Opinion: In case you wondered: John McCain bows out of 2012 GOP race


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With unusual ubiquity for a losing presidential candidate, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain has been popping up all over the media these days.

So it was probably inevitable that he’d get the same question asked of virtually every breathing Republican in these, the Grand Old Party’s Days of Disarray: Will you be running for president in 2012?


First of all, McCain’s got to win Senate reelection next year.

Second, the party’s conservatives still don’t like him, although as long as he lost in November, they’ve pretty much shut up about it for now.

Third, he’d have to raise an awful lot of money, which he genuinely hates doing.

Fourth, if many Americans thought he was too old last fall, how would they feel when he’s 76?

Fifth, Republicans do not generally do well running legislators for the White House. (Yes, yes, Nixon was in both the House and Senate -- and that turned out well, didn’t it?)

It’s understandable that some might wonder about McCain’s political intentions. He remains widely respected for his military and political service, and he’s been willingly all over TV in recent weeks, often critical of last November’s victor, especially over Iran.

In fact, his Sunday talk-show appearance and Monday’s outspoken Senate speech over Iran detailed here played an obvious media role in forcing President Obama to hold his Tuesday news conference and up his outrage rhetoric over Iran’s protest-crushing, as analyzed here.

Asked at that news conference if McCain played a role in his Tuesday remarks, Obama, in an obvious bipartisan outreach, replied, ‘What do you think?’


The assembled media laughed at the dismissive disregard for his defeated opponent. Turning the question back on the questioner is, of course, a standard political ploy to dodge a real reply.

If you really think about it though, what Obama said is not only not an answer. It’s not a denial.

Obama went on to acknowledge McCain’s ‘genuine passion’ for the issue and a universal desire for justice in Iran. Then, he added, ‘But only I’m the president of the United States.’ (Full transcript here.)

Which, McCain calmly concedes in this brief C-SPAN video below, is something he will never be.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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