By CHARLES HURT
May 19, 2007 -- WASHINGTON - Presidential hopeful John McCain - who
has been dogged for years by questions about his volcanic temper -
erupted in an angry, profanity-laced tirade at a fellow Republican
senator, sources told The Post yesterday.
In a heated dispute over immigration-law overhaul, McCain screamed,
"F- - - you!" at Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who had been raising concerns
about the legislation.
"This is chickens- - - stuff," McCain snapped at Cornyn, according to
several people in the room off the Senate floor Thursday. "You've
always been against this bill, and you're just trying to derail it."
Surprised by McCain's foul-mouthed broadside, Cornyn told him he was
"out of line."
Cornyn said McCain couldn't "just parachute in at the last minute and
begin making all these demands" - a not-so-subtle shot at the Arizona
Republican's recent AWOL status in the Senate while campaigning around
the country for the White House.
That's a sore point with McCain, who has skipped 42 votes this year
and hasn't been closely involved in the "comprehensive immigration
reform" deal for months, even though he is a sponsor of the plan.
McCain blew his top after Cornyn brought up his worsening Senate
He shouted at Cornyn in front of a bipartisan group of senators and
aides who had gathered in ornate meeting room, according to several
people who were present.
"I know more about this stuff than anybody in this room," McCain added.
The blowup is likely to further revive questions about McCain's
Brian Jones, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, acknowledged that a
"spirited exchange" did occur, though he took exception to a few details.
Jones said that the "chickens- - -" phrase was offered by a McCain
ally in the room and that McCain never told Cornyn he knew more about
the legislation than anyone else in the room.
"Negotiating such a large and important piece of legislation can be
intense, and a spirited exchange did occur," Jones said. "[McCain] is
somebody who feels very passionate about his work and about solving
the problems facing the country."