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McCain's Temperament

Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain's temperament came under close scrutiny in Michael Leahy's big piece in yesterday's paper, and his disposition may be a factor in the November election. Nearly half of voters in the new Post-ABC poll believe his temperament would hamper the Arizona senator in the White House.

Overall, 48 percent of all Americans in the poll released last week said McCain's temperament would hurt his ability to serve effectively as president. Fewer, 37 percent, said his often strident tenor would make him more successful.

Three in 10 Republicans and about four in 10 conservatives and white evangelical Protestants alike think McCain's temperament would prove to be a negative factor as president. Among independents, the crucial swing voters, nearly half said his temperament would hurt his effectiveness, with independent women particularly apt to take the negative view. (About two-thirds of Democrats agree.)

For McCain, his temperament ranks with Barack Obama's experience and Hillary Clinton's political style as potential limiting factors in the White House. Overall, 51 percent said Obama's level of experience would impair his effectiveness, and 49 percent said Clinton's political manner would damage hers.

By Jon Cohen  |  April 21, 2008; 10:13 AM ET
Categories:  Post Polls  
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Comments

The piece was an eye-opener. Not just that he blows up at people, but that he holds grudges and has tried to ruin careers. Demanding that an aide to another senator (of the opposite party) be fired? That's much more than a temper.

I have to say that he schooled Stephanapoulous on This Week. That looked like a case of men against boys. Might augur well for a match-up against Obama.

BB

Posted by: Fairlington Blade | April 21, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: WHAT | April 21, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

McCain is a relic of a bygone political culture. His my-way-or-the-highway approach to compromise will tar him mightily in November, regardless of the democratic opponent.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 21, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

There seem to be a lot of stories about his flare ups even against his wife. Is this something that indicates an unstable personality or a result of his war experience? I always have the feeling with him that those were the glory days and anything dealing with the military even war is in his comfort zone. That would be exactly what the majority of American people don't want. We are looking for new ideas, balance, energy, and definately not a view of the world through military glasses. We need attention brought back to focus on us, and our other relationships in the world, and our part in saving this planet not expanding war because it is something our leader knows. I believe John McCain is a one trick pony.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 21, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

McInsane McNeedsaCane. McSpite...

Is it possible to play a gambit in a debate with McCain? Could his Dem opponent say something borderline outrageous, at some risk to the Dem, on the chance that McCane could go into a McRage?

What would goad him into exploding? Seems that anything that questions his personal convictions or integrity would do the trick. Maybe the Keating 5... maybe voting against veteran benefits...

Posted by: JTS | April 21, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Insane McCain "bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran.... Has PTSD! If you had been a POW FOR FIVE YEARS in Nam.... you would be in psych ward!

Posted by: Robert | April 21, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

mccain has called his wife terribly nasty names in front of reporters. what kind of temperament is that for a leader?

Posted by: yael | April 21, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

M A D - A V E - A D
...................
...................


obama nice


hillary not nice


ad 4 hillary:

image: mean, harsh mommy who loves you

push leadership, play fear-factor

ad 4 obama

image: lincoln, jack kennedy, robert kennedy, martin luther king, prince of camelot

attributes: noble, charm, smile, smart, capable, thoughtful, decent

.


note to obama

just keep doing what ever you're doing (the primaries r the hardest part & u won)

don't worry re: the repubs; you'll cream mccain !


congratulations! President Obama

Posted by: mad ave ad | April 21, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

This country and the world at large cannot tolerate someone who can be out of control as President. It is a frightening prospect in a dangerous time.
I question the patriotism of those who have encountered McCain's outrageous and explosive behavior but support him for President!

Posted by: RRF | April 21, 2008 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Over the years, I have lost several jobs because of my temper or because I got irate and walked off the job. I can't imagine being able to control my temper even if it meant the world would blow up. I can't imagine anybody electing me or others like me to ANY office, let alone the Presidency. Please use your brains when it comes to electing a person for the most important job in the world!

Posted by: GrannyAnnie | April 22, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I spent my life in print media management in Europe and the United States and was publisher and editor-in-chief of an international magazine that reached 103 countries. What a pity that you missed an opportunity to look independent. To me, a respectable publication should only inform and stay away from bias.

Your article admits (in the last paragraph) that Clinton and Obama have higher "trouble ratings" -- when it comes to political style and experience -- than McCain's temperament does, yet you put the focus on McCain's negatives. I am, and have been, independent in every country I have lived in, and it disappoints me to see that the Post is used by political ideologues.

