FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
John McCain became a household name by riding across country in a bus called The Straight Talk Express. But these days, "straight talk" seems just about the last way to describe what's coming out of his mouth.
McCain now holds a comfortable lead over his primary opponent, J.D. Hayworth, as he makes a run for his fifth term representing Arizona in the U.S. Senate, but as Politico describes it, it's a "costly road" that could likely leave a "lasting and unsightly stain on his legacy."
For starters - John McCain, once a champion of campaign finance reform, has spent more than $20 million ahead of tomorrow's primary. And there are the positions McCain's taking - which are completely different from positions he took during his "maverick" days.
McCain was a sponsor of comprehensive immigration reform with Ted Kennedy. No more... now he's flipped on the issue. Big time. He supports Arizona's tough immigration law, and spends more time talking about border security and finishing "the danged fence." McCain has gone from maverick to panderer.
He's also changed his tune on Don't Ask, Don't Tell. He once said he supported the repeal of the policy, but is now promising to filibuster any bill that would do just that.
Climate change? McCain used to be a leader on that issue, and now he's pretty much steering clear of it.
How sad. McCain used to stand up for what he thought was right. Now, at age 73, he's just another politician willing to sell out his principles for a vote. See it's the only way to save his political life - and get the support of the conservative Republicans who vote in Arizona's primary. The maverick has become a hypocrite.
Here’s my question to you: Has political ambition ruined John McCain's legacy?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Will the real John McCain please stand up?
The long-time Arizona senator, now in the toughest re-election battle of his career, is hardly recognizable these days.
We should have known something was wrong when the then-Republican presidential candidate decided Sarah Palin was a good idea for vice president.
McCain is a war hero. He endured years of torture rather than compromise with the enemy. He was a moderate lawmaker, willing to compromise and known for reaching across the aisle.
But suddenly when it looks like he might lose his cushy Senate seat, John McCain is willing to slither out of his principles much like a snake sheds its skin.
Take for example McCain's flip-flop on illegal immigration. It was only a few years ago that the senator supported a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal aliens in this country. A lot of people called that amnesty - because that's what it is.
But now that he's in danger of losing the Republican primary to a candidate who says McCain isn't conservative enough - the senator has changed his tune. He's calling for a crackdown on illegal immigrants and is supporting Arizona's tough new immigration law.
Plus - he's taken to making incomprehensible statements in defense of the measure like this one: "It's the ... drivers of cars with illegals in it that are intentionally causing accidents on the freeway." Say what?
McCain has also backed off several other issues - from gays in the military to climate change and creating a national debt panel.
To top it all off - McCain, known for years simply as a "maverick," denies he ever was one.
Here’s my question to you: Whatever happened to John McCain?
FILE PHOTO: Republican presidential nominee John McCain (R-AZ) concedes victory on November 4, 2008 with vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin by his side. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)
It's gotta be a sign of pure desperation.
The Fox News commentator and soon-to-be Alaska tour guide, Sarah Palin, is reuniting with Senator John McCain in Arizona.
History might suggest that John McCain had a pretty good chance at becoming the next President of the United States. Then he heard about the mayor of Wasilla, was smitten, suffered a lapse of judgment and asked Caribou Barbie if she'd like to be the vice president.
She jumped at the chance, and that was the beginning of the end of McCain's chances.
Palin did a couple of interviews on the CBS evening news with Katie Couric, and Obama was in.
But apparently McCain has some reason to worry about his re-election chances.
He's being challenged in the primary and with the general disdain for all of the members of Congress, it's not inconceivable he could get knocked off.
But if you're in danger of drowning, why would you ask someone to throw you an anchor?
Sarah Palin, in addition to being virtually without qualification to hold elected office, is also one of the reasons for the deep divisions in the country. She inflamed the conservative base of the Republican party with irresponsible comments about things like government death panels.
She's a lightening rod for criticism and controversy. Who needs this?
Here’s my question to you: What can Sarah Palin do for John McCain that she hasn't already done?
Sen. John McCain refuses to say he would support his former running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, if she runs for president in 2012.
McCain was asked directly during an interview on ABC's "This Week" if Palin can count on McCain's support. He ducked. When pressed on the question he ducked again, saying, "My corpse is still warm."
Palin was McCain's running mate, and he won't say he'll support her? This is the person he picked to be the second in command, to lead the nation should something happen to him, had he been elected President. And now he not only pauses, but won't answer whether or not he'll support her?
This was McCain's first Sunday political TV interview since he lost the election. He insists Palin helped his campaign and continues to publicly state his appreciation to the entire Palin family.
Maybe McCain is finally coming to terms with the true impact she had on his campaign. Toward the end his name didn't even appear at some of her rallies.
Barack Obama hasn't even been sworn in yet and polls have shown Republicans want Palin in 2012.
