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October 24, 2021

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John McCain - bio information

John McCain

Sam Morris

Sen. John McCain joins the family of his vice presidential pick, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, onstage following her speech.

About McCain:

  • Party: Republican
  • Political position: U.S. Senator from Arizona (1986-present)
  • Age: 71
  • Date of Birth: August 29, 1936
  • Place of Birth: Panama Canal Zone
  • Home: Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Spouse: Cindy McCain
  • Children: Sydney McCain, Doug Shepp, Andy Shepp, Meghan McCain, John Sidney McCain IV, James McCain and Bridget McCain
  • Religion: Episcopalian
  • Education: United States Naval Academy, 1958; National War College, 1973
  • Experience: McCain served in the United States Navy from 1958-1981 where he fought in Vietnam from 1967-1973 - McCain spent five and a half years as a POW out of his six years in Vietnam. McCain served as U.S. Representative in Arizona's first Congressional District from 1982-1986. In 1986 he was elected into the U.S. Senate, replacing Barry Goldwater. He has since served in the U.S. Senate and in 2000 ran for the Republican Presidential nomination, but lost.
  • Notable: McCain graduated fifth from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy in 1958. He has received the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart and Distinguished Flying Cross for his service in the Navy and the Vietnam War. In 1993 McCain and his second wife, Cindy Hensley adopted their daughter Bridget from Bangladesh. According to John Stewart, McCain has appeared on the Daily Show more times than any other guest (11 times).

After a series of early primary victories, McCain was officially nominated for president at the Republican National Convention in September.

And it was a stark contrast to what had happened to him a year earlier.

During the summer of 2007, McCain's campaign was fading fast into oblivion. Lackluster fund-raising efforts led to a campaign that was nearly bankrupt, with most of his top staff jumping off what appeared to be a sinking ship. Part of the problem was McCain's maverick streak, which sometimes runs against the Republican grain. For example, he supports an immigration bill conservatives opposed. He also steadfastly supported staying the course in the Iraq war and even wants to build up troops there, while polls show most Americans prefer withdrawing troops.

In terms of Nevada issues, McCain unsuccessfully tried to ban college sports betting here, an unpopular move in a state where gambling is an economic engine. He also pushed for creating a federal boxing commission and once called what many see as that sport's successor, Ultimate Fighting, "human cockfighting." And he told a Sun reporter that he supports creating a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

By early fall 2007, McCain had also faded in the GOP polls below Rudy Guiliani, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson into the shadowy realm of the second-tier candidates.

But the 71-year-old former Vietnam POW wasn't to be counted out.

During the Oct. 21, 2007, Republican Florida debate, McCain came out swinging. He scored points and headlines by going on the attack against Romney, accusing Romney of distorting his record. And McCain made subtle reference to his five years in the "Hanoi Hilton" prison camp by explaining he didn't attend Woodstock in 1969 because "I was tied up at the time."

In 1967, McCain was serving in Vietnam as a Navy pilot and was shot down near Hanoi. He was captured and beaten, then regularly tortured, and placed in solitary confinement during his imprisonment, finally being released in 1973. In 1976, he was named as the Navy's liaison to the Senate.

He moved to Phoenix, Ariz., in 1980. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982. When former U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., retired in 1996, McCain was elected to succeed him.

McCain ran for the GOP nomination for president in 2000, winning the New Hampshire primary, but falling behind later to George W. Bush. He supported Bush's re-election campaign in 2004.

McCain, who announced his 2008 campaign on Feb. 28, 2007, during the Late Show with David Letterman, secured the Republican nomination after a series of state primary races. Largely because of his stands on Yucca Mountain and college sports betting, he wasn't the Republican favorite in the Nevada caucuses, coming in third place behind Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

On the campaign trail, he is prone to make jokes that sometimes make headlines.

For example, he told a group of gun factory employees he would "follow Osama Bin Laden to the gates of hell and I will shoot him with your products," then backtracked and explaining he was joking, that he wouldn't personally shoot him. He's also sung "Bomb, bomb Iran" to the tune of the Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann," saying it was a joke. And he's been criticized for joking about shopping in Baghdad for an IED for Daily Show host John Stewart to put on his desk. He's told critics to "lighten up and get a life."

Just before the GOP convention, McCain continued his maverick streak and picked little known Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. Palin became a new political star overnight after her speech at the GOP convention. But since that time, Democrats have portrayed her as being ill-prepared to step in as president in terms of experience.

McCain also raised eyebrows recently when he announced he was suspending his campaign to go to Washington, D.C., to help Congressional leaders hammer out an acceptable Wall Street rescue plan. However, he was back on the campaign stump a few days later and took part in the first presidential debate in Mississippi.

More on McCain

— Las Vegas Sun new media managing editor Dave Toplikar and Sun new media editorial assistant Jenna Kohler compiled this report.

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