Media watchers have been wondering how long it will take press representatives to start attacking John McCain now that he's become almost the certain Republican nominee for president.
On February 16, the wait ended, as the Associated Press went on a literally vulgar tirade about the Arizona senator's temper that would make Madonna blush.
As reported Saturday (emphasis added throughout, h/t NBer DaBird, readers are warned about voluminous edited vulgarity):
Temper, temper. Republican John McCain is known for his. He's been dubbed "Senator Hothead" by more than one publication, but he's also had some success extracting his hatchet from several foreheads.
Even his Republican Senate colleagues are not spared his sharp tongue.
"F--- you," he shouted at Texas Sen. John Cornyn last year.
"Only an a------ would put together a budget like this," he told the former Budget Committee chairman, Sen. Pete Domenici, in 1999.
"I'm calling you a f------ jerk!" he once retorted to Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.
With Cornyn, he smoothed things over quickly. The two argued during a meeting on immigration legislation; Cornyn complained that McCain seemed to parachute in during the final stages of negotiations. "F--- you. I know more about this than anyone else in the room," McCain reportedly shouted.
Hmmm. Three edited f-words in the first six paragraphs. Could that be a wire service record?
Sadly, all that vulgarity was a set-up to dissuade voters from considering McCain:
The political landscape in Arizona, McCain's home state, is littered with those who have incurred his wrath. Former Gov. Jane Hull pretended to hold a telephone receiver away from her ear to demonstrate a typical outburst from McCain in a 1999 interview with The New York Times.
McCain has even blown up at volunteers and, on occasion, the average Joe.
He often pokes fun at his reputation: "Thanks for the question, you little jerk," he said last year to a New Hampshire high school student wondering if McCain, at 71, was too old to be president.
Other times, his ire is all too real. This has prompted questions about whether his temperament is suited to the office of commander-in-chief or whether it might handicap him in a presidential campaign against either Barack Obama or Hillary Rodham Clinton, who are not known for such outbursts.
"I decided I didn't want this guy anywhere near a trigger," Domenici told Newsweek in 2000.
Hillary Clinton is not known for such outbursts? Really? That's not what George Stephanopoulos and Dee Dee Myers have said.
In fact, according to multiple former colleagues of the current junior senator from New York, she has a mouth that would make an AP writer blush.