John McCain

CLP Current Events: August 28, 2018 (original posting June 5, 2018)

John McCain served the United States for more than 50 years, as a naval pilot and U.S. Senator. We’ve updated our last current event to make this more easily used in your classroom.

Brought to teachers by Susie Marcus, CLP consultant, with CLP staff.

News Sources

‘It’s going to be difficult to fill his shoes’: Arizona remembers John McCain, by Lauren Gambino, The Guardian, August 27, 2018
“In Arizona, the late Republican senator will be remembered both admiringly and critically, a war hero and an iconoclast who more than once fell short of his own high standards. The Phoenix New Times, a weekly that was often critical of McCain, said the senator was Arizona’s favorite son but he was certainly her ‘most fascinating son’.”

Sens. Susan Collins Amy Klobuchar: We will miss McCain’s humor, by Devan Cole, CNN, August 26, 2018
“Sen. Susan Collins offered a deeply personal view of the late Sen. John McCain on Sunday, saying that she’s going to “miss the fact that he was so much fun,” as well as his humor and his mentorship in the Senate.”

McCain says he supports effort to force immigration bill to House floor, by Clare Foran, CNN, June 2, 2018
“A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Republican Reps. Will Hurd of Texas, Jeff Denham of California and and Carlos Curbelo of Florida, introduced the Uniting and Securing America Act in January. The bill would shield undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children who have been protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program from deportation.”

Let the facts from Mueller’s investigation exonerate or prove wrongdoing by President Trump, by Grant Woods, USA Today, May 30, 2018
“All Americans should support the rule of law and the ability of critical institutions – including the special counsel, the Department of Justice, and the FBI – to proceed without politicization. No matter who you voted for, the escalating attacks on the rule of law should concern you, because the justice system in American relies on the faith of all of us.”
CLP: Opinion

Speaking out on torture and a Trump nominee, ailing McCain roils Washington, by Mike DeBonis, The Washington Post, May 11, 2018
“But his declaration Wednesday in opposition to Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee for CIA director, has uniquely roiled the political scene. The denunciation has prompted reactions from fellow senators and a former vice president, as well as intemperate remarks from some Republicans aligned with Trump, including a White House aide.”

Is John McCain a Maverick?, by Harry Enten, FiveThirtyEight, February 27, 2018
“McCain was first tagged a ‘maverick’ for standing up to his party when he ran for president in 2000 and 2008.”

Meghan McCain says John McCain ‘doing very good’ in cancer fight, by Max Greenwood, The Hill, February 11, 2018
“McCain was diagnosed in July with a glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, after he underwent a minor procedure to remove a block clot from above his left eye.”

McCain, Cardin Bill on Burma Accountability Passes Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John McCain, February 7, 2018
“The Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act would prohibit certain military cooperation with the Burmese military until the Departments of State and Defense can certify that officials have halted the violence. The bill would also support economic and security sector reform, and encourage Burma’s successful transition of power to a civilian government.”

Even in his absence, McCain’s influence is strongly felt, by Francine Kiefer, Christian Science Monitor, February 6, 2018
“During a time when the Republican party has been pulled in a notably more isolationist direction, McCain has remained a staunch advocate for US influence in the world – and his committee has embraced that worldview.”

John McCain, Chris Coons to introduce bipartisan DACA citizenship bill to break immigration logjam: Report, by Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, February 4, 2018
“Sens. John McCain, R., Ariz. and Chris Coons, D., Del., plan to unveil a proposal that offers a path to citizenship for young immigrants known as “Dreamers” who have lived in the U.S. since Dec. 31, 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported.”

John McCain blasts memo controversy, Trump for ‘doing Putin’s job’”, by Devan Cole, CNN, February 3, 2018
“’Our nation’s elected officials, including the President, must stop looking at this investigation through the warped lens of politics and manufacturing partisan sideshows,’ McCain said. ‘If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.’”

Emotional Sen. John McCain blasts ‘half-baked, spurious nationalism’”, by Dan Nowicki & Brittany Horn, USA Today, October 16, 2017
“In a speech to accept the National Constitution Center’s Liberty Medal, McCain, R-Ariz., emphasized that the United States is “a land made of ideals, not blood and soil,” a rebuke to the Nazi slogan about bloodlines and territory chanted in August by White supremacists demonstrating in Charlottesville, Va.”

