Thursday, April 20, 2006

McCain's Support of War Looms as Barrier to Presidential Hopes

Forget about whether Senator John McCain is a maverick or a mainstream Republican, whether he has moved to the left or right, or whether he has changed his positions in order to prepare for a presidential run in 2008.

The real barrier to his ambitions may be his unswerving, unstinting and unnuanced support for an unpopular war in Iraq.

``I do understand it could be a political liability,'' the 69-year-old Arizona senator said in an interview. While he said he is ``a bit resentful'' of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld ``for the way the war has been poorly handled,'' McCain added, ``I still think we've got to win the war.''

With only 38 percent of Americans in the Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll saying the war is worth fighting, McCain's advisers are trying to make a virtue of his stance, saying it shows he is genuine, courageous and un-political. When 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry ``attempted to be `adroit' about the war, the public didn't like it,'' said John Weaver, McCain's chief political strategist. ``McCain is a straight shooter.''



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