Character Does Matter

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By Mark Shields

With news that Sen. John McCain's last book, "The Restless Wave" -- the seventh he has written with his friend and former speechwriter Mark Salter -- is about to come out, I thought of the man I covered and traveled with and grew to both like and respect enormously.

On election night 1986, when he won the Arizona U.S. Senate seat long held by Barry Goldwater -- the 1964 Republican presidential nominee -- the two men met for a private visit. Sen. Goldwater, McCain recalled, got a little nostalgic: "You know, John, if I had beaten Lyndon Johnson in '64, you wouldn't have spent all those years in a North Vietnamese prison camp." McCain, referring to Goldwater's hawkish support for widening that conflict, responded: "You're right, Barry. It would have been a Chinese prison camp."

 

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