McCain 1stLd-Writethru 11-05 0699 Web
McCain maps out Senate role
Before resting from the grueling presidential race, John McCain began discussing with senior aides what role he will play in the Senate now that he has promised to work with the man who defeated him for president.
Democrats, who padded their majorities in the House and Senate, have a suggestion: McCain can mediate solutions to partisan standoffs on key legislation as he did to help avert a constitutional meltdown over judicial confirmations in 2005.
"There’s a need for the old John McCain, a leader who worked in a bipartisan way," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Wednesday.
GOP leaders, never fond of McCain’s independent streak or blunt style, nonetheless are reaching out to keep him in the fold and keep Republican ranks as robust as possible during the next Congress, two GOP officials said on condition they not be named because the conversations were private.
One focus will be the war in Iraq. After two years spent more on the campaign than in the Senate, McCain will return as the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee. That will put the four-term Arizona senator in a position to influence Democrat Barack Obama’s plan to set a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal.
"That would be good," Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said. "I would love to see McCain work with President Obama in dealing with Iraq in a way that Republicans and Democrats could agree on."