Posted by: Joe Szabo | April 22, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I did political work for an extremely bright, extremely idealistic gentleman in local politics, whose views I still believe should be better represented within the government. He had been "only" seriously wounded (still hurts him to walk), not held prisoner, in Vietnam; refused to talk much about it, grew angry when people brought up the subject. Grew angry, period, exploding abusively often over trifles or bearing silly grudges that hindered his ability to accomplish what he wanted to. All the usual furniture of PTSD, which my profession requires me to understand, showed up routinely in his behavior. I see a disturbing similarity in many descriptions of McCain. Even if his ideals were my ideals, they're not, I'd resist having him in the White House. The community can still recover if it's one person on a local council who's prone to shoot himself in the foot in a meeting and maybe take a good idea down with him. Doesn't work if the shooter is President.

Posted by: Hyperlocal | April 22, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

McCain must be defeated in order to restore our democracy and follow the guide of the Constitution. Clinton and Obama, either of which will bring back Government that represents the will of the people.
We must get our Senators and Representatives to vote against the funding of the war. We must get back to National Defense mode started during WW-2. Homeland Security sounds too much like the Nazi "fatherland". We know that Bush's grandfather Prescott and greatfather Sam were Hitler's bankers in America During the 1920's up to 1942 When the government closed them down for "trading with the enemy". The U.N. mandate for the war runs out in December 2008. So bring the troops home for Christmas By voting a democratic into office. In the meantime, urge your representatives and senators to co-sponsor the bills of impeachment sponsored By Bob Wexler of Florida, to impeach Bush, Cheney,and other members who lies brought about the loss of over 5,000 troops and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens.
Regardless of your party affiliation, you can standup for the legal, honest, and ethical government rule according to the constitution. Show future presidents that we will not stand for high crimes and misdemeanors committed by our elected officials. Impeachment is the tranquil way of punishing tyrants such as Richard Nixon.
It saves having a bloody overthrow of Bush. Just put him and his Bushwhackers into a cell for the rest of their lives.

Posted by: speedy | April 22, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

As mentioned by Joe Szabo, it is hard to determine what a respectable publication would do when presented with evidence that a Presidential candidate is mentally unstable. My preference would be for a newspaper to publish the truth, especially, when the candidate is old enough that his faculties are in decline. An explosive temper combined with poor thinking would be a very dangerous combination. If the Washington Post shows a bias in favor of sanity, I can live with that. If they covered it up, like the NY Times would do, I'm not sure any of us could live with the consequences.

Posted by: solick | April 22, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

*** HAIL , CHERTOF !!! ***

Posted by: LEN STEVENS | April 22, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Wow..., so disturbing..... ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzz......

Posted by: ttj | April 22, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The trick here is to examine fairly to what extent McCain's temperament would hinder his capability to function effectively as President. The danger is that his temperament becomes fodder for thinly veiled ad hominem attack ads that purport only to further the good of the country, but are really designed to damage him, fairly or not.
It's the duty of responsible individuals who have definite knowledge of instability in McCain to come forward with it.

Posted by: Ray in VA | April 22, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

The comments hear provoked many laughs. Imagine - a president with a temper! We've NEVER had one of those before. What might be the dreadful consequences?

If this is the best the Dem's can hurl at McCain, he's sittin' pretty.

Anyone who cares to read an official response from someone close to McCain can do so here, although the minds of those who have responded so far to this post don't appear to be open:

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=OWFmYTNmYTQ5OTcyY2QyN2ZmZDg1YzNlZWU3ODk3MjI=

Posted by: Discman | April 22, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Compared to Obama's and Clinton's baggage, McCain's shortcomings (Nasty temper? Give me a break!) are pluses.
What middle-ground/compromise would Obama or Clinton reach with nasties like Ahmadinejad? "Feel his pain?" Serve him cookies? Show him how sensitive Americans can be?
I'll take President McCain's rant on the subject anytime.

Posted by: Scorpio | April 22, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

If you really want to see a temper, say something about Obama's ears.

Posted by: DQuixote1 | April 22, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe that the people writing in about McCain's "temper" think for one New York minute that previous presidents were even tempered, never blew their stacks and didn't "get even". If these naive people think that Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Bush, Clinton didn't demonstrate significant tempers they are really living in LA-LA Land. Johnson's temper was well known and apparently "holier than thou" Carter comes well equipped with a hot button. What are these people looking for a saint with political credentials? Sorry people, it won't happen, grow up and face reality.

Posted by: Paul Michaelis | April 22, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

THE PRES. IS NOT OUR PROBLEM IT IS THIS CONGRESS WE JUST ELECTED, THEY HAVE NOT DONE ONE THING THEY PROMISED.

