Sunday, October 19, 2008

Know thy enemy pt. 2

50 things you should know about John McCain

1. John McCain was born in 1936 in the Panama Canal Zone, a U.S. territory, where his father, a Navy officer, was stationed. Though his parents were U.S. citizens, some opponents raised the question of whether he was really a "natural-born citizen," as required by the Constitution to be president.

2. If elected, he would be the oldest president ever at his first inauguration (72) and the first born outside the continental U.S.

3. His father and grandfather were the first father-son four-star admirals in U.S. history.

4. Mr. McCain narrowly escaped being thrown out of the U.S. Naval Academy on many occasions. He graduated fifth from the bottom of his class.

5. He spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in Hanoi after his plane was shot down.

6. Because of injuries from his time as a POW, Mr. McCain cannot raise either arm above his head.

7. In 1982, Mr. McCain was elected president of his freshman class in the U.S. House.

8. When Mr. McCain was young, For Whom the Bell Tolls was one of his favorite books.

9. When veterans opposed Bill Clinton's visiting the Vietnam War Memorial, Mr. McCain wrote him a note that said, "You're the commander in chief. The American people knew your credentials. And I'll be glad to go with you."

10. He has had three episodes of melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer, and gets an in-depth skin cancer check every few months.

11. When he was a POW, he was the prison storyteller. Once, he was allowed 10 minutes with a Bible to refresh his memory so he could lead a Christmas service in the cell.

12. During his more than five years in confinement, he attempted suicide twice.

13. Mr. McCain's father was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in 1981, the latest McCain to be buried there in a line dating back to the Revolutionary War.

14. Even though he's distrusted by many Republican conservatives, Mr. McCain has a lifetime rating of 82 from the American Conservative Union.

15. When campaigning for a seat in the Arizona House, Mr. McCain went through three pairs of shoes, inspiring his wife to bronze the third pair.

16. In his first Senate campaign, Mr. McCain referred to Arizona's retirement community Leisure World as "Seizure World."

17. Mr. McCain's pets include two dogs, a cat, a pair of turtles, three parakeets, 13 saltwater fish and a ferret.

18. Mr. McCain's first wife was Carol Shepp, a former Philadelphia model. He adopted her two sons from a previous marriage, and they had a daughter together. He divorced her in 1980 and a month later married Cindy Hensley, with whom he has four children. He has four grandchildren.

19. When he met Ms. Hensley in 1979, they both lied about their ages, with John saying he was four years younger and Cindy saying she was four years older. He's 18 years older than she is, something they didn't find out until they were married and saw each other's birth dates on their marriage certificate, the McCains told TV news show 20/20 .

20. While a POW, Mr. McCain refused to accept early release until those who had been there longer had been let go. He was finally released when he signed a confession admitting to being guilty of war crimes.

21. Mr. McCain has had a rocky relationship with Dallas billionaire Ross Perot, who has called him a "classic opportunist." The tension between the two stems from a disagreement over Mr. McCain's divorce and remarriage, as well as Mr. Perot's belief that Mr. McCain hushed up evidence relating to POW treatment during the Vietnam War. The McCain camp says such allegations are untrue and harmful to the families of missing POWs.

22. Mr. McCain ran for president in 2000 against George W. Bush. He was the victim of smear campaigns, including one in South Carolina alleging that his adopted daughter from Bangladesh was an illegitimate child he had fathered with a black woman.

23. Although Mr. Bush denied any connection to the smear campaign, Mr. McCain has had a cool relationship with him since then. Although the president endorsed him after he clinched the nomination earlier this year, Mr. McCain has tried to distance himself from Mr. Bush.

24. Mr. McCain said in 2004 that he would consider being Democratic nominee John Kerry's running mate – in the unlikely event he received such an offer. Later, he reportedly rejected overtures from Mr. Kerry to form a bipartisan coalition against Mr. Bush.

25. When The Associated Press asked candidates for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination who their favorite Republican was, John Kerry, John Edwards and Joe Lieberman all said Mr. McCain.

26. Chuck Berry's song "Johnny B. Goode" is played at some McCain rallies.

27. Mr. McCain appeared as himself in a cameo in the movie Wedding Crashers.

28. When Mr. McCain ran running for Congress, his status as an Arizonan was challenged. He sought to defuse the controversy by replying that the place he lived longest in his life was Hanoi.

29. After being released from a North Vietnamese prison, Mr. McCain expressed discomfort whenever the subject of his time as a POW was brought up. He later embraced his role as a former POW and has been accused by some of exploiting it to gain votes.

