2008 Election
Pros and Cons
Video exploring critical thinking and how it leads to great citizen involvement

John McCain



Republican Presidential Nominee
US Senator (R-AZ)





John McCain's Positions & Statements on the Issues
Positions are categorized as Pro, Con, Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found.

Abortion: "Should abortion remain a legal option in America?"

Now Con: "John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench. Constitutional balance would be restored by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, returning the abortion question to the individual states. The difficult issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat. However, the reversal of Roe v. Wade represents only one step in the long path toward ending abortion. Once the question is returned to the states, the fight for life will be one of courage and compassion - the courage of a pregnant mother to bring her child into the world and the compassion of civil society to meet her needs and those of her newborn baby. The pro-life movement has done tremendous work in building and reinforcing the infrastructure of civil society by strengthening faith-based, community, and neighborhood organizations that provide critical services to pregnant mothers in need. This work must continue and government must find new ways to empower and strengthen these armies of compassion. These important groups can help build the consensus necessary to end abortion at the state level. As John McCain has publicly noted, 'At its core, abortion is a human tragedy. To effect meaningful change, we must engage the debate at a human level.'"
"Human Dignity and the Sanctity of Life: Overturning Roe v. Wade," John McCain's official candidate website (accessed Aug. 20, 2008)
[Editor's Note: Prior to John McCain's Con position accessed on Aug. 20, 2008, he expressed a Pro position as indicated in his July 21, 2005 statement below.]
Pro: "[John McCain]: I think it [right to an abortion] depends on the stage of the pregnancy, and I know we're splitting hairs here. But there's a point-there's a point where the woman's health is, obviously, in the later stages of pregnancy, is-gains in greater and greater importance. But I believe that if Roe v. Wade itself were repealed, we would go back to the states. And the states would make decisions according to the standards that they want to prevail within their states. So, if Roe v. Wade were repealed, that wouldn't have the Draconian effects that some view it. And I'm, being a states rights guy, that would be fine with me...

[Chris Mathews]: It would be OK with you if some states said that a woman couldn't have an abortion, even if her health was in danger?

[John McCain]: My position-my position is life of the mother, obviously... Rape, incest, or the life of the mother."

Hardball with Chris Matthews, MSNBC, July 21, 2005
Abortion: "Should parental consent be required for pregnant minors to have abortions?"

Pro: "...[D]espite the fact that 23 States require a minor to receive parental consent prior to obtaining an abortion, these important laws are being violated. Today, minors, with the assistance of adults who are not their parents, are being transported across State lines to receive abortions without obtaining parental consent. We must end this circumvention of State laws and, more importantly, the consequences such actions have on life."
Congressional Record, Library of Congress, THOMAS website, Sep. 29, 2006

Character: "Is competence more important than honesty in a President?"

Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Americans who expect their elected representatives to execute the responsibilities of our office with competence and integrity are often disappointed. They are disappointed by our failure to address the big problems facing our country, and make the necessary changes to government to meet those challenges...

If I'm privileged to serve our country as President, I will hold my administration to standards of conduct that will strengthen rather than diminish the people's faith in our integrity."

"Senator McCain Addresses the Oklahoma State Legislature on Government Reform," John McCain's official campaign website, May 21, 2007

China: "Is China a threat to the US?"

Not Clearly Pro or Con: "China could also bolster its claim that it is 'peacefully rising' by being more transparent about its significant military buildup. When China builds new submarines, adds hundreds of new jet fighters, modernizes its arsenal of strategic ballistic missiles, and tests antisatellite weapons, the United States legitimately must question the intent of such provocative acts. When China threatens democratic Taiwan with a massive arsenal of missiles and warlike rhetoric, the United States must take note. When China enjoys close economic and diplomatic relations with pariah states such as Burma, Sudan, and Zimbabwe, tension will result. When China proposes regional forums and economic arrangements designed to exclude America from Asia, the United States will react.

China and the United States are not destined to be adversaries. We have numerous overlapping interests. US-Chinese relations can benefit both countries and, in turn, the Asia-Pacific region and the world. But until China moves toward political liberalization, our relationship will be based on periodically shared interests rather than the bedrock of shared values...

Some Americans see globalization and the rise of economic giants such as China and India as a threat. We should reform our job training and education programs to more effectively help displaced American workers find new jobs that take advantage of trade and innovation. But we should continue to promote free trade, as it is vital to American prosperity."

"An Enduring Peace Built on Freedom: Securing America's Future," Foreign Affairs, Nov./Dec. 2007

China: "Should the US impose economic sanctions on China as an incentive to improve its human rights policies?"

Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Democracy and freedom continue to flourish around the world, but there have been some discouraging trends. In China, despite miraculous economic growth and a higher standard of living for many millions of Chinese, hopes for an accompanying political reform have diminished. The ruling party seems determined to dominate political life, and as in the past, the talk is of order, not democracy, the supremacy of the party not of the people. China astonishes the world with its economic and technological modernization, but then spends billions trying to control that great icon of the modern era, the internet. China recognizes its vital interest in economic integration with the democratic world. But it has also joined Russia in hindering international efforts to put pressure on dictators in Iran, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma, and other pariah states. China expresses its desire for a stable peace in East Asia, but it continues to increase its military might, fostering distrust and concerns in the region about Beijing's ambitions. We must insist that China use its newfound power responsibly at home and abroad."
"Senator McCain Addresses the Hoover Institution on US Foreign Policy," John McCain's official campaign website, May 1, 2007

Criminal Justice: "Should felons, who have completed their jail time and probation and paid all their fines, be allowed to vote in elections?"

Not Clearly Pro or Con: "This is a State rather than a federal issue, because the Supreme Court has held that States may prohibit felons from voting, and most States do. The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution specifically recognizes that the right to vote may be taken away if a person commits a crime...

The right to vote should be restored to felons only on a case by case basis after they have served their full sentences and have satisfactorily demonstrated that they have turned over a new leaf."

"The NAACP 2008 Presidential Candidate Civil Rights Questionnaire" (2.4MB) National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) website (accessed Aug. 20, 2008)

Criminal Justice: "Should the US develop programs that focus more on rehabilitation than punishment in order to reduce its rate of incarceration?"

None Found: ProCon.org emailed the McCain campaign on Apr. 22, 2008 with this question. We had not received a reply or found a position as of July 29, 2008.

Cuba: "Should the US continue to support an embargo against Cuba?"
Pro: "My administration will press the Cuban regime to release all political prisoners unconditionally, to legalize all political parties, labor unions and free media and to schedule internationally monitored elections. And, the embargo will stay in place until those terms are met."
"Senator John McCain Address on Latin America to the Florida Association of Broadcasters," Speech, John McCain's official candidate website, June 20, 2007

Darfur: "Should the US send any American forces, with or without the UN, to the Darfur region of Sudan to stop the genocide?"

Not Clearly Pro or Con: "The UN [United Nations] Security Council should demand that the Sudanese government immediately stop all violence against civilians, disarm and disband its militias, allow full humanitarian access, and let displaced persons return home. Should the government refuse to reverse course, its leadership should face targeted multilateral sanctions and visa bans. Peacekeeping troops should be deployed to Darfur to protect civilians and expedite the delivery of humanitarian aid, and we should encourage African, European and Arab countries to contribute to these forces.

The United States must stand ready to do what it can to stop the massacres. In addition to pushing the UN Security Council to act, we should provide financial and logistical support to countries willing to provide peacekeeping forces. The United States should initiate its own targeted sanctions against the Janjaweed and government leaders, and consider other ways we can increase pressure on the government. We must also continue to tell the world about the murderous activities in which these leaders are engaged, and make clear to all that this behavior is totally unacceptable."

