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FixCam: McCain's "Service To America" Tour

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) embarks on a cross country tour of locales that shaped his life -- from his ancestors' home in Mississippi to his high school days in Alexandria, Virginia to his time at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

The goal of the week-long excursion is to draw attention to McCain's resume -- from his family's military service to his own sacrifices for the country, highlighted by the five years he spent in a prison camp during the Vietnam War.

In conjunction with the biographical tour, McCain also launched an ad, which is currently running only in New Mexico, designed to re-introduce himself to voters.

Here it is:

The ad, which features footage from McCain's imprisonment, is a sign that his campaign is planning to lean heavily on his personal biography to sell himself to voters. This is in keeping with the strategy employed by his campaign during the primary season in which his ads -- particularly in New Hampshire -- were built around his biography. That approach marks a clear change from McCain's presidential primary campaign in 2000 when he largely avoided using his time as a prisoner of war as fodder for television ads.

McCain's tour should be the dominant news event this week -- a rare opportunity for the Republican to stand in the spotlight as the race for the Democratic nod goes on (and on). McCain isn't likely to be the center of media attention beyond this week, so look for him to maximize all the eyeballs on his candidacy.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 31, 2008; 10:03 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Comments

I do not for one minute doubt Senator McCain's patriotism. I also consider his service to our country very important. His very public break from the religious right was the reason I voted for him in the 2000 Michigan primary.

That being said, he doesn't seem to have a grip on too many of the issues. He makes no effort to to hide that fact when reporters are around. I guess this is what he means by the straight talk express.

Posted by: corridorg4 | March 31, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Where was this National Security Genius when it counted??? When he should have been hyper vigilant and skeptical of the known bullies, Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld, he was a cheerleader. All that National security and "strong on defense" talk don't mean a thing if apply it when it counts. Sorry. My friend, John McCain, is not qualified to be the President of the United States.

Posted by: thebobbob | March 31, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

"Sitting senators should resign when nominated (IMO). It just seems like the right thing to do."

I am starting to lean against this suggested rule, though purely for selfish reasons. If McCain resigns his Senate seat, fine, that's a reasonable - even responsible thing to do. But if he picks Pawlenty, that means Pawlenty will have to step down. If Pawlenty steps down, that means Lt Gov Carol Molnau will become Gov. She would be a complete and utter disaster. I think some of Pawlenty's policies are misguided, but his administration has not been a complete and utter disaster. It is vital to the state of MN that Tim Pawlenty not step down while running for Vice President, because we will still need him, after he loses.

Posted by: bsimon | March 31, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Patrick -- point taken.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | March 31, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

McCain / Cheney '08

much better...

Posted by: AdrickHenry | March 31, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

McCain and Lieberman, welded at the hip.

Posted by: FirstMouse | March 31, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Sitting senators should resign when nominated (IMO). It just seems like the right thing to do.
-------------------
Mike when did a politician ever do the right thing?

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | March 31, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

My understanding of AZ is that McCain hardly represents the R's who voted him in, the other Senator (Kyl) being much preferred.

Regardless, principle should trump opportunism. If we get a D Senator out of the deal, so be it. Sitting senators should resign when nominated (IMO). It just seems like the right thing to do.


Since this thread is slow, I thought I might post some humor (funny to me, at least):

Hillary is being "swiftboated"!

"She claimed that she came under sniper fire when she visited in Bosnia in 1996, but was contradicted by videotape showing her sauntering off the plane and stopping on the tarmac to listen to a little girl read her a poem.

Similarly, John Kerry's claim to heroism in Vietnam was contradicted by 264 Swift Boat Veterans who served with him. His claim to having been on a secret mission to Cambodia for President Nixon on Christmas 1968 was contradicted not only by all of his commanders -- who said he would have been court-martialed if he had gone anywhere near Cambodia -- but also the simple fact that Nixon wasn't president on Christmas 1968.

In Hillary's defense, she probably deserves a Purple Heart about as much as Kerry did for his service in Vietnam.

Also, unlike Kerry, Hillary acknowledged her error, telling the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "I was sleep-deprived, and I misspoke." (What if she's sleep-deprived when she gets that call on the red phone at 3 a.m., imagines a Russian nuclear attack and responds with mutual assured destruction? Oops. "It proves I'm human.")

The reason no one claims Hillary is being "swiftboated" is that the definition of "swiftboating" is: "producing irrefutable evidence that a Democrat is lying." And for purposes of her race against matinee idol B. Hussein Obama, Hillary has become the media's honorary Republican.

