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McCain Misses 42nd Straight Vote ... and Counting

Sen. John McCain (R-Campaign Trail) missed another vote today on a resolution related to the Iraq war, skipping a procedural move on a war funding measure in favor of hitting the campaign trail in New York.

In fact, McCain's missed vote today marked his fifth straight week without casting a vote on the Senate floor, with this morning's vote marking the 42nd straight roll call that he has missed.

Since the first-quarter fundraising period for presidential candidates ended March 31, McCain has made just three floor votes. He hasn't cast a single vote since the full details of his wildly disappointing presidential campaign's fundraising report were revealed in mid-April.

If McCain misses the next three votes -- the $2.9 trillion fiscal 2008 budget is likely to be voted on this afternoon -- he will officially have been absent for 50 percent of the more than 170 roll calls held in the chamber so far in the 110th Congress.

Granted, McCain isn't the only senator missing votes in favor of the presidential campaign trail. And as his staff has pointed out repeatedly, none of McCain's missed votes has made the difference in a bill's fate. In a statement to Capitol Briefing, McCain's campaign said, "Regrettably, it is impossible for a presidential candidate to avoid missing votes. The Senator has not missed a vote where his vote would have affected the outcome, and he will make every effort to be in the Senate on the occasions when it would."

One of McCain's strongest backers is Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), the Republican whip who would presumably make sure McCain got back to Capitol Hill for particularly close votes.

But the other 2008 contenders in the Senate have made an effort to be on the floor this spring. Take Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), who trails McCain as the most absentee senator (Not including Tim Johnson of South Dakota, who has missed every vote this year as he's recovered from a brain hemorrhage). Brownback missed a series of votes Tuesday related to a water resources bill as he, McCain and the rest of the GOP field gathered in South Carolina for a candidates debate. But by 10:44 a.m. ET yesterday when the vote began on an amendment to cut off funding for the Iraq war, Brownback was in the chamber to vote against the provision.

In fact, McCain was the only senator running for president who missed Wednesday's vote. Parsing his campaign statement, Senate watchers shouldn't expect McCain in the Capitol very often; his pledge is only to "make every effort" to vote when he would make the difference in the outcome.

Today McCain will be in New York raising money at a private event and then speaking to the Empire State's GOP state committee dinner in Manhattan. McCain was in the Washington area for at least part of today, too, attending a 1:30 p.m. ET press conference at the Capitol to help announce a bipartisan Senate agreement on immigration legislation. He left before the event was over, presumably heading for the Big Apple.

To be fair to the senator, this morning's vote was essentially a sense-of-the-Senate resolution on troop safety in Iraq that simply moves the supplemental spending bill on Iraq back into a House-Senate conference. McCain has been a steadfast supporter of President Bush's recent handling of the Iraq war, so his views are widely known on this issue.

And for anyone wondering about Democratic frontrunners Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.), they have missed just 1.8 percent and 6.4 percent of votes this year, respectively.

UPDATE: McCain did in fact miss the budget vote Thursday afternoon, as he headed north for his political events in Manhattan. That means he's missed 43 straight Senate votes...

Here's a link to some Big Apple coverage of his and Rudy Giuliani's speaking engagement last night.

By Paul Kane  |  May 17, 2007; 2:15 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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