"It's Happening Again," Op-Ed b y Senators John McCain and Mike DeWine, Washington Post, June 23, 2004

Death Penalty: "Should the death penalty remain a legal option in America?"
Pro: "I support the death penalty for heinous crimes in which the circumstances warrant capital punishment. I have supported legislation that sought to expand the number of federal crimes punishable by death, including terrorism and narcotics trafficking by drug kingpins."
"The NAACP 2008 Presidential Candidate Civil Rights Questionnaire" (2.4MB) National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) website (accessed Aug. 20, 2008)

Defense: "Should the US build its missile defense shield in former Soviet states despite objections from Russia?"

Not Clearly Pro or Con: "...[W]e must continue to deploy a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent, robust missile defenses and superior conventional forces that are capable of defending the United States and our allies...

I also believe we should work with Russia to build confidence in our missile defense program, including through such initiatives as the sharing of early warning data and prior notification of missile launches."

"Remarks by John McCain on Nuclear Security," John McCain's official candidate website, May 27, 2008

District of Columbia: "Should the District of Columbia become the 51st US state?"

Not Clearly Pro or Con: Voted No on S.1257 "A bill to provide the District of Columbia a voting seat and the State of Utah an additional seat in the House of Representatives":

"District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2007 - (Sec. 2) Considers the District of Columbia a congressional district for purposes of representation in the House of Representatives.

Declares that the District shall not be considered a state for purposes of representation in the Senate...

(Sec. 5) Repeals provisions of: (1) the District of Columbia Delegate Act establishing the office of District of Columbia Delegate to the House of Representatives; and (2) the District of Columbia Statehood Constitution Convention Initiative of 1979 providing for election of a Representative for the District."

"S.1257," Library of Congress: THOMAS website, May 1, 2007

 

[Editor's Note: John McCain was a US Senator on May 5, 1993 when S.898 "A Bill to Provide for the Admission of the State of New Columbia into the Union," also known as the "D.C. Statehood Bill," was introduced. S.898 never came to a vote in the Senate and ProCon.org found no statement by John McCain regarding this legislation.]

Economy: "Is outsourcing jobs to other countries good for America?"

Pro: "Globalization is here to stay. That is not something to fear. It is an opportunity to be seized. But globalization will not automatically benefit every American.

Change is hard, and while most of us gain, some industries, companies and workers are forced to struggle with very difficult choices. It wasn't government's job to spend millions to save buggy whip factories and haberdashers when cars replaced carriages and men stopped wearing hats. But it is government's job to help workers get the education and training they need for the new jobs that will be created by new businesses in this new century...

Older workers can use their experience and work ethic to adapt to the challenges of the next job, but often the starting pay of the next job doesn't measure up. We should give these displaced workers who move to a new job a few years of supplement to their earnings so that the impact of their economic dislocation is not so severe. They will be less resistant to taking a lower paying job and we will all benefit from having their experience back on the job.

I have always believed that before I can win someone's vote, I have to win their respect. And to do that I have to be honest with you. So here's a little straight talk I know the people of Michigan will understand. Some jobs that have left Michigan are not coming back. And the answer to that isn't to raise false hopes that somehow we can bring back lost jobs but to create new ones."

"Remarks To Americans For Prosperity Michigan Summit," John McCain's official campaign website, Jan. 12, 2008
Economy: "Should the US include mandatory regulations for labor rights in free trade agreements?"

Not Clearly Pro or Con: "To get our economy on track again, and create new and better jobs, we need to compete more, not less, in the global economy. We can't build walls to foreign competition, and we shouldn't want to. America is the biggest exporter, importer, producer, manufacturer, and innovator in the world. That's why I reject the false virtues of economic isolationism. Any confident, competent country and its government should embrace competition - it makes us stronger - not hide from our competitors and cheat our consumers and workers. We can compete and win, as we always have, or we can be left behind. Lowering barriers to trade creates more and better jobs, and higher wages."
Excerpt of a speech at the 2008 National Council of La Raza Convention, San Diego, CA, July 14, 2008
Economy: "Has the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) had an overall benefit for the US?"

Pro: "I know NAFTA was a good idea. It has created millions of jobs and it has helped the economies of all three of these nations. All you have to do is go to Detroit and see the thousands of trucks lined up every day or go to our southern border. There have been winners and losers. And that's the problem. But free trade is something that I think is vital to America."
"Re: Was NAFTA a Good Idea?" Big Think website, Dec. 14, 2007
Economy: "Should the federal government bail out failing US private corporations like it did with Bear Stearns or Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac at taxpayers expense?"

Pro: "Americans should be outraged at the latest sweetheart deal in Washington. Congress will put U.S. taxpayers on the hook for potentially hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It's a tribute to what these two institutions -- which most Americans have never heard of -- have bought with more than $170-million worth of lobbyists in the past decade.

With combined obligations of roughly $5-trillion, the rapid failure of Fannie and Freddie would be a threat to mortgage markets and financial markets as a whole. Because of that threat, I support taking the unfortunate but necessary steps needed to keep the financial troubles at these two companies from further squeezing American families.
" 
"Taxpayers on Hook to Bail Out Fannie, Freddie," St. Petersburg Times, July 24, 2008

Economy: "Do labor unions provide an overall benefit to workers in the US?"

Pro:  "I think the unions have played a very important role in the history of this country to improve the plight and conditions of laboring Americans.

I think that like many other monopolies, in some cases
[there] have been serious excesses." 
Republican Presidential Debate, Dearborn, MI, Oct. 9, 2008

Education: "Has the No Child Left Behind Act been effective at improving public education?"

Pro: "The principles underneath No Child Left Behind -- standards, accountability, transparency, and choice-- are a major step in the right direction; taking away power from education bureaucrats and returning it to those on the front lines of education -- the local schools, the local teachers and the local parents. It has provided support and guidance to our state and local communities to strengthen our schools, while also giving much needed flexibility for every state in the use of federal education dollars. It also contains many initiatives that have helped ensure that more federal education dollars reach our classrooms rather than being lost in bureaucratic black hole."
"The Presidential Field: John McCain," Washington Post online election resource guide (accessed Jan. 25, 2008)

Education: "Is the increasing cost of college and university tuition pricing America's middle class out of higher education?"
Pro: "By far, I believe the skyrocketing costs of tuition at colleges and universities across our nation is the biggest obstacle facing those who want to continue their education. Over the last 20 years, the average tuition at public educational institutions has increased by 400 percent, while tuition at private institutions has increased more than 440 percent. These are unnerving statistics for parents just starting their families, but they are a terrifying reality for parents with college-bound children.

Congress has taken steps to improve the availability of financial assistance for college tuition. The 1998 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which I supported, made student loans more affordable by increasing the allowable level for Pell Grants and setting the lowest loan interest rates in nearly two decades. The bill also provided loan forgiveness for college students who agreed to teach in high-risk schools, while also strengthening the training of future teachers. In addition, I will continue to support significant funding for literacy-, vocational-, and technical-education programs, and broadening opportunities for high-school and adult students through strong educational initiatives, including the Carl D. Perkins Act...

I supported the 1997 Taxpayer Relief Act that created the Hope and Lifetime Learning tax credits to make college and higher education more affordable. Both of these programs are currently playing an important role in helping make college and postsecondary education more affordable for many American families, and I will continue to support them.

We must do more to make college affordable for all Americans. That is why I have proposed a tax plan that allows Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money to be used for their priorities, including higher education. In addition, I will increase the annual amount families can save in tax-free Education Savings Accounts for college expenses. I will encourage and reward savings and investment by establishing new, tax-deferred Family Security Accounts which can be used for higher education. And I will continue to support funding as generously as possible federal programs, such as Pell Grants, that help make higher education affordable for all Americans."

"Q&A: The Candidates on College Issues," The Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb. 25, 2000The Chronicle of Higher Education, Feb. 25, 2000

Education: "Should the federal government fund school voucher programs?"

Pro: "Choice and competition is the key to success in education in America. That means charter schools, that means home schooling, it means vouchers, it means rewarding good teachers and finding bad teachers another line of work...It means rewarding good performing schools, and it really means in some cases putting bad performing schools out of business."
Republican Presidential Debate, Coral Gables, FL, Dec. 9, 2007

Education: "Should sex education in our schools be based on abstinence only?"