In liberal-speak, only a Democrat can be swiftboated. Democrats are "swiftboated"; Republicans are "guilty." So as an honorary Republican, Hillary isn't being swiftboated; she's just lying.

Indeed, instead of attacking the people who produced a video of Hillary's uneventful landing in Bosnia, the mainstream media are the people who discovered that video.

I've always wondered how a Democrat would fare being treated like a Republican by the media. Now we know."

Posted by: USMC_Mike | March 31, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

You mean like McCain leaving his wife after she was crippled in an auto accident, and marrying a hot young beer heiress whose wealthy family financed his career in politics?

Posted by: drindl | March 31, 2008 12:50 PM


actually, if those are important to you, yes.


*****************
how 'ruby red' can AZ be, politically?

Posted by: bsimon | March 31, 2008 12:59 PM

it's not. It's purple, leaning red.

Posted by: JD | March 31, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if McAin's tour will stop by the hotel where he and Cindy started their affair before he was divorced.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | March 31, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"Perhaps a D-appointee won't win re-election in ruby red AZ?"

Is that a reference to the color of sunsets over the desert? Given that the Gov is a Dem & McCain (according to some) is a RINO, how 'ruby red' can AZ be, politically?

Posted by: bsimon | March 31, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

'His experiences and background give as good a look as you can have about a person's character, '

You mean like McCain leaving his wife after she was crippled in an auto accident, and marrying a hot young beer heiress whose wealthy family financed his career in politics?

Posted by: drindl | March 31, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Truth is... I like McCain a lot.

I surely do not want to see him resign his senate seat. I think he serves the country well in our senate. He IS a watchdog of excess spending and he has shown the capability of reaching across the aisle to get things accomplished.

The very things that make the Ultra-Right hate him have made me respect him.

I think he was brave and Pragmatic on Immigration. I also like his campaign finance reform ideas.

So, I hope he stays on in the senate for at least another term. At 71 (or, is it 72?) he might even be able to do two more terms.

But I surely do not want to see him as our President, staying the course that Bush has set. It is the wrong course and no matter how patriotic John McCain is, we seriously need a course-adjustment.

Posted by: AdrickHenry | March 31, 2008 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Good luck is right! I don't think rehashing what he's done is going to help people understand what he plans to do.

Posted by: rickjginter | March 31, 2008 12:13 PM

I disagree. His experiences and background give as good a look as you can have about a person's character, his moral fortitude, his ability to weather a crisis. HRC made pretty much the same argument (although with her, it was laughable).

I think that's the reason Obama's guilt-by-association challenge occurred, with the Racist Reverend. Since Obama doesn't have nearly the track record of McCain (or indeed, HRC), anything he does or says will get scrutinized greater than normal.

Posted by: JD | March 31, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Recall Gov Napolitano (D) would likely not appoint an R to his seat. Do you still think McCain resigning his Senate seat is a good idea?


Good point.

In general terms, I think both senator-nominees should resign. In running for the highest office in the land, we should assume they are serious, focused, and planning to win.

Perhaps a D-appointee won't win re-election in ruby red AZ?

Posted by: USMC_Mike | March 31, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Even we vets are getting a little tired of the story . For all his sacrifice McCain has no idea what this country is really about . He has never had a job in the private sector , has never produced a product , has never created a job . His only connection to matters of economics is to , marry rich , align himself with business donors , siphon funds and enable savings and loan piracy . He has brought opposing sides together , most notably finding common ground for ethnocentric hispanic groups seeking to reclaim the west for La Raza (the race) and chamber of commerce would be slave owners engineering the suppression of wages . Think not ? Find another reason for his staffer Juan Hernadez to be outreach coordinator .

Posted by: borntoraisehogs | March 31, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

The cluelessness, or dishonesty, of republicans regarding Iraq is staggering:

"The U.S. has stepped up its involvement in the intra-Shiite militia fighting in southern Iraq in recent days, air bombing several targets. The Bush administration is supporting the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (ISCI) and the Badr militia, which are aligned with the Iraqi government, against Muqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army.

On Fox News Sunday today, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the U.S. support was necessary to tame Iranian influence in Iraq:

Now we have a battle with militias who are operating outside the government. ... We must win this fight. The militias that we are fighting are backed by Iran. So this is an effort by Iran to destabilize Iraq.

