McCain's Big Deal

Harsh words, strewn chairs and tobacco's lost G.O.P. friends mark a difficult negotiation

Senator John McCain stood in his office, his eyes squeezed into slits and his hands choking the back of a chair. "O.K., what? What?!" he barked. It was mid-morning on March 25, and two of his aides were telling him that the tobacco deal he had painstakingly negotiated among impossibly contrarian parties was disintegrating yet again--this time over how much authority the Food and Drug Administration should have to regulate tobacco products. McCain studied his hands for a moment, as if he were surprised to see the rubber band that he always keeps around his right wrist. Then he looked up....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!