- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sen. John McCain in a sit-down interview with The New Republic earlier this week called Fox News “schizophrenic” on immigration and suggested that tea party members were damaging to the Republican Party, touting negative messages that ran counter to Americans’ political will.

The interview was conducted by Isaac Chotiner, for The New Republic.

Published highlights: On Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Mr. McCain said “he is doing OK,” and that his military friends say he “is respectful,” The New Republic reported. And on Secretary of State John Kerry, Mr. McCain said he’s “working extremely hard, frenetic,” but may be “trying to take on too many issues at once.”

Meanwhile, Mr. McCain described former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s work on the global level as “rock star” status, The New Republic reported.

“I think she did a fine job,” he said, in the magazine. “She’s a rock star. She has, maybe not glamour, but certainly the aura of someone widely regarded throughout the world.”

Mr. McCain also said moments later in the interview that he would have “a tough choice” to make in a presidential election that pitted Mrs. Clinton against Sen. Rand Paul, The New Republic reported.

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The New Republic later raised the issue of immigration and asked, “If you watch Fox, there are all these segments on immigrants and crime and so on, and people get riled up, and then they want reform. It’s a difficult dynamic in the party.”

Mr. McCain’s published response: “I think that Fox News is a bit schizophrenic. I saw a guy on ‘Hannity,’ maybe ‘Huckabee,’ and the guy said, ‘You know, the Chinese are coming across our border, and they are going to commit cyber attacks.’ … Honest to God!”

Mr. McCain also said that he’d like to be president, and that Sarah Palin — his former vice presidential candidate and former governor of Alaska — maintained a positive message during the campaign, despite the negative influences of tea partiers.

The question from The New Republic: “Do you draw any connection between her [Sarah Palin’s] outlook and the group of congressional Republicans, tea partiers, that you had trouble with?”

His answer: “No, because I think she had a positive message. A message that we would have less government, lower taxes, less regulation. Many in this group didn’t come to power to get things done. They came to power to keep things from getting done.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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