Here’s my question to you: What’s with Sen. John McCain unwilling to say he’ll support his former running mate?
One of the longest, nastiest and most divisive presidential races is now in the history books. Thankfully.
Now the next chapter: Moving forward and getting this country back on its feet.
Obama supporters are ready. They're fired up, but that isn't exactly the case when it comes to many of John McCain's supporters.
Amidst all the jubilation over the election of Barack Obama broadcast all over the world, it's worth noting that 56 million Americans did not vote for Obama and are not thrilled that he won. In the popular vote, Obama won by less than eight million votes out of more than 120 million votes cast.
Obama has talked about repairing this divided nation. In Grant Park on Election Night, he said that he would be a president for the people that didn't vote for him as well as for those who did. But with emotions running high, supporters of John McCain are having trouble letting go.
Here’s my question to you: What will Obama have to do to win over wary McCain supporters?
What happened to John McCain? The likable "maverick" who beat some pretty strong competition to capture his party's nomination had morphed into something else by yesterday.
After promising to run an "honorable" campaign, McCain quickly became another symbol of the divisive politics of past Republican presidential campaigns. Name calling, insults, pettiness, and empty gestures replaced the once likable McCain we all look to to challenge the status quo. His campaign got nasty, and his lack of judgment was on display for all to see a couple of times late in the race.
Sarah Palin was an act of desperation. With little vetting McCain named an unknown from Alaska to energize the Republican base. But she came with too much baggage and quickly went from an asset to a liability. Openly ignorant of the issues in press interviews, Palin began to offend women and anger McCain's campaign managers who sniped that she was a "rogue" who frequently went off the reservation in pursuit of her own interests instead of McCain's.
When the financial crisis exploded, McCain made a huge empty gesture. He suspended his campaign, threatened to cancel the first presidential debate-he was the one who wanted all those town meetings, remember? - and rushed back to Washington where he accomplished absolutely nothing. In the end, he looked silly.
He might not have been able to overcome the damage to the Republican brand anyway, but he quickly became his own worst enemy who gave away any chance to win.
Here’s my question to you: What was John McCain's biggest mistake?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Click the play button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.
A lot can change in politics in a year. Just think about it. Last year at this time, the race for the White House looked entirely different. John McCain was far from being the front-runner on the Republican side. And Barack who? Senator Hillary Clinton and former V.P. candidate John Edwards had to be considered the odds on favorites for the Democrats.
And, of course, most of us had never even heard of Sarah Palin.
Different issues held different weight with voters and candidates too. In late August of last year, a CNN poll found that 31 percent of voters saw the war in Iraq as the top issue facing America, while 23 percent said it was the economy. Health care came in at 17 percent and terrorism at 10 percent.
Watch: Cafferty: Most important issue?
Flash-forward to this fall and everything has changed. In a CNN poll released Sunday, more than half of voters listed the economy as the top issue - 57 percent– followed by health care and the war in Iraq, tied for second at 13 percent each. Just 11 percent felt terrorism was the top issue.
Here’s my question to you: What single issue was most important to you?
(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)
Voters have a distinct choice between John McCain and Barack Obama in this presidential race– two very different approaches to arguably the most serious set of challenges we have faced in a hundred years. Whoever wins will have his hands full.
But what about the rest of us? Our part is finished after we cast our ballots on November 4th, and after all the votes have been tallied, the excitement will be over.
Most of us will be happy with the outcome, but if you look at the latest polls, a good number of us won't be rushing to embrace the new leadership.
Either way a new administration means new faces at the top and new policies that will trickle down to all of us little people. The form of that trickle will determine the way a lot of our lives will go in the future.
Here’s my question to you: How will your life change if your candidate loses?
Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger - a Republican and supporter of John McCain - told national public radio yesterday that Alaska governor Sarah Palin is not prepared to take over the job of President if she had to. He said, "I devoutly hope that [she] would never be tested."
But the fact is that if some people in the Republican Party get their way, she could be tested one day. Should John McCain lose the race for the White House, you can bet your last dollar this moose huntin', gun totin', pro-life hockey mom will not fade from the political spotlight. She's a huge hit with a group of social conservatives who embrace her values and see her as a fresh face for a divided party… to them, a 2012 Palin run for President may be on the horizon.
Watch: Cafferty: What's next for Palin?
But a lot of other people feel quite differently. Sarah Palin quickly became a national joke for her lack of experience, failure to grasp the issues and inability to handle herself with the media - especially those awful interviews she did with Katie Couric. Recently she's gone off script and off message on the campaign, angering several of McCain 's campaign advisers. She's been called everything from a "diva" to a "whack job," and yet through it all she remains remarkably unphased.
In an interview this week on ABC's 20-20, Palin said, "I'm not doin' this for naught." Yet another pithy utterance.
Here’s my question to you: If John McCain loses, what’s next for Sarah Palin?
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.
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