John McCain has a problem with his party. His Phoenix-rising-from-the-ashes campaign- largely driven by his success with moderates and non-Republicans- has thrown a curveball to the GOP, which has been vocal in its criticism of McCain in the past. Now they're under pressure to fall in line behind a man whom they've expressed serious concern about in the past, or risk handing the White House keys to a Democrat.
Though many Republicans have begun to coalesce around McCain in recent months, the statements they've made over the years are telling of their personal opinions of the Arizona Senator.
"The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."
Senator Thad Cochran, R-MS
"I decided I didn't want this guy anywhere near a trigger."
Senator Pete Domenici, R-NM
"If either [John McCain or Mike Huckabee] gets the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party, it's going to change it forever, be the end of it."
Conservative talk show host and author Rush Limbaugh
"There's nothing redeeming about John McCain...he's a hypocrite."
Former House GOP Whip Tom DeLay
"He is a vicious person. Nearly all the Republican Senators endorsed Bush because they knew McCain from serving with him in the Senate. They so disliked him that they wouldn't support him. They have been on the hard end of his behavior."
Former Representative Charles LeBoutillier, R-NY
"John was very rough in the sandbox. Everybody has a McCain story. If you work in the Senate for a while, you have a McCain story. He hasn't built up a lot of goodwill." Former Senator Rick Santorum, R-PA
"There would be a lot of people who would have to recalibrate their attitudes toward John."
Senator Bob Bennett, R-UT
"For all his supposed, newfound enlightenment about what most Americans want - protection against invasion, commitment to the rule of law, meaningful employer sanctions, an end to sanctuary cities, enforcement-by-attrition plus deportation reform, and an end to special illegal alien benefits that invite more law-breaking-The Maverick remains a Geraldo Rivera Republican. Like the ethnocentric cable TV host who can't string a sentence about immigration together without drowning in emotional demagoguery, McCain naturally resorts to open-borders platitudes when pressed for enforcement specifics...McCain has learned nothing."
Michelle Malkin, conservative columnist and author
"His temper would place this country at risk in international affairs, and the world perhaps in danger. In my mind, that should disqualify him."
Former Senator Bob Smith, R-NH
"I heard about his temper more from others. According to them, he really unleashed on some of them, and they couldn't figure out why...It happened enough that it was affecting his credibility with some people."
Grant Woods, McCain's former Chief of Staff, former AG of Arizona, and current McCain staffer
An "embarrassment to the party."
Arizona GOP State Senator Susan Johnson
"What happens if he gets angry in crisis in the presidency? It's difficult enough to be a negotiator, but it's almost impossible when you're the type of guy who's so angry at anybody who doesn't do what he wants. It's the president's job to negotiate and stay calm. I just don't see that he has that quality."
Former Arizona GOP Chairman John Hinz
"No dissent, no opinion to the contrary- however reasonable- will be entertained. Hardheaded is one way to say it. Arrogant is another way to say it. Hubristic is another way to say it. Too proud for his own good is another way to say it. It's a quality about him that disturbs me."
Col. Larry Wilkerson, US Army (ret.) and former chief aide to Colin Powell
"He is the anti-conservative. He instinctively sides against conservatives and relishes poking them in the eye."
Conservative talk show host and author David Limbaugh
"It just seems like everything we did, John was someplace else...In my mind, he is not [a conservative]."
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-IL
"I think it's his style as much as much as the positions he takes...I think it's his attitude that it's his way or the highway."
Former Senator Tim Hutchinson, R-AR
"I don't like McCain. I don't like him at all."
Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-CO
McCain "has a legendary temper and often uses foul and obscene language."
Focus on Family Founder James Dobson
"John's a person I've had a lot of disagreements with, but you've got to have a lot of respect for him...I'm not speaking as if I'm a born again supporter of John McCain, I'm just trying to express it the way that I see him."
Senator Charles Grassley, R-IA
"What has struck me about McCain is that everybody underestimated the ability of his advisers and him to hypnotize the national media, because most of us in the media in Arizona thought of him as a guy who had a terrible temper, occasionally had a foul mouth, a guy who whined and pouted unless he got his way. McCain has a temper that is bombastic, volatile, and purple-faced. Sometimes he gets out of control. Do you want somebody sitting in the White House with that kind of temper?"
Pat Murphy, former editor of the Arizona Republic, and a former friend of McCain
"John McCain is Bob Dole minus the charm, conservatism, and youth. Like McCain, pollsters assured us that Dole was the most electable Republican. Unlike McCain, Dole didn't lie all the time while claiming to engage in ‘straight talk.'"
Ann Coulter, conservative columnist and author
"Is it possible that John McCain thinks you have too much freedom? ... I gotta tell you, I don't know what's happening to John McCain."Wayne LaPierre, CEO and Executive VP of the National Rifle Association