Who is he: John McCain is a senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was also the presidential candidate in 2008 for the Republican Party. McCain is an author, a former captain and aviator in the Navy and a Vietnam War veteran. He helped to pass the McCain-Feingold Act of 2002 to help control campaign donations. During the 1990s, McCain helped restore relations with Vietnam, the country in which he was formerly a prisoner of war from 1967 through 1973 after his plane was shot down over Hanoi while on a bombing mission.
McCain is known in libertarian circles as a neocon, someone who believes in projecting American power around the world. He ran for president on a muscular foreign policy platformand can be seen as someone who regularly invites the use of American force and rarely sees a need to suspend it.
Background: John Sidney McCain was born on August 29th, 1936 at the Coco Solo Naval Air Station in the Panama Canal Zone. McCain attended 20 different schools in his youth due to his father's military career. In 1951, McCain attended a private prep school where he excelled at wrestling and from which he graduated in 1954.
John McCain attended the United States Naval Academy and graduated in 1958. While in the Navy, he received the Navy Commendation Medal and the Bronze Star for missions carried out over North Vietnam. McCain was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam for five and half years and left with permanent injuries that prevent him from raising his arms above his head.
When McCain married Cindy Lou Hensley, he retired from the Navy and moved to Arizona. He went to work for his father-in-law at Hensley and Company, a large beer distributer, as vice president of public rRelations, and as such, he gained political support from local businesses. In this position, McCain also met powerful figures in society, such as banker Charles Keating, Jr., real estate developer Fife Symington III and newspaper publisher Darrow "Duke" Tully.
In 1982, John McCain ran for an open seat in Arizona's 1st congressional district as a Republican. He won the highly contested primary election with the support of local political endorsements, his connections in Washington and some money lent to him by his wife. McCain easily won the general election in the heavily Republican district.
In 1983, McCain was elected head of the incoming group of Republican representatives and was assigned to the House Committee on Interior Affairs. During this period, McCain supported Reaganomics and was active on Indian Affairs bills. He supported most aspects of the Reagan administration's foreign policy, but opposed keeping the deployment of US Marines in Lebanon due to unattainable goals. McCain criticized Reagan for pulling the troops out too late. In 1984, McCain won reelection to the House and attained a position on the House of Foreign Affairs Committee.
McCain's Senate career began in January 1987 when he beat out a Democratic senator by 20 percentage points. As senator, McCain joined the Armed Services Committee and became a member of the Commerce Committee and the Indian Affairs Committee. McCain was one of the main authors of the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and he supported the Gramm–Rudman legislation that enacted automatic spending cuts in the case of budget deficits.
John McCain was on the short list for vice president twice in the 1990s. In 1998, McCain battled the tobacco companies, introducing legislation that would increase cigarette taxes. He proposed that the funds would go to anti-smoking campaigns, health research studies and to help states pay for smoking-related health care costs. In November 1998, McCain won a third term in the Senate and in 1999 he supported the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia to help stop the Kosovo War.
McCain supported the George W. Bush's war against Afghanistan in 2001 and he co-wrote the legislation that established the 9/11 Commission. He also co-sponsored the Aviation and Transportation Security Act that federalized airport security. McCain supported Bush in the Iraq War Resolution. In October 2003, he co-sponsored the Climate Stewardship Act, which was to introduce a cap and trade system that would have purportedly returned greenhouse gas emissions to the levels they were at in 2000. In 2004, McCain was re-elected to the Senate. In 2005, he proposed the McCain Detainee Amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill.
McCain ran for president in 2008. On the 24th of September, McCain called for a suspension of the first round of presidential debates so that he and the rest of the Senate could work on the proposed U.S. financial system bailout before Congress. John McCain lost to Barack Obama with 46% of the nationwide popular vote lagging Obama's 53%.
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