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John McCain, American 'Hero'

Worth flying down to Rio for

John McCain, lover boy:

While John McCain attended his 50th Naval Academy reunion Saturday, a Brazilian beauty fondly recalled the affair she had with the young "good kissing" midshipman she met a half a century ago.

"He was tasty, loving and romantic," says Maria Gracinda Teixeira de Jesus, 77, a former beauty queen and dancer, of the young John McCain, whom she met in Rio de Janeiro in 1957.

In "Faith of My Fathers," his best-selling book, McCain recalled wild times in Rio where he and his Annapolis shipmates "indulged in the vices sailors are infamous for" and writes of meeting a Brazilian woman he doesn't identify...

If McCain wins the presidency, the Brazilian promises to send him a telegram of congratulations "from his great love in Brazil."

And then, of course, there was this, which McCain later called "my greatest moral failure." Or maybe not. Because here comes: 

John McCain of the Keating Five. You remember the Keating Five, don't you? Five corrupt U.S. senators, including McCain, John Glenn, Alan Cranston, Donald Riegle and Dennis DeConcini -- amazingly, all Democrats except for McCain -- got themselves in a bit of a pickle. Somehow McCain came out smelling like a rose...

They say that if you put five lobsters into a pot and give them a chance to escape, none will be able to do so before you light the fire. Each time a lobster tries to climb over the top, his fellow lobsters will pull him back down. It is the way of lobsters and threatened United States senators.

And, of course, that's the way it is with the Keating Five. You are all battling to save your own hides. So you, McCain, leak to reporters about who did Keating's bidding in pressuring federal regulators to change the rules for Lincoln Savings and Loan.

When the reporters fail to print your tips quickly enough--as in the case of your tip on Michigan Senator Donald Riegle--you call them back and remind them how important it is to get that information in the newspapers.

Here's the background, as recounted by Time Magazine (link is above):

Following the deregulation of savings and loan associations (S&Ls) in the early 1980's, several of these banks began taking greater liberties with depositors' money, sinking it into risky real estate ventures and junk bonds in an effort to reap maximum profits. Fearful about the future of the vast amounts of federally-insured money being invested, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board (FHLBB) instituted a cap on the amount of money S&L's were allowed to place in such volatile instruments. An investigation into Lincoln Savings and Loan uncovered flagrant violations of these regulations, exceeding the limit by over $615 million.

But before any measures could be taken against the company, five Senators came calling at the FHLBB, requesting that the charges against Lincoln not be pursued, on the basis that the S&L was a major employer in their states. These Senators — McCain , John Glenn (D-OH), Alan Cranston (D-CA), Donald Riegle (D-MI) and Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ) — had little in common. Most of them came from different states and different parts of the political spectrum. One of the only elements that linked the men together was Charles Keating. The banker had been a major contributor to each of their campaigns, donating close to $1.4 million dollars total. Keating also considered John McCain to be a close personal friend, with whom he'd shared vacations and business ventures...

All five Senators denied improper conduct, claiming that it was Keating's status as a constituent rather than as a donor that motivated their actions; although when Keating was asked whether his financial support had influenced the Senators on his behalf, he responded "I want to say in the most forceful way I can: I hope so." 

McCain has called this little lapse in judgment, "the worst mistake of my life," and attributes his later unconstitutional zeal to clean up corruption to his experience during the Keating Five probe:

It was a very unhappy period in my life. But the fact is that I moved forward and I have been the greatest voice for reform and against corruption in Washington than anybody.

(In case you've forgotten one of the highlights of Charles Keating's resume, here's a helpful reminder, although probably NSFW.)

Finally, we'll look at  John McCain, war hero, on the next page.