Understanding John McCain

Honor. It's the key to the Republican candidate's personal story — and his hopes for being elected in November

Christopher Morris / VII for TIME

John McCain, according to one of his most perceptive and persistent critics, has struggled throughout his career to balance his principles and his ambitions, to reconcile the code of honor instilled in him as a boy with the insistent demands of political expedience. His worst moments in public office, this critic has charged, have come when he has failed to put his country first — opposing a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. to bolster his conservative credibility in Arizona, concealing his abhorrence of the Confederate flag to troll for votes in South Carolina. And before you judge, you...

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