john “salter” McCain

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John McCain came all the way to a Victorian opera house at this old Southern railroad junction to ponder his ancestors.

Not far from an airfield named for his grandfather, on a stage bedecked with black-and-white family photos, McCain reflected on the notions of honor and courage and duty passed down through generations as he confessed to having “been an imperfect servant of my country for many years.”

With this look backwards in search of meaning, McCain was reveling in his greatest political asset. Perhaps more than any other national candidate in recent memory, McCain has relied on the promise of a transcendent character guaranteed by personal experience, the reason he has been able to convince voters – especially those who disagree with him on key issues – of his ability to rise above partisanship and privilege, artifice and ambition.

This is a political project, but also a literary one, initiated by Mark Salter, the Arizona senator’s closest aide and one frequently described as his alter ego, who for nearly two decades has made telling McCain’s stories his own life’s work.

more from The Boston Globe here.

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