Las Vegas Sun

September 19, 2019

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2008 Elections

John McCain

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) speaks during the Clark County Republican Lincoln Day dinner at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas April 19, 2007.


Party: Republican
Political Position: U.S. Senator from Arizona (1986-present)
Age: 71
Credentials: Earlier this year, the well-known line, "Old soldiers never die; they just fade away," seemed to be the unofficial theme of the 2008 presidential campaign of U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona.


McCain's campaign was fading fast into oblivion during the summer. 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 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."


Also, a New York Times political blogger noted that in head-to-head matchups with Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, McCain did better than any other GOP contender — signaling he might be the Republican Party's best bet to run for the White House.


The question late in the year was whether McCain could regain the ground he lost earlier in the year.
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."


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 announced his 2008 campaign on Feb. 28, 2007, during the Late Show with David Letterman.


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).
Sun Archives: Two in GOP show way back to humanity
McCain on the Issues: A look at where McCain stands on the issues and how he has voted.
Nevada Contributions: A breakdown of McCain's financial contributions from the Silver State.
State by State Contributions: A breakdown of McCain's financial contributions across the U.S.
McCain's MySpace Page: Read McCain's profile information and leave a message.
McCain's Facebook Page: Read McCain's profile information and leave a message.
McCain's Flickr Page: View McCain's photos from the campaign trail.
YouTube Videos: View McCain's latest political videos.
McCain's Blog: View McCain's official campaign blog
Contact Info:
John McCain 2008
P.O. Box 16118
Arlington, Va 22215
Political Director: Mike Dennehy and more key people.

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

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