Pro: "Q: What about grants for sex education in the United States? Should they include instructions about using contraceptives? Or should it be Bush's policy, which is just abstinence?

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) Ahhh. I think I support the president's policy."

"McCain Stumbles on H.I.V. Prevention," New York Times, Mar. 16, 2007
 
Election Reform:
None Found: ProCon.org emailed the McCain campaign on Oct. 10, 2007 with this question. We had not received a reply or found a position as of Oct. 19, 2007.

Election Reform: "Should there be restrictions on campaign contributions?"

Pro: "Most Americans understand that competitive elections in a free country require money. Since campaigns require spending funds to communicate with voters, they know we can never take money completely out of politics, nor should we. Americans have a right to support the candidates and the parties they endorse, including financially if they so choose.

But what most Americans worry about profoundly is corporations or individuals with huge checks seeking the undue influence on lawmakers that such largesse is intended to purchase. That is why John McCain has fought to enforce long-standing prohibitions on corporate and union contributions to federal political parties, for sensible donation limits, disclosure of how candidates and campaigns are funded, and the diligent enforcement of these common sense rules that promote maximum public participation in the political process and limit opportunities for corruption."

"On the Issues: Lobbying & Ethics Reform," John McCain's official candidate website (accessed Jan. 8, 2008)

Election Reform: "Should the election campaigns of candidates for public office be publicly financed?"

Pro: "[Bill] Moyers: In your home state of Arizona, a number of candidates recently were elected to office running with public funding, public financing, which you supported, which you endorsed. What do you think about that experiment there?

[John] McCain: I think it's good overall. I think it needs to, like any other new experiment, it needs to have some wrinkles taken out of it. But we had more people run for public office than any time in the history of our state, and that's what it was all about. As I say, there's some fixes that need to be made, but it was a new experiment, and overall I think was very successful and interestingly the ones who are running, you know what they're telling me? They said, surprise, surprise, I spend my time talking to voters not to contributors.

Moyers: Do you think that could become a model for the nation as a whole?

McCain: Absolutely."

Now with Bill Moyers, Dec. 13, 2002

[Editor's Note: In a Feb. 6, 2008 letter to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), John McCain advised the FEC that he was "withdrawing from participation in the federal primary-election funding program [public campaign financing] established by the Presidential Primary Matching Payment Account Act." However, Sen. McCain indicated that he would take public financing in the general election according to Associated Press, Reuters, Washington Post, and others]

Eminent Domain: "Should federal or state government be allowed to use eminent domain laws to take private property for non-public use?"

Con: "Some local governments have sought to stretch their eminent domain power as a means of augmenting revenue by expanding their tax base. Indeed, the America of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries has witnessed an explosion of government regulations that have jeopardized private ownership of property, often for questionable purposes that have little to do with the limited types of public use envisioned by the framers of our Constitution...

In Kelo [Kelo v. City of New London, 545 US 469 (2005)], the Supreme Court held that held that the Constitution allows governments to seize private property and transfer it from one private land owner to another in the name of economic development. In other words, after the Kelo decision, governments can use their eminent domain power to take homes for potentially more profitable, higher-tax uses...

I have co-sponsored legislation to forbid this kind of government taking...But laws defending private property are only as secure as the judges that defend those laws. Kelo passed narrowly, supported by a five to four majority with a track record of legislating from the bench. As President, I pledge to appoint strict constructionist judges who respect the Constitution and understand the security of private property it provides. If need be, I would seek to amend the Constitution to protect private property rights in America."

"John McCain Discusses Private Property Rights in an Address to the Cedar Rapids Rotary Club," John McCain's official candidate website, Aug. 6, 2007

Energy: "Should drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) be allowed?"
Con: Voted No on "S.AMDT.3132, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge amendment: To create jobs for Americans, to reduce dependence on foreign sources of crude oil and energy, to strengthen the economic self determination of the Inupiat Eskimos and to promote national security," on Apr. 16, 2002:

"SEC. 1902. DEFINITIONS.

(1) COASTAL PLAIN.--The term 'Coastal Plain' means that area identified as such in the map entitled 'Arctic National Wildlife Refuge', dated August 1980, as referenced in section 1002(b) of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (16 USC. 3142(b)(1)), comprising approximately 1,549,000 acres, and as legally described in appendix I to part 37 of title 50, Code of Federal Regulations...

SEC. 1903. LEASING PROGRAM FOR LANDS WITHIN THE COASTAL PLAIN.

(a) IN GENERAL.--The Secretary shall take such actions as are necessary--

(1) to establish and implement in accordance with this title a competitive oil and gas leasing program under the Mineral Leasing Act (30 USC. 181 et seq.) that will result in an environmentally sound program for the exploration, development, and production of the oil and gas resources of the Coastal Plain."

Energy: "Should the US tap into its emergency oil reserves to help bring down the price of gasoline?"

Pro: "Daily Star: Do you suppose the strategic oil reserve should be opened up at $3 or $4 or $5 a gallon?

McCain: It would be OK with me. It would probably be a week's worth. It wouldn't really address the problem but it would be OK with me. I'm not an expert on oil prices. I cannot predict. But I am knowledgeable enough to know that we've got India and China, two developing industrial nations, and they're going to suck up a lot of the world's oil reserves. Why do you think I met our friend that's the head of Phelps Dodge? Why is the price of copper at an all- time high? The Chinese are buying every scrap of copper that's available. Supply and demand."

"Transcript of John McCain's Roundtable Discussion with Star Editors," Arizona Daily Star website, Aug. 28, 2005

Energy: "Should the US permit more offshore drilling to increase domestic energy supplies?"

Now Pro:  "We need to offshore drill for oil and natural gas. We need to drill here and we need to drill now."
Statement made during a campaign stop in Lafayette Hill, PA, YouTube video, Aug. 4, 2008

[Editor's Note: Prior to John McCain's Aug. 4, 2008 Pro position above, his position was Not Clearly Pro or Con as indicated in his May 28, 2008 statement below.]

Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Of course I want to exploit, if I could, those resources, particularly off the coast of Florida as well as California and maybe other places in the Gulf.

But I also have to tell you that, with those resources which would take years to develop, it would only postpone, or temporarily relieve our dependence on fossil fuels."

Excerpt from a McCain town hall meeting in Greensdale, WI, YouTube video, May 28, 2008
Energy: "Should the US build additional nuclear plants?"

Pro: "The U.S. has not started construction on a new nuclear power plant in over 30 years. Currently, nuclear power provides 20 percent of our overall energy portfolio. Other countries such as China, India and Russia are looking to increase the role of nuclear power in their energy portfolio and the U.S. should not just look to maintain, but increase its own use. John McCain will put our country on track to construct 45 new nuclear power plants by 2030 with the ultimate goal of eventually constructing 100 new plants."
"Cheap, Clean, Secure Energy for America," John McCain's official candidate website (accessed Sep. 23, 2008)

Energy: "Should the private ethanol industry be subsidized by the federal government?"

Con: "Many Iowans have heard that I oppose federal subsidies for ethanol production...Some of my opponents will describe my positions as opposition to American ethanol producers or, for some inexplicable reason, a personal dislike of Iowa. Neither is true, of course, and I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight...

Yes, I oppose subsidies. Not just ethanol subsidies. Subsidies. And not just in Iowa either. I oppose them in my own state of Arizona...

Yes, that means no ethanol subsidies. But it also means no rifle-shot tax breaks for big oil. It means no line items for hydrogen, no mandates for other renewable fuels, and no big-government debacles like the Dakotas Synfuels plant. It means ethanol entrepreneurs get a level playing field to make their case -- and earn their profits."
"John McCain Addresses Conference on Bio Economy in Ames, IA," John McCain's official candidate website, Nov. 5, 2007

Environment: "Should the US ratify an international environmental agreement (such as the Kyoto Protocol) that mandates reductions in carbon emissions?"
Not Clearly Pro or Con: Voted Yes on "S.RES.98":

"Expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the conditions for the United States becoming a signatory to any international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change...

