McCain plans for life after election

Zuckman writes for the Chicago Tribune.

With the election behind him and no transition to plan, Arizona Sen. John McCain woke up Wednesday and walked to Starbucks for his morning coffee -- alone.

Friends and advisors who joined him and his wife at their condo later said he was relaxed, joking and looking forward to getting back to work in the Senate after the bruising, two-year campaign.

McCain and his close friend, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), have already begun talking about legislative initiatives they want to tackle, and they’re planning a trip to Afghanistan, aides said.


“He’s raring to go,” campaign manager Rick Davis said. “He is anxious to get back and go to work as a United States senator. He didn’t even spend 24 hours lamenting the loss.”

McCain is never happier than when he is surrounded by friends, and he left Phoenix midday Wednesday for his compound outside Sedona with his wife, Cindy; his children; Graham; and advisors Davis, Charlie Black and Carla Eudy. His plan was to grill ribs for the group.

That the election didn’t turn out as he had hoped, friends said, is not the worst thing that McCain, a former prisoner of war, has ever suffered. In the final days of the race, even as polls showed him down, aides said McCain was the one working to keep spirits up.

On election night, said Steve Schmidt, a senior advisor, McCain was “steady, absolutely at peace”

“I think it’s obvious, it was a horrific cycle for anybody with an ‘R’ next to their name,” Davis said. “There was a lot of baggage, and we carried it around as best we could.”

In the end, said Mark Salter, McCain’s longtime Senate chief of staff and co-author of five books, the election was a disappointment but not the end of the world.


“He’s got every reason to hold his head up and be proud,” Salter said. “He did better in this historically awful environment for us than any other candidate could have done.”