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McCain: Most absentee '08 Senator

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), missing another major vote on the Iraq war today in favor of presidential campaigning, has pulled far ahead of his 2008 rivals in at least one category: absenteeism.

McCain, who missed today's vote while campaigning in South Carolina as part of another re-launch of his White House bid, has gone two straight weeks without casting a single vote on the chamber floor. He's missed 18 straight votes.

Over the last month, the Senate has held 33 votes. McCain, the onetime frontrunner for the Republican nomination, has been on hand for just seven of those votes.

To be fair, McCain's absence has not once made the difference in the outcome of a floor vote. Today, for instance, the 51-46 outcome was nearly identical to the 51-48 tally a month ago when the Senate first passed the $124 billion war spending bill, so McCain's "nay" vote wouldn't have altered the outcome. As was the case March 29, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) lost Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) to the Republicans but picked up Sens. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) to pad his margin up to 51.

No one questions where McCain stands on the Iraq war - fully supportive of President Bush's plans - and the Senator issued a statement today to reiterate that support. He demanded the president veto the bill because it includes a timeline for troop withdrawall.

"I look forward to the President's prompt veto of this misguided bill. After the President rejects the legislation, I sincerely hope that the Congress will finally get serious about passing a measure that can be enacted into law," McCain said in a statement posted on his Senate web site.

Of course, the press release carries a Washington dateline, not exactly accurate since McCain is barnstorming through the Palmetto State with one of his biggest supporters, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who also missed today's vote on the huge supplemental spending bill.

And the four Senate Democrats who are running for president were all on hand for today's vote, even though they have their first major debate tonight in South Carolina.

Besides Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) - who's missed the entire year as he recovers from a brain hemorrhage - McCain has now missed more votes, 60, than every other senator, making it to less than 60 percent of roll-call votes.

The next three most absentee senators are also 2008 candidates, Joseph Biden (D-Del.), Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) and Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.). But they've only missed 41, 37 and 26 votes, respectively. And two top-tier presidential candidates, Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), have been present so often on the chamber floor you wouldn't even know they're running for the White House.

Obama has missed seven votes, Clinton three.

McCain also continues to miss many critical votes on Iraq, the issue that he has previously said would be so critical to his own campaign. He's now missed at least seven votes of prominence on Iraq.

While it's doubtful McCain will be on hand to craft a post-veto compromise, his position on what should be done next is clear. "That will require my colleagues to work on a bipartisan basis with the Administration to deliver a bill free of pork and free of withdrawal timetables. We need to send a bill to the President that he can sign, and we need to do it as soon as possible - our troops in the field are waiting on our action," McCain said in his statement.

By Paul Kane  |  April 26, 2007; 4:43 PM ET
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Just another American willing to fight for freedom but too busy to vote! Hey John! Do you have any jobs for me where I can show up 40% of the time and still draw my pay?

Posted by: Stinky Joe | April 26, 2007 6:14 PM | Report abuse

McCain is a subversive, as is Graham for not voting in the measure that calls for our surrender to al Qaeda in Iraq. They should both be tried for treason and dealt with appropriately.

Posted by: wdgood | April 26, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

We have spent over $340 billion in Iraq, with the price tag and death toll rising, and no good has come out of it. There is no peace, no end to terror and worst of all we have left the Iraqi people in deeper poverty.

According to the Borgen Project, $340 billion has already been spent in Iraq and we have a $522 billion military budget. What has resulted from that money? The money would be better spent on plans such as the UN Millennium Development Goals to end global poverty. Just $19 billion annually can end starvation and malnutrition. Issues such as poverty foster a lot of the tensions that exist in the world today. As leaders in this world, we really need to get behind peaceful growth rather than war.

Posted by: anna k | April 26, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Yes... but it's paying off in South Carolina, where McCain has a 9-point lead --

Would you rather be Senator or would you rather be president?

Posted by: William | April 26, 2007 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Any other worker in the US with McCain's absenteeism rate would be fired. The House and Senate need to tie their pay to their voting record unless you have a note from a legitimate doctor - no vote, no pay! He needs to give back 60% of his salary at this point. McCain is a disgrace as a Senator as he goes around supporting every move this President makes but doesn't take the time to do the job the people of Arizonia selected him to do.

