Scruggs and McCain had become close the previous year when Scruggs and Mississippi Atty. Gen. Mike Moore spent weeks on Capitol Hill trying to persuade Congress to approve a national settlement with tobacco companies over health care damages. McCain, then chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee considering the bill, turned over his office facilities to the two Mississippians to wage their campaign. (In the end, the bill failed under the 60-vote cloture rule.)
Some heavy-hitter guests at the luncheon (certainly, excluding me) raised a pot of money for McCain’s planned bid for the 2000 GOP presidential nomination. As history records, his “Straight Talk Express” campaign fell short, chiefly after George W. Bush’s forces used a smear campaign in South Carolina to stop McCain’s surge.
These were days when John McCain was a maverick in full bloom. Still unable to raise his right arm over his head from his crippling torture in Vietnam, he regularly kicked the Bush Administration and the GOP establishment in the shins and joined with Democrats to push legislation, notably the 2002 McCain-Fein gold (Russell Feingold-D. Wis.) Campaign Reform Act. McCain especially angered the GOP right wing by voting against Bush’s income tax cuts.
NE MS Daily Journal