On Fox News Sunday when asked to "assess the Bush presidency" by Chris Wallace, John McCain asserted that "history will judge the president" and ran through a litany of talking points attempting to differentiate himself from the current administration. One area he was most insistent about was that he is a "maverick" who continues to oppose the Bush administration's use of torture.
McCain: I obviously don’t want to torture any prisoners. There’s a long list of areas that we were in disagreement on, but I also think ...
Wallace: You’re not suggesting he did want to torture prisoners?
McCain: Well, waterboarding to me is torture, OK? And waterboarding was advocated by the administration and according to published reports was used, but the point is, we’ve had our disagreements, and I've been called a quote "maverick," and I'm not the most popular person in my party.
Though McCain himself was a victim of torture and has been outspoken about his opposition to it, his voting record has not matched his rhetoric.
McCain seems to forget that he voted against a bill that would have banned the CIA from using waterboarding. In fact, when the bill passed, McCain urged Bush to veto it, which he did. Thus, McCain’s claim that he “obviously doesn’t want to torture prisoners” rings hollow. Indeed, because of Bush’s veto, the CIA retains the option of waterboarding prisoners. ..(more)
And it wasn't just torture that John McCain was being disingenuous about. His oft-repeated claim that he is a "maverick" is a myth. His own home state paper, The Arizona Republic, concluded otherwise, finding through an analysis of his Senate votes over the past decade "that McCain almost never thwarted his party's objectives." Just like he did on torture, he oft pretends to be against something but only until his vote is actually needed to count, and whenever that happens he falls reliably in line.
Likewise, his attempts to differentiate himself from Bush would be laughable if so much weren't at stake. John McCain has voted with George W. Bush 95 percent of the time in 2007, and has voted with him 100 percent so far this year.
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McCain himself even admitted on FOX's "Your World with Neil Cavuto, that "The president and I agree on most issues. There was a recent study that showed that I voted with the president over 90 percent of the time, higher than a lot of my even Republican colleagues." (watch it)
Sen Bob Casey couldn't have said it better: "That’s not a maverick. That’s a sidekick."