(1) the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol to, or other agreement regarding, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992, at negotiations in Kyoto in December 1997, or thereafter, which would--

(A) mandate new commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the Annex I Parties, unless the protocol or other agreement also mandates new specific scheduled commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for Developing Country Parties within the same compliance period, or

(B) would result in serious harm to the economy of the United States; and

(2) any such protocol or other agreement which would require the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification should be accompanied by a detailed explanation of any legislation or regulatory actions that may be required to implement the protocol or other agreement and should also be accompanied by an analysis of the detailed financial costs and other impacts on the economy of the United States which would be incurred by the implementation of the protocol or other agreement."

"S.RES.98," US Senate website, July 25, 1997

Environment: "Should the federal government mandate an increase in fuel efficiency standards for automobiles?"

Pro: "There are some tough decisions that need to be made. One of them is increasing CAFE [Corporate Average Fuel Economy] standards. I am a small government, less regulation, lower taxes American. But I think it's time to raise CAFE standards."
"Global Warming and Energy Solutions" conference speech, Manchester, New Hampshire, YouTube.com Oct. 13, 2007

Environment: "Are humans substantially responsible for global climate change today?"

Not Clearly Pro or Con: "I also believe that strengthening our energy security goes hand-in-hand with addressing global climate change, which I believe is real with human activity contributing to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere."
"America's Strategic Vulnerability: Vital Energy Questions," National Review, Sep. 27, 2007

Gun Control: "Are more federal regulations on guns and ammunition needed?"
Con: "John McCain believes that the right of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms is a fundamental, individual Constitutional right that we have a sacred duty to protect. We have a responsibility to ensure that criminals who violate the law are prosecuted to the fullest, rather than restricting the rights of law abiding citizens. Gun control is a proven failure in fighting crime. Law abiding citizens should not be asked to give up their rights because of criminals - criminals who ignore gun control laws anyway...

John McCain believes that banning ammunition is just another way to undermine Second Amendment rights. He voted against an amendment that would have banned many of the most commonly used hunting cartridges on the spurious grounds that they were 'armor-piercing.'"

"On the Issues: Protecting Second Amendment Rights," John McCain's official campaign website (accessed Nov. 29, 2007)

Health Care: "Should all Americans have a right to government or employer subsidized basic health care?"
Con: "First of all, I think it is important that that will be one of the defining issues of this campaign, because we know that there will be Hillary-care resurrected. There will be efforts to raise your taxes. There will be efforts to have a single-payer big government solution by the Democrats. They've already espoused those causes. If you believe them, please take a trip to Canada or England before you decide to support such a thing.

America has the highest quality health care in the world. Our job is to preserve it. Our job is to keep the costs down. Last year, the Medicaid inflation was 10 percent. No, no program in the world can survive under that. So of course we want to remove the employer (OOTC: EPLI) tax, and tax incentives, and move it to the individual. Give the individual a $2,500 refundable tax credit, a family a $5,000 tax credit.

If you need to have people in special categories such as congenital diseases, we may have to set up a fund to care for those. But the key is, make health care in America affordable and available. Don't destroy it, as the Democrats want to do."

Republican Presidential Debate, Orlando, Florida, hosted by FOX News, Oct. 21, 2007

Health Care: "Should Americans be allowed to purchase their prescription drugs from other countries?"

Pro: "It's a strawman to say that a country like Canada could not be responsible for safe drugs to be brought into our country. Many of them are manufactured in Canada, as you know.

I would reimport them from any country in the world as long as you have the proper process. In Canada, we already do. In Mexico, we do not."

"McCain Calls For Drug Reimportation," The Associated Press, Nov. 17, 2007

 

Health Care: "Are fast food companies responsible in any way for America's obesity problems?"

Not Clearly Pro or Con: "McCain believes the fight against obesity involves more than just the federal government mandating fitness. Parents should provide their children with healthier meals and make exercise a family activity; schools must provide children with nutrition education and should offer more opportunities for physical education; and health-care providers should use yearly checkups as an opportunity to guide their patients through diet and fitness goals."
"What the Candidates Had to Say," washingtonpost.com, May 18, 2008

Immigration: "Are illegal immigrants a net gain to the US economy?"

Not Clearly Pro or Con: "The reality is, there are an estimated [?] million undocumented people living and working in this country. It would be impossible to identify and round up all 10 to 11 million of the current undocumented, and if we did, it would ground our nation's economy to a halt. These millions of people are working. Aliens will not come forward to simply 'report and deport.' We have a national interest in identifying these individuals, incentivizing them to come forward out of the shadows, go through security background checks, pay back taxes, pay penalties for breaking the law, learn to speak English, and regularize their status. Anyone who thinks this goal can be achieved without providing an eventual path to a permanent legal status is not serious about solving this problem."
"Members of Congress Introduce Comprehensive Border Security & Immigration Reform Bill [S 2611]," John McCain's official US Senate website, May 13, 2005

Immigration: "Should illegal aliens receive any of the rights or benefits that lawful permanent residents enjoy?"

Pro: "I came to the Senate not to do the easy things, but to do the hard things. Mel Martinez and I knew this was going to be a tough issue, but we thought the status quo was unacceptable: broken borders; 12 million people here illegally; a need for a temporary worker program, certainly in my state in the agricultural section, certainly in this state of Florida...

And we need to sit down as Americans and recognize these are God's children as well. And they need some protection under the law. And they need some of our love and compassion."

Republican Presidential Debate, St. Petersburg, Florida, hosted by CNN, YouTube.com, and the Republican Party of Florida, Nov. 28, 2007
Immigration: "Should the US build a physical barrier, such as a fence, along the US-Mexico border?"
Now Con: "Look, America is a land of opportunity. The question was just asked, what is it to be an American? It's to share a common goal that all of us -- a principle -- are created equal and endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights...

Of course it has to be legal. Of course that it has to be regulated. And 18 months, by the way, will go by while we fix the border before we do anything else on this issue...

And we're not going to erect barriers and fences."

Republican Presidential Debate, Saint Anselm College Manchester, New Hampshire, hosted by CNN, June 5, 2007
[Editor's Note: Prior to John McCain's June 5, 2007 Con position above, regarding building a border fence, he has also expressed a Pro position as indicated in his Sep. 29, 2006 Senate vote in support of the "Secure Fence Act of 2006."]
Pro: Voted Yes to the "Secure Fence Act of 2006 (H.R. 6061)"

"SEC. 3. CONSTRUCTION OF FENCING AND SECURITY IMPROVEMENTS IN BORDER AREA FROM PACIFIC OCEAN TO GULF OF MEXICO...

(1) SECURITY FEATURES.-

(A) REINFORCED FENCING.-In carrying out subsection

(a), the Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide for least 2 layers of reinforced fencing, the installation of additional physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors..."

"H.R.6061: Secure Fence Act of 2006," Library of Congress website, Sep. 29, 2006

Iran: "Should the US use military force against Iran if Iran does not dismantle its nuclear program?"
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "And every option must remain on the table. Military action isn't our preference. It remains, as it always must, the last option. We have some way to go diplomatically before we need to contemplate other measures. But it is a simple observation of reality that there is only one thing worse than a military solution, and that, my friends, is a nuclear armed Iran. The regime must understand that it cannot win a showdown with the world."
"John McCain Addresses the Christians United for Israel," Speeches, John McCain's official campaign website, July 18, 2007

[Editor's Note: John McCain submitted a press release on June 2, 2008 titled "John McCain on Security in the Middle East" on his official candidate website regarding his views on Iran's nuclear intentions:

"Iran's Continued Pursuit Of Nuclear Weapons Poses An Unacceptable Danger That We Cannot Allow.