30. Mr. McCain's presidential campaign bogged down in mid-2007 because of fundraising problems stemming from his unpopular positions on immigration and past antagonism of conservatives. He slumped in the polls and shook up his staff.

31. He relaunched his campaign as an underdog and and tried to get as much free media as possible. Because all the major GOP candidates had problems with different parts of the Republican base, there was no clear front-runner. Mr. McCain gained the endorsements of key newspapers and Mr. Lieberman, an independent Democrat from Connecticut.

32. Mr. McCain He decided not to actively campaign in Iowa and finished fourth. Instead, he focused on New Hampshire, which he won in 2000 and where polls showed he held some sway with independents who vote in Republican primaries there.

33. Mr. McCain turned around his campaign by winning the New Hampshire primary and became a front-runner in the race. Aided by Fred Thompson, who siphoned votes from Mike Mr. Huckabee, Mr. McCain narrowly won South Carolina and solidified his front-runner status with a victory in the Florida primary.

34. His campaign bus was dubbed "The Straight Talk Express" because of his reputation over the years for saying truthful yet unpopular things.

35. Mr. McCain became involved in the Keating Five savings and loan scandal of the 1980s and, even though he was cleared of wrongdoing, was criticized by a Senate committee for "poor judgment." The Obama campaign brought up Mr. McCain's role in the scandal after the McCain campaign and surrogates attacked Mr. Obama for ties to former Weather Underground bomber Bill Ayers.

36. After Ms. McCain's speech at the Republican National Convention, all the children from both of Mr. McCain's marriages appeared on stage with her: Douglas McCain, Andrew McCain, Sydney McCain, Meghan McCain, John Sidney McCain IV, Jimmy McCain and Bridget McCain.

37. Meghan is an aspiring fashion designer who writes the McCain Blogette, weighing in on fashion, music and pop culture while campaigning with her father. She has also written a children's book, My Dad, John McCain, which covers his wartime experience in Vietnam and his rise onto the national political scene.

38. When voters express concern about Mr. McCain's age, the campaign notes that longevity runs in the family. His mother, Roberta, is a healthy, feisty 96-year-old.

39. Mr. McCain used to be an Episcopalian but now attends a Baptist church.

40. He has a legendary temper, and members of both parties have incurred his wrath. Many of his Republican Senate colleagues, including Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, have expressed concern about his temperament.

41. Mr. McCain acknowledges he's not computer savvy and said he's learning how to e-mail and use search engines like Google.

42. Mitt Romney was Mr. McCain's bitterest primary rival. He said of the former Massachusetts governor: "Never get into a wrestling match with a pig. You both get dirty, and the pig likes it." But after dropping out of the race, Mr. Romney campaigned enthusiastically for Mr. McCain and received mention as a vice presidential candidate.

43. Mr. McCain clinched the nomination on Texas' primary night March 4 and celebrated in Dallas at the Fairmont Hotel. He's expected to easily win the state, and the campaign doesn't have any offices set up in Texas for the general election.

44. Although Mr. McCain's marriage to first wife Carol ended in 1980, they continue to have a friendly relationship.

45. Mr. McCain is often seen on the campaign trail with his two closest Senate colleagues, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Mr. Lieberman, who endorsed him at the GOP convention.

46. Mr. McCain has touted his record of bipartisan achievement on such issues as campaign finance reform, immigration and global warming with Democratic senators such as Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts.

47. After Mr. Obama bypassed Hillary Rodham Clinton as his running mate, Mr. McCain wooed her backers with ads touting his support from "Hillary Clinton Democrats." He lavished praise on Mrs. Clinton before finally settling on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate.

48. By choosing Ms. Palin, Mr. McCain shored up his conservative base and generated excitement that pulled him even or slightly ahead of Mr. Obama in the polls for several weeks.

49. Mr. McCain's favorite campaign format is the town hall forum, in which he roams the stage and fields questions from the audience. He originally proposed 10 town hall debates with Mr. Obama, who agreed to only one. Though the town hall format is considered Mr. McCain's strength, most polls showed that viewers felt Mr. Obama either won or held his own against Mr. McCain in the Oct. 7 forum.

50. Mr. McCain called for delaying his first debate with Mr. Obama to focus on reaching a solution to the financial crisis. Republicans saluted him for putting country before politics, but Democrats accused him of grandstanding. He decided hours before the debate that enough progress had been made on the bailout deal to take part in the forum.

Compiled by John Riley and Bailey Shiffler

Hit The Road Jack - Charles, Ray

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