John McCain fights back – CBS News

 In U.S.
On Friday, John McCain announced that he will once again vote against repeal of the Affordable Care Act — once again disappointing his fellow Republicans and President Trump.

In a statement he said: “I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing…How many people will be helped or hurt by it.” 

60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl and Sen. John McCain

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And so the senator from Arizona has lived up to his reputation as a maverick and a fighter.

McCain, who survived torture and solitary confinement during his five-and-a-half years as a POW in Vietnam, is now, at 81, in a second fight for his life — this time against glioblastoma, a deadly and unforgiving brain cancer. 

He invited us to his ranch just outside of Sedona, Arizona, 24 acres of old-growth trees, a family of hawks and a rippling creek that his dog Burma likes to swim in.

“I am more energetic and more engaged as a result of this because I know that I’ve got to do everything I can to serve this country while I can.”

Lesley Stahl: I’m wondering if when you’re up here if it’s like medicine for you.

John McCain: Oh yeah, oh yeah. It puts everything in perspective.


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He and his wife Cindy have raised four children. They have survived two grueling presidential campaigns, a battle against melanoma – and now this.

Lesley Stahl: You’re taking both radiation and chemotherapy?

John McCain: Yep.

Lesley Stahl: You look terrific. How is this possible?

John McCain: I feel fine and I’m eating everything that she makes me eat, all of which– none of which is–

Lesley Stahl: Is any good?


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John McCain: Yeah, exactly. One criteria to feeding people that are under my situation, it has to taste lousy.

Lesley Stahl: He has been through so much?

Cindy McCain: Uh-huh (affirm).

Lesley Stahl: I mean, the torture and the– you were put in solitary confinement?

Cindy McCain: Uh-huh (affirm).

Lesley Stahl: He’s always been the indestructible man?

Cindy McCain: Uh-huh (affirm).

John McCain: Crashed two airplanes.

Lesley Stahl: Crashing two airplanes and walked away?


John McCain: Yeah.

Lesley Stahl: Is he still the indestructible man to you?

Cindy McCain: I’m still in disbelief that this actually has happened. And then I think, you know, cancer chose the wrong guy. ‘Cause there– it’s not gonna happen here.

Determined to stay in the arena, Senator McCain has resumed his duties in Washington. You’d never know it, but he starts his days with chemo and radiation. And then heads to a full day of work including chairing hearings of the Armed Services Committee.

John McCain: I am more energetic and more engaged as a result of this because I know that I’ve got to do everything I can to serve this country while I can.

Lesley Stahl: Now you have the same cancer that Ted Kennedy had. Does what he experienced go through your mind? Is it–

John McCain: Oh, yeah. I think about Ted a lot. Ted stayed at his job, kept working. Kept going even when he was in a wheelchair. And he never gave up because he loved the engagement. 

The senator first learned he had a problem in Arizona back in July when doctors found a blood clot over his left eye after a routine check up at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. He was driving back to the ranch when he got word.

John McCain: I was driving up here, and I got about two-thirds of the way up. And my doctor called and said, “You’ve got to come back.” And I said, “Hey, today’s Friday. I’ll just come in on Monday.” And she said, “No, you have to come now. It’s very serious.”

Lesley Stahl: You turned the car around?

John McCain: Uh-huh (affirm).

Lesley Stahl: And went immediately into surgery?

John McCain: Yes. They thought it was serious enough that they had to act immediately.

Lesley Stahl: And before the blood clot operation, did they mention glioblastoma to you?

John McCain: Yes. But, as you know, doctors are interesting.

Lesley Stahl: They cover themselves.

John McCain: I kept saying to them, “Tell it to me straight.” “Well, there’s always this. There’s always that.” You know, and– and I said, “I can take it. Just tell me.” And then they were more forthcoming.

Five days after the surgery, lab results confirmed he had glioblastoma.

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