Emboldened by nuclear weapons, Iran would feel unconstrained to sponsor terrorist attacks. Its flouting of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty would render that agreement obsolete and could induce others to join a nuclear arms race. There would be the possibility that Tehran might pass nuclear materials or weapons to terrorist networks. An Iranian nuclear bomb would pose an existential threat to Israel.

Rather Than Sitting Down Unconditionally With The Iranian President Or Supreme Leader, John McCain Will Work To Create Real-World Pressures To Peacefully But Decisively Change Iran's Behavior..."]

Iran: "Should the US be involved in direct negotiations with Iran?"

Now Pro: "[Henry Kissinger] said that there could be secretary-level and lower level meetings. I've always encouraged them. The Iranians have met with Ambassador Crocker in Baghdad."
Excerpt from the presidential debate held at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS, Sep. 26, 2008

Not Clearly Pro Con:"The most overrated aspect of our dialogue about international relations is direct face-to-face talks. BlackBerries work. Emissaries work. There's many thousands of ways to communicate.

The question is are you going to have direct talks, and does that enhance the prestige of the president of Iran, who has said all these things about us, and has announced his country's continued distinction to the extinction of the state of Israel, or does it reach a successful conclusion?

That's the question you have to ask when you talk about, quote, 'face-to-face talks.'"
Interview with Chris Wallace, FOX News Sunday, Dec. 9, 2007

Iraq: "Was it a mistake to attack Iraq in 2003?"

Con: "It was worth getting rid of Saddam Hussein. He had used weapons of mass destruction, and it's clear that he was hell-bent on acquiring them...

The war in Iraq is justified because of the threat of Saddam Hussein...

It was a good idea. It was not worth the failures that happened, but it is worth it at the end of the day because we will have peace and success in the Middle East, and our men and women will return, and return with honor, and they won't have to go back and fight al Qaeda there."

Republican Presidential Debate, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, hosted by MSNBC, St. Petersburg Times, Jan. 24, 2008

Iraq: "Has the war in Iraq made America safer?"
Not Cleary Pro or Con: "America has a vital interest in preventing the emergence of Iraq as a Wild West for terrorists, similar to Afghanistan before 9/11. By leaving Iraq before there is a stable Iraqi governing authority we risk precisely this, and the potential consequence of allowing terrorists sanctuary in Iraq is another 9/11 or worse. In Iraq today, terrorists have resorted to levels of barbarism that shock the world, and we should not be so naive as to believe their intentions are limited solely to the borders of that country. We Americans are their primary enemy, and we Americans are their ultimate target...

Our defeat in Iraq would constitute a defeat in the war against terror and extremism and would make the world a much more dangerous place. The enemies we face there harbor the same depraved indifference to human life as those who killed three thousand innocent Americans on a September morning in 2001...

Some argue the war in Iraq no longer has anything to do with us; that it is a hopelessly complicated mess of tribal warfare and sectarian conflict. The situation is complex, and very difficult. Yet from one perspective it is quite simple. We are engaged in a basic struggle: a struggle between humanity and inhumanity; between builders and destroyers. If fighting these people and preventing the export of their brand of radicalism and terror is not intrinsic to the national security and most cherished values of the United States, I don't know what is."

"April 11 Speech on Iraq," John McCain's official candidate website (accessed Oct. 24, 2007)

Iraq: "Should the US set a timetable for troop withdrawal in Iraq?"
Con: "Look, this is long and hard and difficult, and I've said it for a long time. And it's no last throes, it's no mission accomplished, it's no few dead-enders. It's long and hard and tough. We are experiencing some successes. Do we have to experience more? Yes. But to do what the Democrats want to do, and that's set a date for withdrawal, even those who opposed the war from the beginning don't think that that would lead to anything but an enormously challenging situation as a result.

MR. [TIM] RUSSERT: But, senator, the Iraqi parliament, a majority of the Iraqi parliament, has signed a petition asking for a date certain for withdrawal of American troops. If the Iraqi parliament wants it, a majority in the Congress want it...

SEN. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: ...then why do you stand there and say, "No, you can't have it"?

SEN. McCAIN: Because it's my job to give my best estimate to the American people, no matter what the political calculations may be, as to what's the best in our nation's national security interest. Young men and women are risking their lives as we speak in, in, in Iraq. And I know that they will be in greater harm's way if we withdraw from Iraq, as we keep debating over and over and over again. And I know what's best, in my mind, in my experience, in my knowledge, in my inspiration, as to what's best for this country. So political calculations such as polls, I understand that if the American people don't continue to support this effort that we will be forced to withdraw. But it's also my obligation to tell the American people and my constituents in Arizona that I represent, what the consequences of failure will be; and I believe they will be catastrophic."

Meet the Press with Tim Russert, MSNBC, May 13, 2007

Israel: "Should Israel continue to receive the current level of military and economic aid from the US?"

Pro: "And just as there will always be a proud, strong Israel, so too will there always be a close and enduring US-Israel relationship. When it comes to the defense of Israel, we simply cannot compromise. In view of the increased threats to Israeli security, American support for Israel should intensify - to include providing needed military equipment and technology and ensuring that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge. Israel's enemies are too numerous, its margin of error too small, and our shared interests and values too great for any other position."
"John McCain Addresses the Christians United for Israel," Speech, John McCain's official campaign website, July 18, 2007

Israel-Palestinian Conflict: "Should the US allow Hamas to join future Israeli-Palestinian negotiations?"

Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Similarly, the leadership of Hamas must be isolated. The Palestinian people are ill-served by a terrorist-led government that refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist, refuses to renounce violence, and refuses to acknowledge prior peace commitments. The United States cannot have normal relations with such a government, one that deliberately targets innocent Israeli civilians in an attempt to terrorize the Jewish population.

The recent talks between the Israeli government and the government led by President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank are encouraging, and the United States should support this effort. We also must ensure that Israel's people can live in safety until a Palestinian leadership truly committed to peace emerges. No moral nation - neither Israel nor America - can allow terrorists to chart the political course of its people."

"John McCain Addresses the Christians United for Israel," Speech, John McCain's official candidate website, July 18, 2007

Israeli Palestinian Conflict: "Should there be an independent Palestinian state?"

Not Clearly Pro or Con: "Palestinian statehood has significant international support, and it is an objective our President supports. But we will do the Palestinian people no favors if Palestinian statehood merely replaces the corrupt, strongman rule of the Palestinian Authority with the corrupt, strongman rule of another Arab dictatorship in Palestine. The Palestinian people deserve better than that. The international community must leverage the unique role it has played in the debate over Palestinian statehood to ensure that any Palestinian state that does emerge is accountable and representative, with power broadly based and with unified police and military forces that are accountable to an elected leader, who will in turn be accountable to the international community, whose financial support will sustain the Palestinian state."
Speech at the American Jewish Committee Annual Meeting, May 9, 2002

Kosovo: "Should the US have supported Kosovo's independence?"

Pro: "With its declaration of independence, Kosovo and the Balkans with it has taken a major step out of the 1990s and into the 21st century. Eleven years ago, that region was in flames, characterized by ethnic cleansing and widespread violence. Today, for the first time, the region is poised to move forward. The people of Kosovo should be commended for the great strides they have made and the bright future that lies ahead.

The United States and the rest of the international community can help solidify these gains by quickly recognizing Kosovo's independence."

"Senator McCain Welcomes Kosovo's Independence," Press Release, Feb. 18, 2008

Marriage: "Should there be a Constitutional amendment or federal law defining marriage as only between a man and a woman?"
Con: "The constitutional amendment [The Federal Marriage Constitutional Amendment] we're debating today strikes me as antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans... It usurps from the states a fundamental authority they have always possessed and imposes a federal remedy for a problem that most states do not believe confronts them."
"McCain: Same-Sex Marriage Ban Is Un-Republican," CNN.com, July 14, 2004
[Editor's Note: Although John McCain has opposed a US Constitutional amendment to same-sex marriage. He has supported a state-level amendment to the Arizona constitution banning same-sex marriage.