Posted by: ED ATKINS | April 22, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Considering his profession, John McCain seems a decent man. Most people in charge can and will display a temper from time to time. There are too many built-in safeguards and therefore a minimal chance a president McCain will push the nuclear button and obliterate everything.

More important is his seeming lack of concern about the fact that the cost of gas has doubled and that more than 13,000 American kids have been killed or maimed over the course of the last 7 1/2 years.

Since securing the GOP nomination, he has talked extensively about our economy, which is definitely in the tank, and about people who need to get a second or third job, if necessary, to pay for the home they shouldn't have purchased in the first place.

That, to me, is a man out of touch. Can a Democrat do any better? A more reasonable question would be, can a Democrat do any worse than what we've had? Well, maybe Hillary could.

In any case, a president, strong or not, cannot accomplish anything without a compliant congress. Our current president had congressional compliance - occasionally reluctantly - but never more than token resistance, and he and congress have dumped the country into a moral and economic abyss from which it may take decades to recover. For those reasons alone the GOP should forfeit a leadership role, both in congress and as commander-in-chief.

Posted by: Alan Remington | April 22, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Considering his profession, John McCain seems a decent man. Most people in charge can and will display a temper from time to time. There are too many built-in safeguards and therefore a minimal chance a president McCain will push the nuclear button and obliterate everything.

More important is his seeming lack of concern about the fact that the cost of gas has doubled and that more than 13,000 American kids have been killed or maimed over the course of the last 7 1/2 years.

Since securing the GOP nomination, he has talked extensively about our economy, which is definitely in the tank, and about people who need to get a second or third job, if necessary, to pay for the home they shouldn't have purchased in the first place.

That, to me, is a man out of touch. Can a Democrat do any better? A more reasonable question would be, can a Democrat do any worse than what we've had? Well, maybe Hillary could.

In any case, a president, strong or not, cannot accomplish anything without a compliant congress. Our current president had congressional compliance - occasionally reluctantly - but never more than token resistance, and he and congress have dumped the country into a moral and economic abyss from which it may take decades to recover. For those reasons alone the GOP should forfeit a leadership role, both in congress and as commander-in-chief.

Posted by: Alan Remington | April 22, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Considering his profession, John McCain seems a decent man. Most people in charge can and will display a temper from time to time. There are too many built-in safeguards and therefore a minimal chance a president McCain will push the nuclear button and obliterate everything.

More important is his seeming lack of concern about the fact that the cost of gas has doubled and that more than 13,000 American kids have been killed or maimed over the course of the last 7 1/2 years.

Since securing the GOP nomination, he has talked extensively about our economy, which is definitely in the tank, and about people who need to get a second or third job, if necessary, to pay for the home they shouldn't have purchased in the first place.

That, to me, is a man out of touch. Can a Democrat do any better? A more reasonable question would be, can a Democrat do any worse than what we've had? Well, maybe Hillary could.

In any case, a president, strong or not, cannot accomplish anything without a compliant congress. Our current president had congressional compliance - occasionally reluctantly - but never more than token resistance, and he and congress have dumped the country into a moral and economic abyss from which it may take decades to recover. For those reasons alone the GOP should forfeit a leadership role, both in congress and as commander-in-chief.

Posted by: Alan Remington | April 22, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

You "Posties" are a hoot! Your frenetic agreements spin into ever tightening circles of mutual delusions. That is exactly why the W.P. circulation continues to tumble and the stock price follows. The more the left attacks McCain, the more they strenthen his base and galvanize moderates. Hard fact is this: Hillary supporters will never vote for Obama. They will just stay home.

Posted by: dblegls | April 22, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

mad dog will hurt the u.s. in every way.

Posted by: blue111 | April 23, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Well McCain was right to be temperant. I think he was making a point and that he will be a good president. So lay off.

Posted by: Taylor | April 25, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of McCain's character,
I can't forget McCain's nasty remark in 1998 about the child, Chelsea Clinton:

"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
Because her father is Janet Reno."
(the following is quoted from 'Salon' online:

'McCain's two-liner conveys some interesting insights into what he considers humorous (lesbianism, a young woman's physical appearance), particularly since it was delivered to a Republican crowd. Remember, this is the party that champions pro-family values.

But the joke revealed more than a mean streak in a man who would be president. It also exposed how the Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times play favorites when reporting the foibles of "our leading politicians. '(they played it down...as just a joke)
SALON | June 25, 1998

Posted by: Anonymous | April 27, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

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