Watch it:


Graham is trying to oversimplify the situation. In reality, the U.S. is helping bolster Iran's influence by injecting itself into this fight. Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) explained:

The Iranians have close associations with all the Shia communities, not only with Sadr but also Hakim. ... The notion that this is fight by American allies against Iranian-inspired elements is not accurate.

Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations noted the ISCI "was essentially created by Iran, and its militia, the Badr Brigade, was trained and equipped by the Revolutionary Guards" -- which the Bush administration calls a "terrorist" organization.

Journalist Gareth Porter added the Badr militia is the "most pro-Iranian political-military forces in Iraq." In fact, ISCI leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim "met with [Iranian Revolutionary Guard] officers to be his guests in December 2006, apparently to discuss military assistance to the Badr Organisation."

Graham, underscoring his cluelessness about the situation on the ground right now, added that "the Badr brigade is not the problem." Graham seems to be supporting an effort to fight Iran by supporting Iran."

Posted by: drindl | March 31, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

"McCain should show how serious he is by immediately resigning his senate seat... Maybe the voters of Arizona can get someone who actually represents them."

Recall Gov Napolitano (D) would likely not appoint an R to his seat. Do you still think McCain resigning his Senate seat is a good idea?

Posted by: bsimon | March 31, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

McCain has 'america' tourettes syndrome. like guiliani had '9/11.'

every second word is 'america'... we get the point, john. you're like the most freaking patriotic guy EVAH! and boy, he never gets tired of bragging about himself, does he? what a bore.

Posted by: drindl | March 31, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I think McCain has been pretty clear on what parts of the Bush Legacy he will continue.

He's been clear on the most important issues facing us: namely, he thinks Bush was right about Iraq and McCain plans to continue Bush's policy; McCain also has made it clear that he thinks Bush was right about the massive tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans as McCain hopes to make those permanent.

On the biggest issues of the day, a McCain Presidency would be like 4 more years of Bush.

So the choice is very stark: if you like what Bush has done and want more of the same, vote for McCain.

Sounds like a good campaign slogan:

"More of the Same -- Vote for McCain".

Posted by: AdrickHenry | March 31, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I think McCain should show how serious he is by immediately resigning his senate seat.

Maybe the voters of Arizona can get someone who actually represents them. And, he'll get a day in the news.

Win-win.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | March 31, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

rickjginter writes
"I don't think rehashing what he's done is going to help people understand what he plans to do."

That is what we now call 'the Kerry problem'. Perhaps Sen McCain will be able to avoid that trap, but it seems that he needs to skip the biography review & start making clear what parts of the Bush Legacy he will continue & which he will drop, ignore and/or correct.

Posted by: bsimon | March 31, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I especially liked the part about him crossing the Delaware with General Washington...

Posted by: drindl | March 31, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Good luck is right! I don't think rehashing what he's done is going to help people understand what he plans to do. It just reinforces the image of him as a tired old man with no new ideas....

Posted by: rickjginter | March 31, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

McCain is trying to make voters remember the glory days when the American military was the hammer of God and every action by the country was infallible and loved by the freedom-loving people of the world.

Problem is, not that many voters remember those days and the ones who do remember them sorely miss them not because we don't have any great war heroes left but because the causes for our wars have turned from stopping the fascist, imperialist machines of the past to becoming an imperialist machine of the future. Sorry John, you fought courageously, although you fought in a war that America should never have fought and lost because we had no clear path to winning, nor did we even have a clear definition of "winning."

Sounds like the situation we're in now, eh?
think.mtv.com/briantrich/

Posted by: thecrisis | March 31, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

"The ad... is a sign that his campaign is planning to lean heavily on his personal biography to sell himself to voters."

Good Luck Senator Kerry.

Posted by: bsimon | March 31, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Is there a mistake or are you really approving all comments made to your blogs now?

Posted by: thecrisis | March 31, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

So...now we know what McCain is selling. The experience in a POW camp undoubtedly shap[es who McCain is and how he sees the world. I have no question about that. But, at this point, I care less about HOW he became the person he is today and much MORE about what he intends to do. So far, he has offered little that is inspiring. A call to near permanent arms in Iraq, in the goal of achieving an undefined "victory" is not inspiring. Neither is his statement that he knows little about economics and economic policy a motivating force for me. Given the way the Democrats have squandwered their ability to shape the debate and focus it on the real issues that people care about, people like me will listen to Mccain. He better have something to say!

Posted by: steven.schwartz | March 31, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

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