"Gay-Marriage Ban Initiative Wins Support from McCain," an article published in The Arizona Republic, Aug. 26, 2005, stated the following:

"Sen. John McCain said Thursday that he supports an initiative that would change Arizona's Constitution to ban gay marriages and deny government benefits to unmarried couples...

The amendment 'would allow the people of Arizona to decide on the definition of marriage in our state,' McCain said in a statement. The senator, who opposes a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, believes those are state matters, a staffer said."]

Marriage: "Should an affair outside of marriage disqualify a candidate for public office?"
Not Clearly Pro or Con: "[Katie] Couric: Harry Truman once said, 'A man not honorable in his marital relations is not usually honorable in any other.' Many people feel they don't feel comfortable supporting someone who's not remained faithful to his or her spouse. Should they feel that way? Or can you understand their feeling that way?

[John] McCain: You know ... that's an area that I never get into. Because I think that people make judgments, and you can judge other people. I'm not very good at that. And so, I think it's up to each person's personal view of the individual, and ... everybody has a different view.

I say that because you and I know that there have been some leaders in American history -- latest information about Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I happen to still think that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was an important president at a time in our history when we needed some courage. And so, it's -- that's just frankly, a judgment that I leave to others."

"Candidates Offer Views on Infidelity," CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, CBSNews.com, Dec. 19, 2007

Media: "Should journalists be shielded from prosecution for protecting their sources?"

Pro: "I want to address quickly an issue I know is important to you, the so-called 'shield law' pending before Congress. I have had a hard time deciding whether to support or oppose it. To be very candid, but with no wish to offend you, I must confess there have been times when I worry that the press' interest in getting a scoop occasionally conflicts with other important priorities, even the first concern of every American -- the security of our nation. I take a very, very dim view of stories that disclose classified information that unnecessarily threatens or makes it more difficult to protect the physical security of Americans. I think that has happened before, rarely, but it has happened...

The shield law would give great license to you and your sources, with few restrictions, to do as you please no matter the stakes involved and without fear of personal consequences beyond the rebuke of your individual consciences. It is, frankly, a license to do harm, perhaps serious harm. But it also a license to do good; to disclose injustice and unlawfulness and inequities; and to encourage their swift correction. The First Amendment is based in that recognition, and I am, despite the criticism of campaign finance reform opponents, committed to that essential right of a free society. I know that the press that disclosed security secrets that should have remained so also revealed the disgrace of Abu Ghraib, a disgrace that made it much harder to protect the American people from harm. Thus, despite concerns I have about the legislation, I have narrowly decided to support it. I respect those of my colleagues who have decided not to; appreciate very much the concerns that have informed their position, and encourage further negotiations to address those concerns. But if the vote were held today, I would vote yes. By so doing, I and others, on behalf of the people we represent, are willing to invest in the press a very solemn trust that in the use of confidential sources you will not do more harm than good whether it comes to the security of the nation or the reputation of good people."

"Remarks by John McCain to the Associated Press' Annual Meeting," USA Today website, Apr. 14, 2008

Medical Marijuana: "Should marijuana be a medical option?"
Con: "Every medical expert I know of, including the AMA [American Medical Association], says that there are much more effective and much better treatments for pain than medical marijuana...I still would not support medical marijuana because I don't think that the preponderance of medical opinion in America agrees with [the] assertion that it's the most effective way of treating pain."
Town Hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, Sep. 30, 2007

Medical Marijuana: "Should the federal government stop raids against people for using medical marijuana in states where medical marijuana use is legal?"

Pro: Q: "Would you arrest and possibly jail the sick and dying patients in the twelve states who have passed legislation protecting these patients with their doctors' approval?"

John McCain: "Now that's a very good twist on the old question trying to embarrass me on this issue. Thank you very much. And the answer, of course, is no. But the fact is I do not approve of the use of medical marijuana. I never have, and I never will."

Maureen & Cal Barrows House Party, Exeter, NH, YouTube.com, Sep. 29, 2007

National ID: "Should there be a national identification card?"

Not Clearly Pro or Con: "...[T]his amendment [McCain/Lieberman S.Amdt.3807 to the "National Intelligence Reform Act" (S.2845)] would implement 9/11 Commission's recommendation that the Federal Government set standards for the issuance of birth certificates, driver's licenses, and other sources of identification...

Our amendment would require birth certificates and driver's licenses to meet new minimum Federal standards in order to be accepted by a Federal agency for any official purpose...

This amendment would not mandate a national ID card. It would not infringe upon the right of the States to determine who can get a driver's license. It would not establish a national database with information on all drivers. And it would prohibit the establishment of a single design for driver's licenses and birth certificates. We believe it fulfills the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission without trampling on States' rights, privacy, or civil liberties."

"National Intelligence Reform Act: Amendment 3807," Speech by John McCain, Congressional Record, Sep. 30, 2004

National Service: "Should the US institute a military draft?"

Con: "I am glad to see that troop increases are in the pipeline but current plans are not enough. As president, I would bring the army and Marines from the currently planned level of roughly 750,000 to 900,000. This will cost real money, some $15 billion annually, but it will not require a draft any more than similar levels did in the 1980s. It is vitally important for the next president to issue a call to service, to summon the young men and women of America to defend their country and its noble ideals. I am confident that this generation will answer the summons just as so many of us did in previous generations."
"Senator McCain Addresses the Concord Chamber of Commerce on Defeating Our Enemies,"
Speech, John McCain's official candidate website, July 13, 2007

National Service: "Should openly gay people be allowed to serve in the US military?"

Con: "All the time, I talk to our military leaders, beginning with our joint chiefs of staff and the leaders in the field, such as General Petraeus and General Odierno and others who are designated leaders with the responsibility of the safety of the men and women under their command and their security and protect them as best they can.

Almost unanimously, they tell me that this present policy [Don't Ask/Don't Tell: No openly gay people in military] is working, that we have the best military in history, that we have the bravest, most professional, best prepared, and that this policy ought to be continued because it's working."

Republican Presidential Debate, St. Petersburg, Florida, hosted by CNN, YouTube.com, and the Republican Party of Florida, Nov. 28, 2007

 

National Service: "Should the US mandate military service or civil service like the Peace Corps?"

Con: Q: "You mentioned service as well, would that be a part of high schools [inaudible] would you institute [inaudible] students to visit Habitat for Humanity or play a part in that type of thing?"

McCain: "I don't believe in requiring, I believe that motivating is the best way to do it."

"McCain on Voluntary Service," YouTube video dated Mar. 27, 2007 (accessed July 11, 2008)
Presidential Power: "Should the US President's powers be expanded to include a line item veto?"

Pro: "I was one of the prime sponsors of the line-item veto. It was declared unconstitutional because of the way it was written. It is not unconstitutional in the way we are writing it now. ... The fact is 43 governors have a line-item veto. We've got to have the line-item veto. Ronald Reagan wanted it, everybody wants it, it has got to be done, otherwise we're not going to eliminate these pork barrel projects. You've seen the smoke and mirrors that is going on right now on earmarks. Look, the line-item veto can be and should be constitutional and there's a way to phrase it and there's a way to do it ... we can write it so it's constitutional. It is a vital tool and ... I was one of the prime sponsors of the line item veto when we passed it."

"John McCain's Post-Debate Interview On CNBC," John McCain's official candidate website, Oct. 9, 2007

Presidential Power: "Should the unitary executive theory apply to the US President?"

Not Clearly Pro or Con: Q: "Does the president have inherent powers under the Constitution to conduct surveillance for national security purposes without judicial warrants, regardless of federal statutes?

[John McCain: ] There are some areas where the statutes don't apply, such as in the surveillance of overseas communications. Where they do apply, however, I think that Presidents have the obligation to obey and enforce laws that are passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, no matter what the situation is.

[Q: ] Okay, so is that a no, in other words, federal statute trumps inherent power in that case, warrantless surveillance?

[McCain: ] I don't think the president has the right to disobey any law...

