WASHINGTON, (CBS DC) – U.S. Sen. John McCain says that he has been encouraged to make a third attempt for the White House in 2016 because of his role during the partisan fight over government funding.
“Particularly since the shutdown, I’ve had a spate of e-mails and letters and phone calls saying, ‘Run for president again,’ ” McCain told The Arizona Republic.
In 2008, McCain was the Republican nominee for president, but his first attempt was in 2000 where he lost in the GOP primaries to then Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
“As you know, I’m seriously thinking about running for re-election to the Senate. But I think, in the words of the late Morris K. Udall, as far as my presidential ambitions are concerned, ‘The people have spoken — the bastards,’ ” McCain said. “I can assure you, I don’t see it. It’s not on my radar.”
In trying to defund President Barack Obama’s health-care law, McCain was extremely critical of the GOP strategy that eventually resulted in the partial government shutdown.
McCain’s national poll numbers were significantly better than U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s numbers after the shutdown ended.
Last week, Obama hosted McCain at the White House to discuss immigration reform and other issues. McCain, who will turn 80 in 2016, has been a huge ally in the immigration reform push.