A report by NewsMax.com's Ronald Kessler detailing Senator John McCain's legendary temper has caught the eye of McCain's homestate paper, the Arizona Republic.
Dan Nowicki, the paper's assistant editorial page editor, citing Kessler's NewsMax.com article, suggested real evidence of the senator's temper exists. But he quickly noted that McCain has given varying accounts of his temper tantrums -- and he even denied he gets angry. Nowicki said McCain needs to "get his stories straight as he campaigns for the 2008 GOP White House nomination." Nowicki reports that Kessler, NewsMax's chief correspondent and author of the recent best-selling "Laura Bush -- An Intimate Portrait of the First Lady" is reviving worries about Sen. John McCain's temper and is raising questions if he is emotionally fit to serve as president.
Kessler, Nowicki reported "interviewed former Capitol Hill associates of McCain as well as former Arizona Republic publisher Pat Murphy, former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson and Judy Leiby, a former aide to Sen. Dennis DeConcini, D-Ariz."
"As portrayed by the mainstream media, McCain is an engaging war hero, a man of political moderation positioned between the left and the right," Kessler wrote. "But to insiders who know him, McCain has an irrational, explosive side that make many of them question whether he is fit to serve as president and be commander in chief. Nowhere is that sentiment stronger than in the Senate, where McCain has few friends or supporters. In fact, when McCain ran for the Republican nomination for president in 2000, only four Republican senators endorsed him."
"I have witnessed incidents where he has used profanity at colleagues and exploded at colleagues," Kessler quoted former Senator Bob Smith, a New Hampshire Republican who served with McCain on the Senate Armed Services Committee and on Republican policy committees, as saying. "He would disagree about something and then explode. It was incidents of irrational behavior. We've all had incidents where we have gotten angry, but I've never seen anyone act like that."
Kessler continued: "When people have come forward to relate their bizarre experiences with McCain, only minor publications or the foreign press have run their accounts. The favored treatment is reminiscent of the way the press turned a blind eye to John F. Kennedy's dalliances -- except that voters have far more need to know about evidence of instability than presidential infidelities."
McCain's temper, Nowicki recalls, "is not news. He even addressed the topic himself at a March 18, 2004, forum at Scottsdale Community College. Scottsdale Republic general manager Michael Ryan had asked McCain what the biggest misconception about him was."
McCain's answer? "I hope that the misconception is, but I'm not sure it's a misconception, that I have a very bad temper. I have had a bad temper in my life. In my early days in office, I displayed that temper, always to my detriment. Every time I ever lost my temper, I regretted it since then.