Former Sen. Baucus reflects on John McCain’s legacy

Posted at 8:44 AM, Aug 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-30 10:44:28-04

BOZEMAN – Former longtime Montana U.S. Senator Max Baucus worked with Senator John McCain in Washington, D.C. for nearly three decades.  During that time, they got to know each other quite well. Baucus sat down with MTN News and looked back at McCain’s legacy.

"John spoke his mind. John sometimes had a little bit of a temper. And to be honest, one time I walked up to him about something on the Senate floor, I’ve forgotten what it was, I just remember his reaction," Baucus recalled.

"Oh, he blew up at me. He lost his temper and I thought to myself, ‘Max, what did you do to deserve this? My gosh, I didn’t do anything wrong here.’ Oh, he was angry with me, and I could not figure out why," Baucus continued.

"I walked away and I sat down next to another senator on the Senate floor and I said, ‘you know, that guy’s not qualified to be president! He just flies off the handle too much.’ And the Senator I was talking to, ‘boy that’s right, he does too much of that’," the Democrat said

"Well, another time I talked to him, similar, and he got angry again, but then he ‘oh Max! come back!’ You could tell he was trying to get ahold of his temper, he was trying to do this right, he apologized for both instances," Baucus told MTN News.

"He has his own firm views, sometimes a bit stubborn, but when he was presented with facts, he would back off and say oh no no, I did the wrong thing, I made a mistake, but he was passionate".

We then asked Baucus if he was surprised by any of the comments in the letter that he had read after his passing.

"No, that’s quintessential John. That’s John McCain. Honor, duty, strive to serve your country, serve your state and the country, the nation. He was so driven public service and our country and honor. His code of honor, his badge of honor, it’s a military code of honor," Baucus said.

"It’s in his DNA, and that came through in the statement. I also was very touched, frankly, when he talked about his mistakes. He said ‘oh sometimes I make a lot of mistakes’." Well we know we all do, but he was not above saying he made a lot of mistakes because too many people don’t admit that they make mistakes. John did."

Baucus, who also served as U.S. ambassador to China, went on to share his thoughts on what McCain’s legacy will be.

"It’s going to be what public service should be. It’s a noble pursuit, public service, it’s honorable. I’m hoping that when people when they think of John, see somebody who is honorable, who is honest, who said what he thought was right and what he thought was right in his view was always for the public good, not for personal gain or interest, but for the public good," Baucus concluded.

The first of four days of public events celebrating the life of McCain is began on Wednesday in Phoenix where the body of the six-term senator is lying in state in the rotunda of the Arizona State Capitol.

WEB EXTRA: Watch the interview with Senator Baucus below.