- The Washington Times - Friday, October 11, 2013

Sen. John McCain — who recently referred to three of his Capitol Hill colleagues as “wackos” — has now said he’s learned a valuable lesson and advises against getting personal in politics.

In March, the Arizona Republican said Sen. Rand Paul, Rep. Justin Amash and Sen. Ted Cruz were “wacko birds” for their filibuster try to halt the nomination of John Brennan as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He first referred to “wacko birds on the right” and then clarified he was speaking of “Rand Paul, Cruz, Amash, whoever,” The Washington Post reported.

Fast-forward to a Hero Summit hosted this week by the Daily Beast, and Mr. McCain’s tune had changed. He was speaking about the need for Republicans to get along, support each other, halt petty infighting and quit political campaigns that pitted GOP establishment figures against GOP hopeful candidates, Breitbart.com reported.

He began: Conservatives who were trying to unseat incumbent Republican politicians were “wrong,” he said, then expressed concern about the future of his party.

“I do worry about the Republican Party,” he said, Breitbart.com reported. “It’s the first time I have ever seen Republican senators running ads, raising money that is being used to attack incumbent Republican senators.” For example, he spoke of Republican-led efforts to unseat Sen. Pat Roberts in Kansas, who has faced in-rank criticisms for his vote to confirm Kathleen Sebelius as Health and Human Services secretary.

“Where has Pat Roberts offended anybody?” Mr. McCain said.

Among core conservatives, Mr. McCain’s words may fall on deaf ears. The senator is not exactly above the fray of criticizing his own camp when members deviate from what he determines as the sane political position.

His latest slam came just this week, when he decried Republicans for their role in the government shutdown and the subsequent delayed death benefit payments to families of killed military members.

“To somehow think that we were going to repeal Obamacare, which would have required 67 Republican votes [in the Senate] was a false premise, and I think we did the American people a great disservice. … We started out with a false premise on this side of the aisle,” he said, the Washington Examiner reported. “Shouldn’t we be embarrassed about this? Shouldn’t we be ashamed?”

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

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