John McCain on Principles & Values

Time for closure on a bizarre situation

Q: What do you make of all of this?

A: If it was a book, we wouldn’t read it.

Q: Bad fiction, right?

A: It’s too bizarre. Bad fiction, too bizarre. Nobody would believe the plot. It wouldn’t sell a thousand copies. I just think that it’s time we brought this process to a conclusion. I know it’s tough. I think I know as well as most anyone having lost a campaign myself. But we’ve got to bring this to a close. The American people are very patient. This is no constitutional crisis, there’s no panic. But the American people want it brought to a close.

Q: How do you settle a dispute without a court?

A: I think you recognize the verdict of the voters, and I think that if there is some blatant or egregious violation of law, obviously we go after that. I am in sympathy with the vice president and Joe Lieberman. They won the majority of the popular vote. I can understand why they would be unhappy. I’m afraid that litigation will not resolve this issue by [the Dec. 12 deadline].

Source: McCain interview on CNN’s “Larry King Live” Nov 29, 2000

Suspends campaign, citing Republican preference for Bush

We knew when we began this campaign that ours was a difficult challenge. Last Tuesday, that challenge became considerably more difficult as a majority of Republican voters made clear their preference for president is Gov. Bush. I respect their decision and I’m truly grateful for the distinct privilege of even being considered for the highest office in this, the greatest nation in the history of mankind.
Therefore, I announce today that I am no longer an active candidate for my party’s nomination for president. I congratulate Governor Bush. He may very well become the next president. That is an honor accorded to very few and is such a great responsibility that he deserves the best wishes of every American. He certainly has mine.
I’m suspending my campaign so that Cindy and I can take some time to reflect on our recent experiences and determine how we can best continue to serve the country and help bring about changes to the practices and the institutions of our great democracy.
Source: Announcement of withdrawal from race Mar 9, 2000

Will take reform crusade back to the Senate

I love my party. It is my home. Ours is the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan. That’s good company for any American to keep, and it is a distinct privilege to serve the same cause that those great Americans dedicated their lives to.
But I’m also dedicated to the necessary cause of reform, and I will never walk away from a fight for what I know is right and just for our country.
As I said throughout the campaign, what is good for my country is good for my party. Should our party ever abandon this principle, the American people will rightly abandon us, and we will surely slip into the mists of history, deserving the allegiance of none.
So I will take our crusade back to the Senate and I will keep fighting to save the government, to give the government back to the people, to keep our promises to young and old alike by paying our debts, saving Social Security and Medicare and reforming a tax code that benefits the powerful few at the expense of many.
Source: Announcement of withdrawal from race Mar 9, 2000

Leaves race, urging service to country

Announcing the suspension of his campaign: I’ve been in my country’s service since I was 17 years old. I neither know nor want any other life, for I can find no greater honor than service. You served your country in this campaign by fighting for the causes that will sustain America’s greatness. Keep fighting. America needs you. I ask from you one last promise: Promise me that you will never give up, that you will continue your service in the worthy cause of revitalizing our democracy. Thank you.
Source: Announcement of withdrawal from race Mar 9, 2000

Reagan Republican: simplify taxes, stop waste, pay down debt

Source: Television Commerical before CA & NY primaries Mar 2, 2000

Support conservative issues, not far-right leaders

Q: Why have you never criticized the religious right previously? A: I share the values and goals of the rank and file of the Christian right. I have supported many of the issues that had to do with family values. Where I have differed in the past and continue to differ with Mr. Falwell and Mr. Robertson is on issues such as President Clinton. I voted to impeach President Clinton. [But] I don’t believe he’s a murderer. I want the party of Abraham Lincoln, not the party of Bob Jones.
Source: GOP debate in Los Angeles Mar 2, 2000

Faith bridges unbridgeable gaps in humanity

Many years ago a scared American prisoner of war in Vietnam was tied in torture ropes by his tormentors and left alone in an empty room to suffer through the night. Later in the evening a guard he had never spoken to entered the room & silently loosened the ropes to relieve his suffering. Just before morning, that same guard came back and re-tightened the ropes before his less humanitarian comrades returned. He never said a word to the grateful prisoner, but some months later, on a Christmas morning, as the prisoner stood alone in the prison courtyard, the same good Samaritan walked up to him and stood next to him for a few moments. Then with his sandal, the guard drew a cross in the dirt. Both prisoner and guard both stood wordlessly there for a minute or two, venerating the cross, until the guard rubbed it out and walked away.

That is my faith; the faith that unites and never divides; the faith that bridges unbridgeable gaps in humanity. It is the faith I would die to defend.

