McCain, John Sidney, 3d, 1936–, U.S. politician, b. Panama Canal Zone. A much decorated navy veteran, he was born into a career naval family and attended the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating in 1958. He became a pilot and during the Vietnam War was shot down over Hanoi (1967) and captured; he was released in 1973. Retiring as a highly decorated captain in 1981, he was elected (1982) as a Republican to the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona and served two terms. In 1986 he first won election to the U.S. Senate. A personally appealing leader with generally conservative views, he is noted for his bluff honesty, quick wit, and outspoken manner. McCain has been particularly active in attempting to forge a bipartisan coalition for campaign-finance reform and, in 2005, for banning cruel and inhuman treatment of any prisoner in U.S. custody. He has chaired the Senate committee on Indian affairs (1995–97, 2005–7) and on commerce, science, and transportation (1995–2001, 2003–5). McCain was an unsuccessful candidate for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, losing in the primaries to George W. Bush. In 2007–8, however, he mounted a successful campaign for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. He chose the conservative Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, but they lost to Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden. McCain has written several books on history's great leaders, e.g., Hard Call (2007).
See his memoirs, Faith of My Fathers (2000) and Worth the Fighting For (2002); E. Drew, Citizen McCain (2002); P. Alexander, Man of the People (2002).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.