John McCain has been no fan of the “whacko bird” segment he sees in the GOP. When asked recently on a hypothetical Clinton/Paul match-up in 2016, McCain couldn’t commit to either side.
Report from Politico:
Sen. John McCain says if it in 2016 came down to Sen. Rand Paul or Hillary Clinton for president, he might have a hard time making up his mind.
Asked about the possibility in a new, lengthy interview with The New Republic, McCain (R-Ariz.) quipped: “It’s gonna be a tough choice [laughs].”
McCain said that while a section of the party (including Paul) blocking bills is “of concern,” he understands the Kentucky senator’s agenda.
“Let me just clarify that. I think that Rand Paul represents a segment of the GOP, just like his father. And I think he is trying to expand that, intelligently, to make it larger,” McCain said.
McCain has publicly clashed with Paul before, calling him and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz “wacko birds” for their splits with the party and outspoken political tactics in a March interview. He later apologized. In The New Republic interview, McCain said he tries to keep it respectful.
McCain’s hedging is an illustration of the divide happening within the GOP. The hawkish conservatism espoused by McCain is also being showcased by Chris Christie as well as New York Representative Peter King in recent weeks.