Source: Speech in Virginia Beach, VA Feb 28, 2000

The GOP should be inclusive

Q: Would you meet with a group if you disagree with its values? A: I met with the Log Cabin Republicans. I disagree with them on gay marriages, on the “don’t ask/don’t tell,” on a broad variety of issues. But I agree with them on a stronger defense, lower taxes, less regulation. And I, as president of the United States, and I as the nominee of my party, will meet with-and not necessarily agree with-everyone in the Republican Party.
Source: GOP Debate on the Larry King Show Feb 15, 2000

Calls himself conservative who attracts political center

McCain said, “Electability is all about getting the support of the political center. I’m a proud Republican conservative and maintain my base. But through this message of reform we will attract people all over the political spectrum.” As an example, McCain said that while he opposes abortion, he thought the Republican party should be “an inclusionary party.” He continued, “Reagan was able to expand the base of the party and continue to espouse the conservative philosophy. I have to do that as well.”
Source: New York Times, p.A20 Feb 3, 2000

Vote based on character, not issues

McCain gave his most full-throated appeal to voters to make their choice less on issues than on experience & character. “I believe I am better prepared than any of the other candidates,” he said. “I will stack my experience, my position on issues. against those other candidates.” He added, “What really matters is your impression of what we talked about here today-not about specific issues-but how you leave this room and say ‘gee, I believe I can place my confidence in [him] to lead this country.’”
Source: New York Times, p. A17 Jan 25, 2000

Foreign policy should not be shaped by photo-ops & polls

Q: How specifically would you as president improve the dignity of the Oval Office and restore the moral excellence of our great nation? A: The first and primary responsibility of the president is to protect its security and conduct foreign policy. This administration has conducted foreign policy in a feckless, photo-op way that will cause us perhaps to have to expend our most precious assets, our American blood and treasure. I will not take a poll as president as to how to conduct foreign policy.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa Jan 16, 2000

Survived as POW by faith to a higher cause

[Before being captured in Vietnam], I thought glory was the object of war, and all glory was self-glory. No more. For I have learned the truth: there are greater pursuits than self-seeking. Glory is not a conceit. It is not a prize for being the most clever, the strongest, or the boldest. Glory belongs to the act of being constant to something greater than yourself, to a cause, to your principles, to the people on whom you rely, and who rely on you in return. No misfortune, no injury, no humiliation can destroy it.

This is the faith that my commanders affirmed, that my brothers-in-arms encouraged my allegiance to. It was the faith I had unknowingly embraced at the Naval Academy. It was my father’s and grandfather’s faith. A filthy, crippled, broken man, all I had left of my dignity was the faith of my fathers. It was enough.

Source: “Faith of My Fathers”, p. 257 Nov 9, 1999

Refused release to hurt Vietnamese & remain loyal to POWs

I spelled out the reasons [to my fellow inmates] why I should not [accept the Vietnamese offer of release from the POW camp]:

Just letting me go is a propaganda victory for them. I can tell they really want me to go. And if they want something that much it’s got to be a bad thing. I can’t give them that satisfaction.

Second, I would be disloyal to the rest of you. I know why they’re doing this-to make every guy here whose father isn’t an admiral think the [Army’s Code of Conduct] is shit. They’ll tell all of you, “Your father’s not an admiral and nobody gives a damn about you.” And I don’t want to go home and see my father, and he wouldn’t want to see me under those conditions. I’ve got to say no.

Eventually, [the Vietnamese asked if I considered their release offer]. “What is your answer?” “No, thank you.” “Why?” “American prisoners cannot accept parole, or amnesty or special favors. We must be released in the order of our capture.. My final answer is no.”

Source: “Faith of My Fathers”, p. 235 Nov 9, 1999

Campaigning to return government to the people

I run for President of the United States because I want to return our government back to whom it belongs - the people - so that Americans can believe once again that public service is a summons to duty and not a lifetime of privilege. I run because I believe deeply in the greatness of America’s destiny and in the goodness of our cause. We are a lantern of freedom and opportunity to the world, the bright beacon of hope that our fathers died to bequeath us, and our children will be asked to defend.
Source: Candidacy Declaration Speech, Nashua NH Sep 27, 1999

Restore, renew, reform, & reinvigorate government

Unless we restore the people’s sovereignty over government, renew their pride in public service, reform our public institutions to meet the demands of a new day, and reinvogorate our sense of national purpose, we will deny our destiny; we will abandon the cause our founding fathers called glorious.
Source: Candidacy Declaration Speech, Nashua NH Sep 27, 1999

“New Patriotic Challenge”: stand against cynicism

We can take a stand. We can fight together. to defend the proposition that democracy is not only the most effective form of government, but the only moral government. This is our New Patriotic Challenge: to join in the fight against the pervasive cynicism that is debilitating our democracy. It is a fight to take our government back from the power-brokers and special interests, and return it to the people, and the noble cause of freedom it was created to serve.
Source: Candidacy Declaration Speech, Nashua NH Sep 27, 1999

Public officials have failed to set example for society

McCain warned that public officials bore their share of blame for a climate of hate “that poisons our land,” because “there’s too much ‘us’ & ‘them’ & not enough ‘we.’ When we denounce Jerry Springer, and then behave in Congress like guests on his show, it’s little wonder that the public has stopped looking to us for leadership,” McCain said. “Passing bills is the easy part of public office. The challenge is setting an example of the kind of behavior that society expects. To that end, we have failed.”
Source: Todd S. Purdum, New York Times, p. A14 Aug 17, 1999

Other candidates on Principles & Values: John McCain on other issues:
John Ashcroft
Pat Buchanan
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
Bill Clinton
Hillary Clinton (D,NY)
Elizabeth Dole
Steve Forbes
Rudy Giuliani (R,NYC)
Al Gore
Alan Keyes
John McCain (R,AZ)
Ralph Nader
Ross Perot
Colin Powell
Jesse Ventura (I,MN)

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