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McCain Knocks Bush Signing Statements


Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), accompanied by former Ohio senator Mike DeWine, right, gestures while meeting with reporters aboard his Straight Talk Express campaign bus, Wednesday, Feb. 20. (AP)

By Glenn Kessler
YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio -- Sen. John McCain criticized President Bush today for his practice of issuing signing statements that suggest the president will ignore elements of the bills he had signed into law, saying he strongly disagreed with the practice.

"My view is Congress passes it, you veto it or you enforce it," McCain told reporters traveling on his campaign bus. "That's the way you do it and that's the way previous presidents have done it as well."

Asked if he would ever consider issuing a signing statement as president, McCain was emphatic: "Never, never, never, never. If I disagree with a law that passed, I'll veto it."

A new book, Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy by Charles Savage, argues the signing statements are part of an executive branch power grab largely orchestrated by Vice President Cheney.

But McCain said President Bush should veto a measure that would limit the CIA to using 19 interrogation techniques, listed in the Army field manual, on suspects. McCain said he was opposed to waterboarding -- which he considers torture -- and other tactics that violate international treaties, but did not think the CIA should be bound by the manual.

"I knew I would be criticized for it," he said of his vote against the measure. "I think I can show my record is clear. I said there should be additional techniques allowed to other agencies of government as long as they were not" torture or similar techniques.

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 20, 2008; 5:30 PM ET
 
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Posted by: eipbrfc cdotafb | April 16, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

When all else fails, read the directions:
Each president takes the following oath, in accordance with Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Posted by: Bill Hobby | April 9, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Come on guys,

If we vote for Huckabee we can have a brokered convention and get a real President his time.

Vote for Huckabee!!

Posted by: marinepatriot | February 23, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

i am pleased that john mccain understands that george bush has overstepped his authority concerning signing statements. i just wish he had taken this stance and brought it to the senate floor in the form of a bill prohibbiting unconstitutional signing statements?

Posted by: rcbootsmiller | February 21, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

i am pleased that john mccain understands that george bush has overstepped his authority concerning signing statements. i just wish he had taken this stance and brought it to the senate floor in the form of a bill prohibbiting unconstitutional signing statements?

Posted by: rcbootsmiller | February 21, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Having read the list of paul94611, somebody should tell him that John Kerry is not running this year.

Posted by: bbailey40 | February 21, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Having read the list of paul94611, somebody should tell him that Jophn Kerry is not running this year.

Posted by: bbailey40 | February 21, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

A step away from Emperor W and Darth Cheney. Some praise is merited.

Posted by: djw3505 | February 21, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

That is one of the smartest things a candidate has said about the signing statements Bush is so fond of using. McCain is right-on to condemn this practice that Bush has used and abused.

Posted by: fedup11 | February 21, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

McCain apparently wanted to be sure this was the right stance. That would explain why he waited this long after the signing statement that nullified the anti-torture law for which he fought so valiantly -- in December 2005.

Posted by: johnalene | February 21, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

It's kind of sad that a candidate can look good these days just by saying, "Hey, I won't be as tyrannical as the last guy."

You shouldn't get credit for saying that you'll uphold the Constitution. That's the absolute minimum a President should do. Thanks, Bush.

Posted by: tmp2234 | February 21, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

How dare McCain criticize the Emperor

Posted by: mpodrecca | February 21, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I am against the Army torturing.
I am against any torture limits on contractors.

I am against tax cuts without spending cuts.
I am a "borrow & spend, let my kids pay the bill" fiscal conservative.

I support limits on free speech.
I know limits on free speech will be overturned by a friendly supreme court.

I am an ethical legislator.
I provide special access and favors to lobbyists that provide special access and favors.

I support the rule of law.
I oppose fully funding the governmental operations necessary so that immigrants can come here legally and have to come here illegally so my business pals can get a cut rate on manpower expenses.

I am THE straight talk express.
I refuse to disclose the full cost of the war in iraq.

I support our veterans.
I refuse to fully fund the Department of Veterans Affairs.

I support our military families.
If the service wanted you to have a spouse, they would have issued you one.

I understand the value of hard work.
I inherited all my money and I married an heiress.

I'll stop here.

Lot's more time until November.

Posted by: paul94611 | February 21, 2008 4:36 AM | Report abuse

Did the previous comment posters even read this article?

This bill is about restricting the CIA's interrogation techniques to only the ones in the Army Field Manual. By opposing this bill, McCain is not flip-flopping. I wish people would actually read before they spoke.

Just like when McCain voted against the tax cuts because they weren't accompanied by spending cuts. (which is proper fiscal conservative policy) People say he is flip-flopping now by saying these tax cuts should be made permanent (when our economy is slowing and needs the cuts) and McCain knowing that he could cut spending dramatically through cutting the pork-barrel spending, reforming defense appropriations processes, etc.

Posted by: koax | February 20, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

looks like we have our first McCain scandal!

does it have legs, so to speak?

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 20, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

PRESIDENT McCain will simply not call them "signing statements".

Posted by: JakeD | February 20, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Shame really. He was so promising until he went to the dark side.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 20, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

So Senator, will you support impeachment of GW Bush for abuse of power and disregard for the Constitution?? Now THAT's straight talk! You two have been so close....feel like you need a shower now?

Posted by: thebobbob | February 20, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Flip flop or is he getting senior disease, forgetting his previous positions? Maybe he needs a neurological exam.

Posted by: barnardj1 | February 20, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

McCain is talking out both sides of the mouth now.
Flip-flopping on torture, on Alito, on Bush's tax cuts.

Why should I trust he won't flip-flop on signing statements?

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 20, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Bravo, John McCain!

Posted by: optimyst | February 20, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

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