POLITICS
10/08/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Report: McCain Pushed Woman In A Wheelchair

On Sunday, McClatchy Newspapers published a story on Sen. John McCain's oft-discussed temper, detailing one incident in which McCain allegedly pushed a woman in a wheelchair.

According to McClatchy's report, in 1996, McCain was met in the Senate office halls by a group of family members of POW-MIAs who had been pressing him to pursue more information on their relatives.

Six people present have written statements describing what they saw. According to the accounts, McCain waved his hand to shoo away Jeannette Jenkins, whose cousin was last seen in South Vietnam in 1970, causing her to hit a wall.

As McCain continued walking, Jane Duke Gaylor, the mother of another missing serviceman, approached the senator. Gaylor, in a wheelchair equipped with portable oxygen, stretched her arms toward McCain.

"McCain stopped, glared at her, raised his left arm ready to strike her, composed himself and pushed the wheelchair away from him," according to Eleanor Apodaca, the sister of an Air Force captain missing since 1967.

McCain's staff wouldn't respond to requests for comment about specific incidents.

It's impossible now to determine whose recollection of these events is accurate. But Democrats clearly continue to see McCain's temperament as a potential electoral liability. Appearing on CNN's Late Edition on Sunday, Sen. Barbara Boxer argued that McCain's hot-streak is a legitimate campaign issue that should dissuade voters from electing him commander in chief.

"Just listen to what some of his Republican friends have said about him," said Boxer. "Thad Cochran, a Republican conservative senator from Mississippi says the thought of John McCain in the White House sends cold chills down his spine. I don't agree with Kay Bailey that everybody loses their temper like that. And I think we've all seen it happen. It's not rational when it happens. And because John McCain raised the issue, he actually raised it and says he has the temperament -- you know, I think it should be on the table. And anyone watching, you know, Barack Obama stay as cool as a cucumber under the most unbelievable scathing attacks can see that."

Boxer's comment, the crux of which had been raised earlier in the segment, came in the midst of what was a heated exchange between her and Senate colleague Kay Bailey Hutchinson. The Texas Republican laughed off the idea that McCain was any more volatile than other senators. "It is just ridiculous to say he doesn't have the temperament," she remarked. "I mean everybody gets upset at some point."

Subscribe to the Politics email.
How will Trump’s administration impact you?