What a roller coaster ride it has been for Arizona Senator John McCain. When campaign fever began for the 2008 cycle, McCain was the Republican frontrunner. Through the summer of 2007, he appeared almost down and out, struggling through slumping poll numbers and a true financial crisis. Already, however, McCain appears to be back on the right track, and fighting his way back toward the top of the heap in the Republican nomination process. His unwavering support for the war in Iraq and his willingness to stand by President Bush with regards to immigration policies have provoked criticism from some quarters, but McCain has earned respect for his bipartisan cooperation during his Senate career, as well as for the sacrifices he made as a POW for six years during the Vietnam War. His weakest flank, appeal to Christian conservatives, was shored up significantly by an endorsement from former Republican candidate Sam Brownback. McCainâ€™s centrist appeal also may help him win over those Republicans whose main focus is simply beating the Democratic nominee in 2008.
Born into a military family, McCain returned from Vietnam as a hero, after spending six years as a POW. After he retired from the Navy, McCain was elected to the House of Representatives in 1983, then the Senate in 1986. He is well known for the landmark 2002 campaign finance legislation that bears his name and an unsuccessful presidential primary bid in 2000. If elected, McCain will be 72 years old at his inauguration, making him the oldest incoming President of the United States.