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McCain: The News Media's Candidate?

No potential 2008 candidate enjoys a relationship with the news media anywhere close to the one that Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) has.  Dating back to his 2000 "Straight Talk" campaign, it seems like much of the press is advancing the idea that McCain is the last honest man in government.

This week, for example, the Arizona senator is featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine for a piece he authored entitled, "The Truth About Torture (And Why the White House Doesn't Want To Hear It)." In the piece, McCain praises the Bush administration for remaining "admirably tenacious in their determination to prevent terrorists from inflicting another atrocity on the American people." But he disagrees that "the demands of this war require us to accord a lower station to the moral imperatives that should govern our conduct in war and peace."

Giving McCain the opportunity to express his views on the the use of torture during wartime makes sense -- as so many Americans know well, he was a victim of such treatment during his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. But it also affords McCain a high-profile chance to cast himself as an above-the-fray politician seeking to do right on what is shaping up to be a major issue during the 2008 campaign.

McCain seems to be moving to consolidate and capitalize on his un-politician image, both with this Newsweek cover and his new book, "Character Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember." With people expressing disdain for both parties in recent polling, the more McCain can distance himself from politics as usual, the better-served his national ambitions will be.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 14, 2005; 1:16 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: 2005 Spin: New Priorities vs. Status Quo

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