For a guy who’s demanding that everybody return to Washington to do their jobs in solving the Wall Street crisis, John McCain isn’t there very often himself.
Of the 100 senators in D.C., John McCain is the lone claimant to the title of “worst attendance.” Of 643 issues that have reached the Senate floor, the Arizona Senator and GOP presidential hopeful has cast votes on just 231 of them. All together, that amounts to a 35.9% job performance.
Now, let’s not be unfair. Running for president is extremely time consuming, and Senators who’ve taken up the task have never been expected to maintain an impeccable attendance record. Barack Obama ranks third on the worst attendance list, although his attendance is a full 15 points higher than McCain’s. At least Obama can honestly claim that he’s been there for more than half of scheduled floor votes.
But look back to the 109th Congress, when no one could claim that their visits to Capitol Hill were limited by a national campaign. Barack Obama missed just 11 votes out of 645 for the two-year period. That’s a 98.3% record, putting him among the most frequent Senators in attendance. But McCain was still near the bottom of the list, missing 9% of his total votes- that was the fifth worst.
In fact, McCain has been in the bottom ten in attendance in four of the last five sessions of Congress going back 10 years: the 110th (worst), the 109th (5th worst), the 107th (10th worst), and the 106th (worst).
McCain’s sporadic presence in Washington has left a few of his colleagues with raw feelings in the past. During the presidential primary, the Washington Post reported an incident in which McCain returned to the Senate to vote on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill. When Texas Senator John Cornyn raised objections to various provisions of the bill (which McCain supported), the Arizona Senator bristled, calling Cornyn’s concerns “chicken sh*t” and accusing him of trying to sabotage the legislation. Cornyn, not taking kindly to McCain’s eleventh hour appearance, responded, “Wait a second here. I’ve been in here for all these negotiations and you just parachute in here on the last day. You’re out of line.”
McCain fired back: “F*ck you!” he screamed, “I know more about this than anyone else in the room!”
In the past ten years, McCain has missed more votes than any current member of the Senate.