[Q: ] Under what circumstances, if any, would you sign a bill into law but also issue a signing statement reserving a constitutional right to bypass the law?

[McCain: ] As President, I won't have signing statements. I will either sign or veto any legislation that comes across my desk."

"John McCain Q&A," www.boston.com, Dec. 20, 2007

Presidential Power: "Should the Vice-President of the US be considered part of the Executive Branch and thus be subject to the laws and rules governing that branch?"

None Found: ProCon.org emailed the McCain campaign on Oct. 14, 2008 with this question. We had not received a reply or found a position as of Oct. 30, 2008.

Religion: "Should federal funds be given to faith-based (religious) organizations and initiatives?"
Pro: [Pastor Rick] Warren: Would you insist that faith-based organizations forfeit that right to access federal funds?

[John] McCain: Absolutely, not. And if you did, it would mean a severe crippling of faith-based organizations and their ability to do things so successfully."
Saddleback Presidential Candidates Forum, Lake Forest, CA, Aug. 16, 2008

Religion: "Should a candidate's religion matter to voters?"
Pro: Q: "Has the candidates' personal faith become too big an issue in the presidential race?

[John McCain]: Questions about that are very legitimate...And it's also appropriate for me at certain points in the conversation to say, look, that's sort of a private matter between me and my Creator...But I think the number one issue people should make [in the] selection of the President of the United States is, 'Will this person carry on in the Judeo Christian principled tradition that has made this nation the greatest experiment in the history of mankind?'"

"John McCain: Constitution Established a 'Christian Nation'," beliefnet website (accessed June 2, 2008)

Science: "Should the government continue to fund the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)?"

Pro:  "The end of the Cold War and the space race has greatly reduced the profile of space exploration as a point of national pride and an emblem of U.S. power and thus created some degree of "mission-rut" for NASA. At the same time, the scientific community views the use of space as an important observation platform for advancing science by increasing our understanding of the solar system and the universe...Much of our communications infrastructure is dependent upon space based assets that are essential to the quality of our everyday lives and the economy...

As President, I will --
  • Ensure that space exploration is top priority and that the U.S. remains a leader;
  • Commit to funding the NASA Constellation program to ensure it has the resources it needs to begin a new era of human space exploration."
"John McCain's Answers to the Top 14 Science Questions Facing America," www.sciencedebate2008.com, Sep. 15, 2008

[Editor's Note: John McCain on Oct. 16, 2007 voted No on H.R. 3093: Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008:
"Title III - Science

Science Appropriations Act, 2008 - Makes appropriations for FY2008 for: (1) the Office of Science and Technology Policy; (2) the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for science, aeronautics and exploration research and development activities, and for the Office of Inspector General."
]

Science: "Should Intelligent Design be taught as science in schools?"

Now Con:  "I think Americans should be exposed to every point of view...

I happen to believe in evolution...

I respect those who think the world was created in seven days. Should it be taught as a science class? Probably not."

"McCain Talks War, Religion, Immigration," The Aspen Times, July 2, 2006

[Editor's Note: Prior to John McCain's July 2, 2006 Con position above, he has also expressed a Pro position as indicated in his Aug. 28 2005 statement below.]

Pro:
 "Daily Star: Should intelligent design be taught in schools?

McCain: I think that there has to be all points of view presented. But they've got to be thoroughly presented. So to say that you can only teach one line of thinking I don't think is - or one belief on how people and the world was created - I think there's nothing wrong with teaching different schools of thought.

Daily Star: Does it belong in science?

McCain: There's enough scientists that believe it does. I'm not a scientist. This is something that I think all points of view should be presented."

"Transcript of John McCain's Roundtable Discussion with Star Editors," Arizona Daily Star website, Aug. 28, 2005

Social Security: "Should Social Security be privatized?"
Pro: "I have long supported supplementing the current Social Security system with personal accounts but not as a substitute for addressing benefit promises that cannot be kept."
"Address to the Economic Club of New York," Speeches, John McCain's official candidate website, June 12, 2006

Stem Cells: "Should the federal government fund embryonic stem cell research?"
Now Pro: "While I support federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, I believe clear lines should be drawn that reflect a refusal to sacrifice moral values and ethical principles for the sake of scientific progress. Moreover, I believe that recent scientific breakthroughs raise the hope that one day this debate will be rendered academic. I also support funding for other research programs, including amniotic fluid and adult stem cell research which hold much scientific promise and do not involve the use of embryos. I oppose the intentional creation of human embryos for research purposes and I voted to ban the practice of 'fetal farming,' making it a federal crime for researchers to use cells or fetal tissue from an embryo created for research purposes."
"John McCain's Answers to the Top 14 Science Questions Facing America," www.sciencedebate2008.com, Sep. 15, 2008

[Editor's Note: John McCain clarified his position switch in a June 19, 2005 interview with Tim Russert on Meet the Press on Oct. 16, 2007:

"Tim Russert: Let me turn to another ethical, moral, political issue, stem cell research. In 2000, John McCain and 19 other senators wrote a letter which said "Since 1996 Congress has banned federal funding for `research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed.' ...we support [this law]."

You've changed your mind.

McCain: Yes, I have.

Russert: Why?

McCain: For a large number of reasons, ranging from getting briefed by very smart people on this issue and including discussing this with Nancy Reagan who, as you know, is a very strong advocate for stem cell research. I want to make it clear that those of us who support this do not believe that it has anything to do with human cloning and all of us are against human cloning...It's a very complex scientific issue. But for us to throw away opportunities to cure diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's and many others I think would be a mistake."]

Con: "Since 1996 Congress has banned federal funding for 'research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed.' We believe the draft guidelines published December 2 by the National Institutes of Health for 'human pluripotent [not fixed as to developmental potentialities; capable of differentiating into one of many cell types] stem cell research' do not comply with this law, which we support and which remains in effect."
Excerpt of a letter to the National Institute of Health Office of Science Policy signed by John McCain and 19 other US Senators, Feb. 4, 2000

Taxes: "Should the Bush tax cuts be made permanent?"
Now Pro: "John McCain Will Keep Tax Rates Low. Entrepreneurs are at the heart of American innovation, growth and prosperity. Entrepreneurs create the ultimate job security -- a new, better opportunity if your current job goes away. Entrepreneurs should not be taxed into submission. John McCain will make the Bush income and investment tax cuts permanent, keeping income tax rates at their current level."
"Bold Solutions For Michigan," Press Release, John McCain's official candidate website, Dec. 20, 2007
[Editor's Note: Prior to John McCain's Dec. 20, 2007 Pro position above, regarding the Bush tax cuts, he has also expressed a Con position as indicated in his Apr. 2, 2007 interview discussing why he voted against the Bush tax cuts in the Senate.]
Con: "[Chris] WALLACE: You were one of two Republicans to vote against the Bush tax cuts in 2001, one of three Republicans to vote against the Bush tax cuts two years later. At that time, you said that they were fiscally reckless and that they skewed - they favored the rich. Now you say you would not allow the tax cuts to expire. Is that a flip-flop?

[John] MCCAIN: No, because it would have the effect of a tax increase, and I don't support tax increases. The fact is that in 2000 I had a proposal that restrained spending. I voted against those tax cuts because there was no restraint of spending, and spending lurched out of control completely."

FOX News Sunday, with Chris Wallace, FOXNews.com, Apr. 2, 2007

Taxes: "Should any federal taxes be increased?"

Con: "[Sean] Hannity: You have said three times in the last week or week-and-a-half that you promised no new taxes. You mean none.

[John] McCain: None.

Hannity: Throughout your presidency.

McCain: No."

Excerpt of an interview on Hannity & Colmes, FOX News, Mar. 13, 2008

Turkey: "Should Turkey be able to enter Iraq or other countries unilaterally in search of its enemies?"

