McCoward Stays Away As Senate Passes Medicare Bill

Ted Kennedy made it back to the Senate today (pictured entering the Capitol Building above with Caroline behind him) to ensure that the Medicare bill did not fail by one vote as it did before the Senate went on recess. With Kennedy present to guarantee passage, nine other Republicans also changed their vote to guarantee a veto-proof margin of victory.

While Kennedy made it back despite undergoing cancer treatment, there was one notable absence. John McCain was the only Senator who failed to make this important vote. Earlier in the day The Hill reported on attempts by Democrats to force McCain to take a position on this issue, especially considering that his vote could have made a big difference in June. This issue had doctors, the elderly, and even military families on one side with the insurance industry on the other. McCain avoided inquires as to his position, most likely hoping to avoid opposition from any of these groups on either side of the issue.

This has been typical of John McCain during the campaign. While it is common for candidates to miss many votes while running for president, John McCain is taking this to a new level. McCain has missed 61.8% of the votes cast, exceeding even the number missed by Tim Johnson following a cerebral hemorrhage. Obama has missed 43.5% of the votes, far fewer than McCain. What is particularly notable about McCain’s missed votes is that they are often on controversial issues where he has avoided taking a stand. In contrast, other candidates in similar positions such as John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama this year have announced how they would have voted on controversial votes which they missed.

Update: Pete Stark released this statement on John McCain’s failure to show up to vote:

Senator Kennedy managed to make it back from treatment for cancer, but Senator McCain couldn’t be bothered. Senator McCain, who wants to be our next President, has skipped this vote three times now. Clearly, he’d rather hide than face up to the insurance industry. You can do that when you’re in the U.S. Senate, maybe voters should leave him there.

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