The John McCain reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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John McCain

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John Sidney McCain III (born August 29, 1936) is a Republican senator from the state of Arizona in the United States. McCain lives with his second wife Cindy in Phoenix. He has seven children and four grandchildren.
John McCain

Early history

McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, the son and grandson of prominent Navy admirals (John S. McCain, Sr and John S. McCain, Jr). He followed in their footsteps (somewhat reluctantly) and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958.

Vietnam War: Captured 1967

As a naval aviator, he was shot down over Vietnam in 1967, and was held as a prisoner of war in Hanoi for five-and-a-half years. When his captors discovered he was the son and grandson of admirals, he was offered a chance to go home, but he refused to break the military code that POWs are released in the order that they are captured.

Released as POW 1973

President Richard Nixon, left, greets the released John McCain, right, on crutchesEnlarge

President Richard Nixon, left, greets the released John McCain, right, on crutches

He was finally released from captivity in 1973, having survived the injuries he received when he was shot down, the beatings from an angry crowd and his captors, a year of torture, and two years of solitary confinement. Once released, his POW injuries prevented him from receiving a sea command, so in 1977, he became a Navy's liaison to the Senate. He was discharged from the Navy in 1981, on the day he watched his father buried next to his grandfather, in Arlington National Cemetery. During his military career he received a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, the Legion of Merit, the Purple Heart, and a Distinguished Flying Cross.

Political career

McCain was elected as an Arizona representative to the United States House of Representatives in 1982. In 1987, upon Barry Goldwater's retirement, he was elected to the United States Senate, partially financed by Charles Keating, who had also contributed to his House campaigns.

Race for President 2000

In 1997, TIME magazine named him as one of the "25 Most Influential People in America." His best-selling book, Faith of my Fathers (1999, ISBN 0375501916), helped propel his presidential run. McCain ran in the 2000 presidential Republican primary, winning in New Hampshire, Michigan, Arizona, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Vermont. He lost the nomination to the well-funded party establishment campaign of George W. Bush.

Campaign finance reform

One of McCain's main passions in his national political career has been the topic of campaign finance reform. In spite of voting against such measures initially, since 1992, McCain has repeatedly tried to pass legislation regulating campaign financing, finally achieve a major victory in 2002. That year, Congress passed a key campaign finance reform bill, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, co-sponsored by Senator Russ Feingold and hence also known as the McCain-Feingold bill. It was immediately challenged on constitutional grounds, but was narrowly upheld by the Supreme Court on December 10, 2003, in an expedited hearing and ruling.

Political views

McCain doesn't fit neatly into any political wing. He is conservative on many military and social issues, but more liberal on fiscal issues. He once fought against funding the construction of a new aircraft carrier, saying the money should be spent on the 12,000 families of the enlisted who were on food stamps. He is strongly pro-life and equally strongly against tobacco. His appeal during the 2000 presidential campaign was based on his style and personal image rather than any label of liberal or conservative. Because of this, some of his supporters have encouraged him to seek offices, including the presidency, on an independent ticket. Some have even suggested that he should run for Vice President on Massachusetts Senator John Kerry's presumptive Democratic ticket in the 2004 election, to help attract more moderate and conservative votes to the Democratic ticket. He has also been suggested as either a Republican, Democratic, third party or independent presidential possibility in the 2008 election.

Because of his quick temper and independence in the Senate, he is sometimes called a "maverick senator." He fights against pork barrel spending and supports expanded legislation on health care and education.

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