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Publication: Conservative Review
McCain temper boiled over in '92

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                   April 25, 2008

Book: McCain temper boiled over in '92 tirade 
Filed by Nick Juliano

John McCain's temper is well documented. He's called 
opponents and colleagues "shitheads," "assholes" and in at 
least one case "a fucking jerk." 

But a new book on the presumptive Republican nominee will 
air perhaps the most shocking angry exchange to date. 

The Real McCain by Cliff Schecter, which will arrive in 
bookstores next month, reports an angry exchange between 
McCain and his wife that happened in full view of aides 
and reporters during a 1992 campaign stop. An advance copy 
of the book was obtained by RAW STORY. 

Three reporters from Arizona, on the condition of 
anonymity, also let me in on another incident involving 
McCain's intemperateness. In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain 
was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as 
well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett.
At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain's hair and 
said, "You're getting a little thin up there." McCain's 
face reddened, and he responded, "At least I don't plaster 
on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt." McCain's excuse 
was that it had been a long day. If elected president of 
the United States, McCain would have many long days. 

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The man who was known as "McNasty" in high school has 
erupted in foul-languaged tirades at political foes and 
congressional colleagues more-or-less throughout his 
career, and his quickness to anger has been an issue on 
the presidential campaign trail as evidence of his fury 
has surfaced. 

As Schecter notes, McCain's rage is not limited to the 
political spectrum, and even his family cannot be spared 
the brute force of his anger. 

Schecter, who also blogs at The Agonist, said in an 
interview the anecdote is "an early example of his 
uncontrollable temper." In the book he outlines several 
other examples of McCain losing his cool and raises the 
question of how that would affect a McCain presidency. 

What should voters make of this pattern? In February 2008 
Tim Russert succinctly described McCain on MSNBC's Morning 
Joe. A devilish grin spread from ear to ear as Russert, no 
McCain hater, leaned forward and spoke in a whisper, "He 
likes to fight." Russert got it right. But the big question 
isn't whether McCain likes to fight: it's who, when, and 

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The exchange between McCain and his wife was not reported 
anywhere when it happened, Schecter said (a LexisNexis 
database search confirms this). In 1992, McCain's mention 
in the national media revolved mostly around his involve-
ment in the Keating Five scandal, and only local reporters 
closely followed his re-election bid. 

McCain is well known for his rapport with the national 
media covering his presidential bid (he's jokingly referred 
to the press as "my base"), but Schecter said this incident 
was buried not out of fealty to the Arizona senator. 
Rather, it was uneasiness about how to get such a coarse 
exchange into a family newspaper, and he didn't fault the 
local press for not covering the incident. 

"Members of the media are squeamish covering stuff like 
this so they let it go," Schecter told RAW STORY in an 
interview Monday. "Back in '92, when people use naughty 
words, [reporters] don't know as much what to do with it." 

Much has changed since then. President Bush's reference 
to a New York Times reporter as a "major league asshole" 
was reported in at least 47 newspapers during the 2000 
campaign, when the off-color remark was overheard, accord-
ing to a database search. And more than a dozen newspapers 
have reported Dick Cheney's recommendation that Sen. 
Patrick Leahy "fuck yourself." 


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McCain and his aides have brushed off suggestions that his 
temper could impede his ability to perform the sometimes-
delicate tasks asked of a president. The candidate was 
asked about his legendary temper last week on "Fox News 
Sunday," where he cited his ability to work "across the 
aisle" while in the Senate. 

"You can't scare people or intimidate them if you're 
going to reach agreement with your colleagues and your 
contemporaries And I've worked hard at that, and that's 
what the American people want," McCain said. "The second 
thing is if I lose my capacity for anger, then I shouldn't 
be president of the United States. ... When I see the 
waste and corruption in Washington, I get angry." 

McCain's campaign did not return a call from RAW STORY 
seeking comment Monday morning. 

Schecter says McCain's anger is much more than a passion 
for the issues. One can only imagine what would happen if 
McCain were to try to squeeze that temper into the tight 
confines of diplomacy. 

"The public certainly has to know what this guy might do 
as president," Schecter says. Examples like the ones in 
his book "should worry people, quite frankly." 

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