John McCain Gives Stamp of Approval to Ben Quayle, Stamp of Disapproval to David Schweikert

Senator John McCain joined Senator Jon Kyl yesterday to announce his endorsement of Congressman Ben Quayle.

McCain's statements yesterday were a little more refreshing than the typical endorsement press conference, which is typically just an opportunity for ass-kissing.

McCain also had a thing or two to say about Quayle's Republican primary opponent, Congressman David Schweikert, and his style of campaigning.

"There are lines I and Jon [Kyl] have watched over the years that should not be crossed," McCain said. "...Character assassination, and innuendo, and allegations that are patently false, I believe, have no place in the political environment in Arizona -- a state that is very proud of the people we've had represent our state ever since our statehood."

McCain then showed everyone specifically what he was talking about, as he held up the Schweikert campaign mailer that claimed Quayle "goes both ways."

McCain described it as "not appropriate," "not acceptable," and the "worst that [he] has seen."

Kyl -- who's already endorsed Quayle and already had some harsh words for Schweikert about that same mail piece -- also chimed in to "reiterate" those stances, saying he wasn't a fan of "junk like this [mailer]."

McCain said he'd been planning to endorse Quayle for some time now, but thought yesterday made for good timing.

He explained a few policy positions in his decision to endorse Quayle over Schweikert, mostly on national defense issues.

McCain pointed to Schweikert's opposition to the Patriot Act and the National Defense Authorization Act, while Quayle followed McCain and Kyl's support of them.

There's still debate going on about both of those acts, but McCain said he and Kyl "think we understand the issues," given their histories dealing with national-defense issues.

Schweikert has a "fundamental misunderstanding" of the country's national defense, according to McCain, and added that Schweikert never even consulted him on either of those issues.

Later, McCain was asked whether Schweikert had sought his endorsement, to which McCain replied, "Of course."

According to Schweikert, that never happened.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley