McCain's Credibility Goes Up in Smoke

We're talking about a senator taking firm stands against his own bills. "Maverick," indeed.
John McCain's efforts in opposition to the tobacco industry have come up quite a bit lately. A McCain campaign ad unveiled last week noted that he "has taken on big tobacco." A few days later, the campaign released another ad, featuring Democratic praise for McCain's work against Big Tobacco. McCain even boasted of his efforts at Lance Armstrong's Livestrong Summit two weeks ago.

The media has bought this line completely. The AP praised McCain's work against the tobacco industry as evidence of his independence, and the WaPo's Jonathan Weisman offered the tobacco issue as the best example of McCain being "an independent maverick."

McCain's claims and the media's praise hasn't made sense for quite some time. McCain fought for years in support of legislation -- that he co-sponsored -- that would regulate the tobacco industry and impose a $1.10-per-pack tax on cigarettes to fund programs to cut underage smoking. Earlier this year, McCain quietly began moving away from the bill he'd championed.
Steve Benen is a freelance writer/researcher and creator of The Carpetbagger Report. In addition, he is the lead editor of's Blog Report, and has been a contributor to Talking Points Memo, Washington Monthly, Crooks & Liars, The American Prospect, and the Guardian.