Born: August 29, 1936
Famous For: 72-year old 2008 presidential candidate; Vietnam prisoner of war (1967-1973); One of five Vietnam veterans currently serving in the U.S. Senate.
Little Known Fact: During his relative short stint on flight status, McCain III lost five U.S. Navy aircraft, four in accidents and one in combat.
Key Accomplishments: Decorated naval aviator; Author of the best-selling family memoir, Faith of My Fathers.
Known as an active reformer on illegal immigration issues he introduced a major bi-partisan bill in 2006. He now states he would not vote for his own bill.
Supported a moratorium on coastal drilling as recently as May 2008 until he changed his position in Summer 2008.
McCain was against Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy before he was for continuing major tax cuts for the country's wealthiest.
McCain is for privatizing Social Security by allowing younger workers to have private Social Security accounts.
Significant Quote: "Glory is not a conceit. It is not a decoration for valor. Glory belongs to the act of being constant to something greater than yourself, to a cause, to your principles, to the people on whom you rely and who rely on you in rerun."
Fun Quote: "Remember the words of Chairman Mao: It's always darkest before it's totally black."
See Also Links:
- U.S. Senate biography
- John McCain.com
- 76 Flip-flops by John McCain
- The wife McCain left behind
John Sidney McCain III, the Republican U.S. Senator from Arizona, was born August 29, 1936 in Panama Canal Zone, Panama. Despite being born on foreign soil, McCain's parents (Admiral John S. McCain, Jr. and Roberta Wright McCain) were U.S. citizens, which gave him American status from birth. McCain's father and grandfather were both famous U.S. Navy Admirals, and instilled in him the values of duty, honor and service of country. They also helped him get admitted to the U.S. Naval Academy, where he graduated in the bottom 5% of his class.
McCain was educated in Alexandria, Virginia and then at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. He went on to serve as a naval aviator, attaining the rank of Captain during his 22 years of service. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in Arizona's 1st District in 1982 and then to the U.S. Senate in 1986. He is now in his fourth term as senator. He is one of five Vietnam veterans currently serving in the U.S. Senate.
McCain survived many near-death experiences during his combat in Vietnam, including a fiery disaster aboard the USS Forrester. During his 23rd bombing mission on October 26, 1967, a missile struck McCain's plane, forcing him to eject. He was knocked unconscious and both arms and a leg were broken in the fall. He was then held as a prisoner of war at the infamous "Hanoi Hilton," where he was denied medical treatment and subjected to regular beatings. He was finally released five and a half years later, and his naval flight status was reinstated. In 1976, he became the Navy's liaison to the Senate. McCain retired from the Navy in 1981, after receiving honors including the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
When McCain returned from Vietnam he learned that his first wife, Carol McCain, who bore him his three eldest children, had suffered a horrible car accident while he was in prison. After 23 operations and 6 months of hospitalization she survived, but in a badly crippled state. In 1979 McCain began an adulterous affair with 25-year old Cindy Hensley, a blond millionaire heiress 18 years his junior. In 1980 McCain divorced his first wife Carol and just one month later he married Cindy.
Now married to Cindy, he moved to Phoenix, where he went to work for his father-in-law's Anheuser-Busch beer distributorship. It was there he started gaining political support among the local business community. In 1982, McCain ran for and won a seat as a congressman for Arizona's 1st congressional district. In 1986 he ran for Senate, and was elected to succeed Senator Barry Goldwater.
In 1993 he was diagnosed and treated for malignant melanoma, a deadly cancer. He was treated again for recurrences of the deadly melanoma in 2000 and 2002.
In 1997, Time named McCain one of the "25 Most Influential People in America". Propelled by his best-selling family memoir, Faith of My Fathers, he ran for president. Despite early success, McCain lost the South Carolina vote to George Bush, and was unable to recover from the loss in subsequent states. He publicly supported Bush in the 2004 U.S. presidential election.
McCain announced that he is seeking the 2008 presidential nomination on February 28, 2007, on the Late Show with David Letterman. If McCain were elected in 2008, he would be the oldest person in history to assume the presidency (at the time of initial election to office). He would be 72 years old, surpassing Ronald Regan, who was 69 years old at his inauguration.
While widely respected for his suffering in the Vietnam prison and his 26 years of service in Congress, during his 2008 Presidential campaign McCain has reversed many of his previous moderate positions in favor of right-wing Republican orthodoxy. Examples included dramatic changes in his positions
on key abortion, immigration and Social Security issues.
McCain has seven children and four grandchildren, and currently lives in Phoenix with his second wife, Cindy.