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WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2007
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EDITORIAL

Getting to know John McCain, or watching him evolve?

The self-destruction of Sen. John McCain as a presidential candidate may be under way. The Arizona senator is not who he started out as eight years ago when he ran for the Republican nomination for president.

Back then, he was a middle of the road Republican who offered himself as a thoughtful alternative to the party's right wing and to liberal Democrats. Now, he's doing everything he can to be what he preached against during the 2000 campaign.

In doing that, the former Vietnam prisoner of war is raising voter doubts about what he really believes.

For example, when President Bush finally fired Donald Rumsfeld in November, the senator praised the outgoing secretary of defense for his many years of public service. This week in South Carolina, where he lost a bitter primary fight with Texas Gov. George Bush in 2000, he said that Mr. Rumsfeld will go down as one of the "worst secretaries of defense in history."

In 1999, he wasn't for overturning Roe v. Wade, but now he wants the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the ruling that gave women the right to abortions.

In 2000, he called the Rev. Jerry Falwell an "agent of intolerance," but in 2006, he was in Virginia as commencement speaker for Mr. Falwell's Liberty University.

Former New York City Mayor Rudi Giuliani jumped into the presidential race when he saw a void developing within the Republican Party. He is poised to pick off the moderate Republican votes, now that Sen. McCain has new friends and new beliefs.

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