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VP Hopeful Mitt Romney Attacked McCain's Temper

April 22, 2008

In the wake of the Washington Post's article Sunday on John McCain's legendary temper, pundits, politicians and armchair psychologists alike are weighing 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 has already taken great pains to back up its account. Mitt Romney, the man who would be John McCain's running mate, in January decried "the McCain way" of uncontrolled fury towards friends and foes alike.
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 video and an accompanying memo titled, "The McCain Way: Attack Republicans - A Top 10 List." Echoing many of the episodes detailed in Sunday's WaPo piece, Mitt Romney refuted John McCain's past claims of serenity ("Do I insult anybody or fly off the handle or anything like that? No, I don't.") going back to 1999.
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).

The existence of the Romney memo certainly won't aid the former Massachusetts governor none-too-subtle lobbying for John McCain's VP slot. In late March, Romney traveled with McCain in Utah, accompanying him at campaign events and fundraisers. And just days ago, Mitt Romney took on the role of attack dog for McCain. (Comically, the half-billionaire son of auto magnate George Romney lambasted the "elitist view" of Barack Obama.)
As it turns out, Mitt Romney's vice presidential ambitions were already beginning to encounter opposition with the right-wing brain trust. Conservative godfather Paul Weyrich, who backed Romney's presidential bid, publicly came out against him earlier this month. Weyrich joined two dozen other conservative activists in signing a letter titled, "No Mitt."
As for John McCain, Romney's stinging January rebuke doesn't help matters any. At a time when Americans are increasingly focused on McCain's dangerously titantic temper, Mitt Romney's campaign poured fuel on the fire. As Americans learned during the Republican primaries, with friends like Mitt Romney, who needs enemies?
UPDATE: On a vaguely unrelated note, Mitt Romney got dissed at the Supreme Court today.

2 comments on “VP Hopeful Mitt Romney Attacked McCain's Temper”

  1. So Mccain has a bad temper because he can't
    stand anti-American, terroristic totalitarian
    theocrats, junior fascist Young Republicans,
    and Halloween ghouls like Strom Thurmond and
    Dick Cheney? By that measure no one with an
    IQ over 85 is fit to be president.


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

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