John McCain’s living legacy is to show us the kind of leadership that’s possible, by Carter Eskew, The Washington Post, July 20, 2017
“McCain is almost free, free from a life of expectations, the burdens of torture and also much joy. But he will not go quietly. Once again, he will lead by example and show us the way it can be done.”
CLP: Opinion


Questions to Consider

  • Who is John McCain?
  • What does John McCain represent to the American people? How does his prisoner of war experience contribute to his biography?
  • How does his run for President in 2004 add to his biography?
  • Did the Republican majority in the Senate influence John McCain’s decisions? Did John McCain influence the Republican majority in the Senate?
  • What was McCain’s role in the US Senate?
  • Does McCain represent “bipartisanship”? How did he bridge the gap between parties?
  • How did the “maverick senator” influence debate in the Senate? Is “maverick” the correct term for John McCain?
  • What is integrity?
  • How does John McCain’s cancer affect his role in American life?
  • What is the process to replace a sitting senator in Arizona?
  • What kind of role model does John McCain want to be?
  • On which issues was the voice of John McCain heard? Why is opposition to torture an important part of his legacy? What mistakes did Senator McCain make?
  • What makes a good citizen? 


Background and More

John McCain,

Key Issues, John McCain, U.S. Senator Arizona

John McCain III’s Issue Positions (Political Courage Test), Vote Smart
CLP: Presents list of current issues and Sen. McCain’s position with quotes and details to defend

Video Clip: Senator John McCain on the Legacies of the Vietnam War, CSPAN

The John McCain I Know, by Elizabeth Drew, The New Republic, June 1, 2018
“When he managed a bill on the Senate floor, he rarely remained in his seat for long but instead darted about the chamber, talking to members on both sides of the aisle, taking their temperature, plotting, shooting the breeze, joking. Though he was reputed to have a towering temper, he calmed down almost as quickly as he blew up, and retained top staff members longer than almost anyone in the Senate—a measure I apply to elected members to ascertain what kind of person they are.”

What is John McCain’s legacy? PBS Frontline Offers a Look, by Bill Goodykoontz, AZ Central, April 16, 2018
“The episode delves into McCain’s entry into politics. He came back a war hero, and the military showcased him.”

Joe Biden and John McCain: How their friendship survived Washington, by Linda Feldman, The Christian Science Monitor, June 9, 2016
“Has civility in public life become so rare that notable practitioners merit a prize? That thought came to mind this week as Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona were honored for just that – a decades-long friendship marked by loyalty and good cheer, despite at-times sharp partisan differences.”

What Did Vietnam Teach John McCain?, by Barron Youngsmith, The New Republic, June 30, 2008
CLP: Examining how McCain’s experience in Vietnam affected his worldview.


Lesson Plans

Teaching Good Citizenship’s Five Themes, Education World
CLP: Elementary

English Lesson on John McCain, Famous People Lessons
CLP: Elementary, early middle school

Combatting the Culture of Corruption, Annenberg Classroom
CLP: Middle and High School

A More Peaceful and Prosperous World, by John McCain, Teaching Tolerance
CLP: Middle and High School


Constitutional and Legal Connections

John McCain explains how to get a bill passed, and it’s excellent advice on persistence in any job, by Pat Ralph, Business Insider, May 30, 2018
“McCain continued by saying that politicians must be aware of changes in the political environment in order to know when to strike when the iron is hot. McCain also advocated for the importance of compromise when looking to pass legislation.”

With John McCain ill, election officials, lawmakers focus on rules for filling a vacant Senate seat, by Ronald J. Hansen and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, AZ Central, May 3, 2018

Filling Vacant Senate Seats,


Oregon State Social Science Standards

8.8 Evaluate information from a variety of sources and perspectives.
8.21 Analyze important political and ethical values such as freedom, democracy, equality, and justice embodied in documents such as the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
HS.59 Demonstrate the skills and dispositions needed to be a critical consumer of information.
HS.60. Analyze an event, issue, problem, or phenomenon from varied or opposing perspectives or points of view.


We the People Lesson Connections

Middle School, Level 2

  • Unit 6, Lesson 29: What are the rights and responsibilities of citizenship?
  • Unit 6, Lesson 30: How might citizens participate in civic affairs?

High School, Level 3

  • Unit 6, Lesson 33: What does it mean to be a citizen?
  • Unit 6, Lesson 34: What is the importance of civic engagement to American constitutional democracy?