Con: "A unilateral, large-scale Turkish military intervention would destabilize northern Iraq and spur the fragmentation Turkey wishes to avoid. At the same time, we must work seriously to rein in PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party] terrorism that is a legitimate concern of Turkey."
"Address to International Relations Forum in Des Moines," Press Release, Oct. 25, 2007

US Constitution: "Should the US Constitution and Bill of Rights be altered or updated in any way?"
Pro: "It is with great honor and reverence that I speak in support of Senate Joint Resolution 14, a bipartisan constitutional amendment to permit Congress to enact legislation prohibiting the physical desecration of the American flag."
"Statement of Senator John McCain on the Flag Protection Amendment Before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary," Official US Senate Judiciary website, Apr. 28, 1999

War on Terror: "Should interrogation techniques that some consider torture, such as waterboarding, be a legal option?"
Con: "Then I am astonished that you would think such a -- such a torture would be inflicted on anyone in our -- who we are held captive and anyone could believe that that's not torture. It's in violation of the Geneva Convention. It's in violation of existing law...

We're not going to do what Pol Pot did. We're not going to do what's being done to Burmese monks as we speak. I suggest that you talk to retired military officers and active duty military officers like Colin Powell and others, and how in the world anybody could think that that kind of thing could be inflicted by Americans on people who are held in our custody is absolutely beyond me...

And again, I would hope that we would understand, my friends, that life is not '24' and Jack Bauer.

Life is interrogation techniques which are humane and yet effective. And I just came back from visiting a prison in Iraq. The Army general there said that techniques under the Army Field Manual are working and working effectively, and he didn't think they need to do anything else."

Republican Presidential Debate, St. Petersburg, Florida, hosted by CNN and YouTube.com, Nov. 28, 2007

 

[Editor's Note: On Feb. 13, 2008, John McCain voted against the "Intelligence Authorization Act" (H.R.1082) which, in part, would have required the CIA to be bound by the Army Field Manual's guidelines on interrogation techniques. Since the Army Field Manual prohibits waterboarding "in conjunction with intelligence interrogations," Senator McCain's vote was seen by many as a reversal of his Con position on waterboarding. McCain defended his vote in the following Feb. 14, 2008 article titled "Senator McCain Statement on Intelligence Authorization Conference Report" submitted to the Congressional Record:

"...I have expressed repeatedly my view that the controversial technique known as 'waterboarding' constitutes nothing less than illegal torture.

...Throughout these debates, I have said that it was not my intent to eliminate the CIA interrogation program, but rather to ensure that the techniques it employs are humane and do not include such extreme techniques as waterboarding...

The [Intelligence Authorization] conference report would go beyond any of the recent laws that I just mentioned 'laws that were extensively debated and considered' by bringing the CIA under the Army Field Manual, extinguishing thereby the ability of that agency to employ any interrogation technique beyond those publicly listed and formulated for military use. I cannot support such a step because I have not been convinced that the Congress erred by deliberately excluding the CIA. I believe that our energies are better directed at ensuring that all techniques, whether used by the military or the CIA, are in full compliance with our international obligations and in accordance with our deepest values. What we need is not to tie the CIA to the Army Field Manual, but rather to have a good faith interpretation of the statutes that guide what is permissible in the CIA program."]

War on Terror: "Should the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba be closed?"

Pro: "I would immediately close Guantanamo Bay, move all the prisoners to Fort Leavenworth [Kansas] and truly expedite the judicial proceedings in their cases."
"Straight-Talking McCain Vows to Fix World's View of the 'Ugly American'," Telegraph.co.uk, Mar. 19, 2007

War on Terror: "Has the USA PATRIOT Act had an overall benefit for the US?"

Not Clearly Pro or Con: Voted Yes on the "USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005" (H.R.3199) on July 29, 2005:

"To extend and modify authorities needed to combat terrorism, and for other purposes."

Voted Yes on the "USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005" (H.R.3199) on Mar. 1, 2006:

"A bill to clarify that individuals who receive FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] orders can challenge nondisclosure requirements, that individuals who receive national security letters are not required to disclose the name of their attorney, that libraries are not wire or electronic communication service providers unless they provide specific services, and for other purposes."

"Legislation: 2005-2006 (109th Congress)," Library of Congress: THOMAS website (accessed Apr. 30, 2008)

War on Terror: "Should telecommunication companies receive immunity for allowing the government to conduct past warrantless wiretaps?"

Not Clearly Pro or Con: "The struggle against Islamic fundamentalism is the transcendent foreign-policy challenge of our time. I am committed to winning this battle, enhancing the stature of the United States as beacon of global hope, and to preserving the personal, economic, and political freedoms that are the proud legacy of the great sacrifices of our fathers.

Every effort in this struggle and other efforts must be done according to American principles and the rule of law. When companies provide private records of Americans to the government without proper legal subpoena, warrants, or other legal orders, their heart may be in the right place, but their actions undermine our respect for the law.

I am also a strong supporter of protecting the privacy of Americans. The issues raised by S 2248, and the events and actions by all parties that the preceded it, reach to the core of our principles. They merit careful and deliberate consideration, fact-finding, and exploration of options. That process should be allowed to proceed before drawing conclusions that may prove to be premature.

If retroactive immunity passes, it should be done with explicit statements that this is not a blessing, there should be oversight hearings to understand what happened, and Congress should include provisions that ensure that Americans' private records will not be dealt with like that again."

"Technology Voters' Guide: John McCain," CNET News.com, Jan. 3, 2008


TOP




John McCain's Biography

Title(s): US Senator (R-AZ)
Personal Information:
Full Name: John Sidney McCain III
Marital Status: Married
Birthdate: Aug. 29, 1936
Children: 7
Birthplace: Panama Canal Zone, Panama (US Territory)
Religion: Baptist
Involvement:
  • US Senator (R-Arizona), 1987-present
  • Candidate, United States President, 2000
  • National Security adviser, Dole/Kemp Presidential Campaign, 1996
  • Representative, United States House of Representatives, Arizona District 1, 1982-1986
  • Senate Navy Liaison, 1977-1981
  • Pilot, Captain, United States Navy, Vietnam, 1958-1981
  • Environmental and Energy Study Conference
  • National Republican Senatorial Committee
  • Co Chair, Porkbusters Coalition
  • Senate Centrist Coalition
  • Senate Committee for American Indian College Fund
  • Senate Co Chair, National Security Caucus
  • Senate Steering Committee
  • Senate Wilderness and Public Lands Caucus
  • Vietnam Veterans in Congress
Education:
  • National War College, 1973-1974
  • BS, United States Naval Academy, 1958
Affiliations and Memberships:
  • Member, Council on Foreign Relations,1997-present
  • Founding Member, Pacific Council on International Policy, University of South California, 1995-present
  • Board of Directors, Board of Directors Chair, International Republican Institute, 1992-present
  • Life Member, Navy League, 1987-present
  • Board of Directors, Nixon Center for Peace and Freedom
  • Member, Purple Heart Association
  • Member, Sons of the Revolution in the State of Virginia
  • Honorary Member, Board of Directors, Council of Notables, US-Spain Council
  • Member, Veterans of Foreign Wars
  • Member, Vietnam Veterans Association
  • Honorary Co Chairman, Advisory Board of Directors, Arizona Cancer Research Foundation
  • Member, The Military Order of World Wars
Other:
  • Missed 261 votes (55.7%) during the current (110th) Congress and missed 592 of 3720 votes (16%) since Jan. 22, 1997 (as of Feb. 15, 2008)
  • In the 1980's, McCain was involved in the "Keating Five" scandal as one of five US Senators investigated for unethical ties to Lincoln Savings & Loan Chairman Charles Keating; McCain was cleared by the Senate Ethics Committee in 1991of violating any laws
  • Prisoner of War, North Vietnam, 1967-1973
Contact Information:
Campaign:
Phone: 703-418-2008
Fax: None listed
E-Mail: Online Contact Form
Web Site: www.johnmccain.com

US Senate Office:
Phone: 202-224-2235
Fax: 202-228-2862
E-Mail: Online Contact Form
Web Site: mccain.senate.gov


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