Undated File photo (circa 1983)
US President Ronald Reagan (L) discuss with
US Republica Senator John Sidney McCain III (R)
John Sidney McCain III (born August 29, 1936) is the senior United States Senator from Arizona and presumptive Republican Party nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 election.
McCain graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1958 and became a naval aviator, flying ground-attack aircraft from aircraft carriers. During the Vietnam War, he nearly lost his life in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire. Later that year while on a bombing mission over North Vietnam, he was shot down, badly injured, and captured as a prisoner of war by the North Vietnamese. He was held from 1967 to 1973, experiencing episodes of torture and refusing an out-of-sequence early repatriation offer; his war wounds would leave him with lifelong physical limitations.
He retired from the Navy as a captain in 1981 and, moving to Arizona, entered politics. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982. After serving two terms, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986, winning re-election easily in 1992, 1998, and 2004. While generally adhering to conservative principles, McCain has gained a media reputation as a "maverick" for disagreeing with his party on several key issues. After being investigated in a political influence scandal of the 1980s, as a member of the "Keating Five", he made campaign finance reform one of his signature concerns, which eventually led to the passage of the McCain-Feingold Act in 2002. He is also known for his work towards restoring diplomatic relations with Vietnam in the 1990s, and for his belief that the war in Iraq should be fought to a successful conclusion in the 2000s. McCain has chaired the powerful Senate Commerce Committee, and has been a leader in seeking to rein in both pork barrel spending as well as Senate filibusters of judicial nominations.
McCain lost the Republican nomination in the 2000 preside