Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Why everybody is suddenly talking about John McCain (again)

U.S. Senator John McCain


For a guy who never became the U.S. president, John McCain is still making headlines

The Republican senator from Arizona has been all over with the news in recent days with behaviour ranging from folksy to forthright.

Example number one: On Tuesday morning, McCain, who turned 77 last week, tore a strip off Fox News host Brian Kilmeade for his criticism of a Syrian rebel's chant.

Story continues below advertisement

On the Tuesday edition of Fox & Friends, Kilmeade expressed to McCain – a firm advocate for U.S. military intervention in Syria – his concerns over the Syrian rebels' alleged "ties to extremists."

Kilmeade then played a video clip that showed an explosion on government-held territory in Syria, after which a rebel shouts, "Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!"

Kilmeade followed the clip with the comment: "I have a problem helping those people screaming that after a hit." Which did not sit well with McCain, a former war hero who spent six years in prison during the Vietnam War.

"Would you have a problem with an American person saying, 'Thank God! Thank God!'?" he bristled. "That's what they're saying. Come on! Of course they're Muslims. But they're moderates, and I guarantee you they are moderates. I know them and I've been with them. For someone to say 'Allahu Akbar' is about as offensive as someone saying 'thank God.'"

Example number two: Also on Tuesday, McCain popped up on CNN's New Day to discuss his views on the recent offer by Russian President Vladmir Putin to send a delegation to Washington to talk to U.S. Congress about the developing Syrian situation.

McCain, who lost the 2008 presidential election to Barack Obama, was amenable to the proposal, but seemed more interested in recovering the Super Bowl ring formerly owned by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and now in Putin's possession.

"I'd be glad to talk to them, but I hope they bring Mr. Kraft's Super Bowl ring," said a feisty McCain. "I was thinking this morning the worst thing you could do in the Old West was to steal another man's horse. I would think in New England the worst thing you can do is steal another man's Super Bowl ring."

Story continues below advertisement

For the record, Kraft has stated that Putin took the 2004 Super Bowl ring, valued at more than $25,000 (U.S.), which was denied by the Russian president. Putin has said that he would create another ring for Kraft – "of equal metal and with a stone" – and claims he can't recall ever meeting the Patriots owner.

And finally, number three: On Tuesday, The Washington Post posted a picture on their website of McCain attending the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, at which the main topic was the developing Syria situation.

The problem: Only McCain's hands and iPhone were visible in the picture, and he was clearly playing online poker. Oops.

Soon after the Post put up the picture, McCain fessed up with a sarcastic tweet on his Twitter account.

His tweet: "Scandal! Caught playing iPhone game at 3+ hour Senate hearing – -worst of all I lost!"

McCain never made it to the big chair in the Oval Office, but the man knows damage control.

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to