re making a mountain out of a molehill.

  16. Dan Chmielewski
    April 22, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Can we agree a US senator is a world leader?\

    from the Washington Post story last Sunday: At a bipartisan gathering in an ornate meeting room just off the Senate floor, McCain complained that Cornyn was raising petty objections to a compromise plan being worked out between Senate Republicans and Democrats and the White House. He used a curse word associated with chickens and accused Cornyn of raising the issue just to torpedo a deal.

    Things got really heated when Cornyn accused McCain of being too busy campaigning for president to take part in the negotiations, which have gone on for months behind closed doors. “Wait a second here,” Cornyn said to McCain. “I’ve been sitting in here for all of these negotiations and you just parachute in here on the last day. You’re out of line.”…

    “[Expletive] you! I know more about this than anyone else in the room,” shouted McCain at Cornyn.

  17. Dan Chmielewski
    April 22, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Sorry I assumed you’re weren’t a Dem anon; but McCain’s temper is fair play. And just think, there’s a Hulk movie coming out this summer. Wonder if John Boy has a cameo?

  18. anon
    April 22, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    “Can we agree a US senator is a world leader?”

    I’m pretty sure Heather meant someone on the level of a Putin or Sarkosy or (just in case we start speaking to our enemies, Ahmadenajad) …THAT type of world leader. But she can correct me if I’m wrong.

  19. April 22, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    His temper *does* matter. When people become blind with rage they do stupid things. Like this. Be warned: the language is raw and it’s not merely the “F” bomb. And this is how he spoke to his wife.

  20. Heather Pritchard
    April 22, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    I was referring to someone like Putin. The issue is this. McCain has been in politics for a very long time and with that come stories. He has consistent stories about his temper, which to me is an issue for a world leader, added with his age, it’s an issue for me.

    I do understand what you are saying though, it’s old and if Republicans could keep their talking points off the politics of the personal we may have a fair playing field, but we don’t.

    I believe this is what cost Kerry and Gore the Presidency.

  21. April 22, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    You know, the older I get the less inclined I am to lose my temper. I think this is true of most people, with the exception of those who experience age-related degeneration of the prefrontal cortex.

    A person as mature and as accustomed to being in the public eye as McCain should certainly have outgrown his temper long ago!

    You have to wonder how “brain healthy” McCain is.

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