Segments in this Video

Obamacare Vote (07:01)


On July 27, 2017, Sen. John McCain was expected to be the pivotal vote on the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act. He had recently been diagnosed with a deadly form of brain cancer.

Prisoner of War (08:22)

McCain had been a public figure since his capture by the Vietcong after being shot down over Hanoi. He was an admiral’s son, and his captors sought to use him for propaganda. He was beaten until he confessed to war crimes.

McCain's Entry into Politics (03:22)

McCain was an escort officer for members of Congress and befriended younger senators. He divorced his first wife, married Cindy McCain, and was elected to Congress.

Keating Five (03:20)

McCain’s career was nearly derailed by scandal. He and four other senators were accused of intervening with government regulators on behalf of Charles Keating, a friend of McCain’s who owned a failed savings and loan.

Political Maverick (06:04)

McCain was often at odds with his party under the leadership of Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. In 2000, he ran for president, but campaign smears spread before the South Carolina primary.

Bush Administration Critic (02:20)

McCain became a voice of dissent in George W. Bush’s Republican Party. He fought tax cuts for the wealthy and criticized the president’s Iraq War strategy; he was enraged by the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

McCain's Second Presidential Run (11:11)

McCain made peace with Bush and the Republican Party as he launched his campaign for the 2008 election. Among his obstacles were a changing Republican base and Barack Obama. His choice of running mate was a wild card.

Seeds of the Tea Party (04:20)

Running mate Sarah Palin connected to the party’s base in a way McCain never could. Grassroots supporters grew angrier and more conspiratorial, accusing Obama of secretly being Muslim. Conservative pundits blamed McCain after his loss.

Politics of Resentment (02:39)

Populist anger exploded into the Tea Party movement. McCain watched as Sarah Palin endorsed a new maverick. Trump exploited the forces that McCain would not and won the presidency.

Congressional Division (02:41)

McCain began his third decade in the Senate; gridlock, dysfunction, and ideological purity replaced collaboration. Even with a brain cancer diagnosis, McCain addressed his colleagues and voted against the repeal of Obamacare.

Credits: McCain (01:05)

Credits: McCain

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3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



McCain is an exploration of Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.)’s complicated relationship with President Donald Trump and the Republican Party, as well as his life and politics. Drawing on both new interviews and FRONTLINE’s deep archive of reporting, McCain traces the conservative standard-bearer’s motivations and his political history - from his experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, to speaking out against torture during the Bush administration, to his dramatic vote against the GOP’s health care bill last year. The film also examines how, with his 2008 nomination of Sarah Palin as running mate, McCain himself contributed to a growing challenge to the party establishment.

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: BVL188599

Copyright date: ©2018

Closed Captioned

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