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Romney Blasts McCain's Out of Control Temper

August 28, 2008

During the Democratic Convention, the desperately seeking second Mitt Romney has been John McCain's faithful attack dog. On Tuesday, Romney announced that John McCain had "earned" his too-many-to-remember houses with his "hard work," while playing the false Rezko card against Barack Obama. On Wednesday, Romney upped the ante, suggesting that McCain's multiple mansions were reasonable compensation for "being homeless for five years." But as it turns out, back in January Mitt Romney sounded a lot more like Democrats Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer and Dick Durbin in warning Americans that John McCain's dangerously out-of-control temper made him unfit for office.

As his make-or-break Florida primary contest against John McCain approached in late January, Mitt Romney abandoned his pledge that "I'm not going to talk about the character of the people I'm running against." Instead, the Romney campaign produced a memo titled, "The McCain Way: Attack Republicans - A Top 10 List."
Romney's top 10 list includes some of McCain's greatest hits - literally. In addition to dropping the f-bomb on fellow Republican Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and John Cornyn (R-TX), McCain "repeatedly" called New Mexico's Pete Domenici an "a**hole." While the Romney list features some comparatively minor McCain blow-ups towards Dick Cheney, Mitch McConnell and other leading lights of the GOP, it also claims that in 1995, John McCain "had a scuffle" with then 92-year old Strom Thurmond.
Here are the Romney campaign's top 10 episodes of "the McCain way" of rage and fury. Only the heading for each is shown below; the details and list of references are provided in the full memo, which is available at the Boston Herald:

  1. Defending His Amnesty Bill, Sen. McCain Lost His Temper And Screamed, "F*ck You!" At Texas Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).
  2. In 2000, Sen. McCain Ran An Attack Ad Comparing Then-Gov. George W. Bush To Bill Clinton.
  3. Sen. McCain Repeatedly Called Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) an "A**hole," Causing A Fellow GOP Senator To Say, "I Didn't Want This Guy Anywhere Near A Trigger."
  4. Sen. McCain Had A Heated Exchange With Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) And Called Him A "F*cking Jerk."
  5. In 1995, Sen. McCain Had A "Scuffle" With 92-Year-Old Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-SC) On The Senate Floor.
  6. Sen. McCain Accused Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Of the "Most Egregious Incident" Of Corruption He Had Seen In The Senate.
  7. Sen. McCain Attacked Christian Leaders And Republicans In A Blistering Speech During The 2000 Campaign.
  8. Sen. McCain Attacked Vice President Cheney.
  9. Celebrating His First Senate Election In 1986, Sen. McCain Screamed At And Harassed A Young Republican Volunteer.
  10. Sen. McCain "Publicly Abused" Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL).

During his first president run back in 1999, John McCain tried to defuse the growing concerns over his hot temper, insisting, "Do I insult anybody or fly off the handle or anything like that? No, I don't." But when the Washington Post in April detailed, John McCain's legendary temper, pundits, politicians and armchair psychologists alike weighed in on the Arizona Senator's litany of f-bombs, fisticuffs and frothing. But while McCain spokesman Mark Salter called the Washington Post piece "99% fiction," one national Republican leader had already taken great pains to back up its account.
That would be John McCain's would-be running mate, Mitt Romney.
UPDATE: On the VP rumor front, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is said to be clearing his schedule, while security is being stepped up around Mitt Romney's family. His past attacks aside, Mitt's mansions and the Romney riches could be a powerful argument against putting him on the ticket.

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Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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