Posted by: Ken | April 27, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

When should an absentee Senator resign because his interests lie outside the Senate? It is a contradiction when McCain says he`s committed to staying in Iraq but does not have time to support his cause in the Senate. The public will reject him and his GOP colleagues at the next election because they and Bush are behaving badly after losing the last Congressional elections.

Posted by: Robert James | April 27, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

No complaints here. Frankly, I wish more republicans would miss votes more often.

Posted by: Randy | April 27, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

McCain strikes me as a second-rate lackey; he's just not LEADER material. He proves his desparation by constantly harping on his Vietnam ordeal as a POW, as if to say "You owe me, America!" I mean no disrespect, but it takes more than that to qualify for President of the United States. Now, we discover he can't even organize himself to do the job he's got already... 60% missed votes? Other candidates are voting; excuses won't get you anywhere now.

Posted by: j_d_morgan1954 | April 27, 2007 12:51 PM | Report abuse

McCain is worthless. If he got elected, I suspect he'd take more vacation days than Bush has. He claims to believe that Iraq is the most important issue right now, yet he couldn't be bothered to show up for the vote. Instead, he's spending his time doing more important things like making up songs about bombing Iran and cracking jokes about IEDs (funny stuff there). No wonder he's so far behind in the polls. HE won't even take his campaign (let alone his job) seriously.

Posted by: Mark F. | April 27, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Gentlemen: Calm down children, Mr. McCain knows that his vote will not make any difference at all! Which reminds me of a certain President who was accused by this same Main Stream Media of spending too much time on the golf course, right after he got the message that his programs were going to be blocked by the Congress. Democrat controlled Congress, as it is now. Where is the Minimum wage increase and the other pie in the sky promises made by this Democrat Congress. Wake up!!

Posted by: h1m912009 | April 27, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Bill O`Who?

Posted by: Bill MacLeod | April 28, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

McCain has proven that he is an honorable man.
He deserves all respect as a patriot warrior who fought for a cause that, at the time and maybe even yet, he believed to be just. And he deserves enormous respect for his suffering as a POW when AWOL fighter pilot George W. was getting his teeth drilled in Alabama and multi-deferment Cheney was attending to his other priorities and Rice, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz were all totally focussed on getting richer.
However, the duty roster is not infinitely transferable, nor is the responsibility when one undertakes to serve in the Senate.

Two straight weeks without casting a single vote on the chamber floor, missed 18 straight votes.

Over the last month, the Senate has held 33 votes, McCain, has been on hand for just seven.

McCain's missing of seven significant votes on Iraq is no accident. He's ducking out. Not for, not against, so immune to criticism from all sides.

And this man wants to be president?

No way.

Posted by: Cashel Boylo | April 28, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

McCain will start another war by boming Iran once he is elected for the next president, just think about.

Posted by: Jim | April 28, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I used to be proud to say McCain was my Senator. That was in 2000 when he had a spine. Since caving into the Bushies, he's become a mere shadow of his former strong, say-it-like-it-is self.

And asking votes to be tied to attendance in the Senate? Hello! They VOTE for their own salary! (Wouldn't YOU like to be able to give yourself a raise when you felt like it?!)

I've have it with men running this country into the ground. I'm voting for Hillary.

Posted by: AZsufferer | April 29, 2007 2:32 AM | Report abuse

Missing votes exposed Kerry to being more concerned about becoming president than paying attention to serving the people who elected him in his state. It is a key reason why voters in the last century of elections for the White House have not elected many Senators as their presidents. Harding and JFK won, they also gained popular support at the time. Most Senators lack executive experience and even Dodd looks silly saying how he can become president from day one.
Based on what? Over 20 years in the Senate? Whoopee!!
McCain better get on the ball and do his job or he is toast.

Posted by: JOE | April 29, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

McCain is Satan!

Posted by: Mark of (Mc)CAIN | May 1, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

If I were an Arizona constituent, I'd make sure that John McCain found another job, and I don't mean in the White House since he clearly has no interest in representing his state, people, or interests.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 1, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

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