McCain flirts with Tom Daschle

The two senators plan a weekend powwow at McCain's Arizona ranch.

Published June 1, 2001 10:03PM (EDT)

Never one to be outdone, Arizona Sen. John McCain has landed himself back in the news, once again as a thorn in the side of his fellow Republicans.

McCain's office released an official statement, which doubled as an all-points bulletin for anyone that might have missed it, that Sen. Majority Leader-in-waiting Tom Daschle visit to McCain's Arizona ranch this weekend is purely a social call.

"In a visit that was discussed and planned months ago, Senator Tom Daschle and his wife are spending an evening with Senator McCain in Arizona this weekend. It is a strictly social event," reads a statement released from McCain's office late Friday. "Over the years Senator McCain and his wife, Cindy, have been pleased to invite many friends, Democrats and Republicans, to spend time with them at their weekend home. Bi-partisan friendships are not as rare in Washington as some would believe. No one should read anything more into this. Senator McCain and Senator Daschle have known each other since 1983."

Certainly, McCain is shocked -- shocked! -- that the media might to imply anything unsavory is going on. I mean, heck, just because Time magazine reported this week that McCain approached Senate Democrats about leaving the GOP, and just because McCain blasted his party after Sen. Jim Jeffords' defection, and just because he happens to despise President Bush, I mean, why should we in the media think anything is up?

The statement, naturally, excited the McCain fan club over at the Free Republic.

"Coming from traitor McCain, this must be bullsh*t," writes one poster.

"If McCain has any idea of how much he is HATED in his own party he would switch. As it is I certainly how Matt Salmon or J.D. Hayworth see fit to challenge him for the GOP senate nomination," writes another. "Nothing would be better than to have this fake hero, dimwit run out of his own party. Well almost nothing would be better, a malignant melanoma on his face might just be!"

Another adds: "George Will had it right when asked by that goofball Sam Donaldson about whether McCain would run for the oval office in 2004, he said: "John McCain will do what his constituents tell him. His constituency is the media, and they want him to run." God save us from a perot redux, with the vacuous publicity hound, McCain as the spoiler in 2004."

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By Anthony York

Anthony York is Salon's Washington correspondent.

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