Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) decried the state of the GOP presidential race in an interview with the Boston Herald published Tuesday.
"This is like watching a Greek tragedy," he said. "It’s the negative campaigning and the increasingly personal attacks...it should have stopped long ago. Any utility from the debates has been exhausted, and now it’s just exchanging cheap shots and personal shots followed by super PAC attacks."
McCain has endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the presidency. He said in the interview that he thought he would be the nominee and can win, but he also worries "about how much damage has been done."
McCain, who cosponsored legislation in 2002 on campaign finance, has long been critical of super PACs. "I predict to you there will be a major scandal associated with the Supreme Court decision on Citizens versus United.[sic] There is too much money washing around," he said on a Romney campaign conference call last month. Romney, however, has greatly benefitted from an aligned super PAC, Restore Our Future, which spent over $11 million in television ads alone in January. The former Mass. governor has also decried super PACs, but favors getting rid of them by letting donors give unlimited amounts to candidates and campaigns.
McCain is the latest in a series of senior Republican figures to lament the state of the race. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said Thursday that he found some of the rhetoric in the GOP debates "a little troubling" for "appealing to people's fears and emotion." Former RNC Chairman and Mississippi governor Haley Barbour said Monday that the GOP nomination fight was taking away attention from Obama's policies. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who ran against McCain in 2008, said Sunday that the "toxic atmosphere" in the Republican party had discouraged him from running in the 2012 race.
Romney is expected to carry Arizona, the state McCain has long represented, in Tuesday's primary.