Senator John McCain, (R-Ariz.) found himself drowned out by boos and hisses on Tuesday after insisting to an otherwise friendly home-state crowd that President Barack Obama respects the Constitution.
In a scene reminiscent of a defining moment of the presidential campaign -- when the Arizona Republican painfully corrected a woman who insisted that Obama was an Arab -- McCain told the hyper-partisan audience that the president deserved the nation's respect even if his policies had them scared.
"Wait a minute. Wait a minute," he told the crowd in Sun City, Airzona. "He is sincere in his beliefs, we just happen to disagree. And he is the president. And let's be respectful."
A questioner had asked whether Obama realized that the spending priorities his administration is pursuing are "against the Constitution."
"Doesn't he know that we still live under a Constitution?" the attendee asked.
"I'm sure that he does," McCain responded. The crowd, thinking the response was a joke, laughed along.
"No, no. I am serious. I am sure that he does and I'm sure he respects the Constitution," said McCain.
Shouts of "No" came from the crowd.
"I really do," McCain pleaded. "I am absolutely convinced of it. I just believe, my friends, that there is a fundamental difference in philosophy and about the role of government. That is why we have competition for public office and competition amongst parties, and competition about different ideas and vision for the future of America. I'm convinced the president is absolutely sincere in his beliefs."
Later in the question-and-answer session, McCain would again face moderately hostile receptions for insisting that Republicans couldn't just "nuke" health care reform, but actually had an obligation to get reform passed. He also was booed for insisting that the prison at Guantanamo Bay needed to be shut down.
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