Just two weeks after the election, he renewed his opposition to Bush's policy on global warming and urged action against greenhouse gases. He went to Europe and promoted a harder line against Russian President Vladimir Putin than the administration has voiced, and he returned home to take a harder line against steroid use in baseball than the administration had done.
Then, last week, he took aim at Donald H. Rumsfeld, saying he had "no confidence" in Bush's defense secretary. "There are very strong differences of opinion between myself and Secretary Rumsfeld" on U.S. troop strength in Iraq, he said.
McCain is readying himself for a run for the presidency in 2008, the article says, by being “half point-man for Bush, half iconoclast.” His unflinching and vocal support for Bush during the recent elections helped endear him to the Republican base, which was responsible for his defeat to Bush in the 2000 Republican primaries. His independent and outspoken stand on so many other issues have endeared him to the moderates on each side, who warmed to him when he spoke out against the Swift Boat Veterans campaign, and when John Kerry all but asked him to be his vice-presidential nominee. Barring incumbent presidents, has there ever been such a favourite?