In an exchange with the Capitol Hill publication The Hill, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that he wanted to work with the Obama White House -- on immigration and the line-item veto -- but President Obama and his team never reached out.
“Let’s get real here,” McCain told The Hill. “There was never any outreach from President Obama or anyone in his administration to me.”
McCain disputes the notion that he has rejected entreaties to cooperate with the White House because he is bitter from his defeat four years ago.
He said he expressed eagerness to work with the president on immigration reform and the line-item veto, but has been left out in the cold.
McCain, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, also said Obama failed to consult with him on national-security issues.“He never asked for advice on national-security nominees,” McCain said.
But when looking at the major Senate votes over the past three years, it's hard to find a Democratic-sponsored measure that McCain supported, even ones backed by other GOP senators (including McCain ally Lindsey Graham).
On the most significant piece of legislation on immigration -- the topic on which he said he wanted to work with the White House -- McCain voted against the DREAM Act, which would give young illegal immigrants who are pursuing a college degree or serving in the military a chance for citizenship. Three Republicans (Bob Bennett, Dick Lugar and Lisa Murkowski) voted for the legislation that failed to get 60 Senate votes.
Despite voting for every other Supreme Court nominee since joining the Senate, McCain voted against both of Obama's picks, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Notably, Grahman and eight other Republicans voted for Sotomayor, and Graham and four other Republicans voted for Kagan.
McCain also voted against the New START treaty with Russia, even though that was supported by 12 Republican senators; he voted against the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which was backed by eight GOPers; and he voted against the financial-reform legislation, supported by three Republicans.
(And as far as the claim that Obama never reached out to McCain, remember there was that inaugural dinner that the then-president-elect hosted in McCain's honor.)
A McCain spokesman tells First Read that McCain didn't vote for those measures because they went against his principles.
"Everyone knows that the president failed to fulfill his promise to reach across the aisle and bridge the partisan divide," spokesman Brian Rogers said. "Sen. McCain was never going to sacrifice his principles to support legislation he fundamentally opposes, but he was willing to work with the president on areas of common concern."
Rogers added, "The president’s outreach has been non-existent –- not just to Sen. McCain, but many Democrats in Congress say the exact same thing."