WASHINGTON (AP) – The maverick stood with his party on Tuesday, casting a crucial vote in the Republican drive to repeal "Obamacare." But then, like an angry prophet, Sen. John McCain condemned the tribal politics besetting the nation.
Confronting an aggressive brain cancer, the 80-year-old Arizonan served notice he would not vote for the GOP legislation as it stands now. McCain's impassioned speech held the rapt attention of his colleagues in the Senate chamber.
"Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio, television and the internet," he intoned. "To hell with them! They don't want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood."
A few minutes earlier, McCain dramatically entered the chamber for the pivotal vote, his first since surgery and his cancer diagnosis in Arizona. Unified for once, Republicans and Democrats applauded and whooped for the six-term lawmaker. "Aye," he said, thumbs up with both hands, for the GOP vote to move ahead on debate.
After he voted, McCain stood at his seat and accepted hugs and handshakes from all senators in both parties.