John McCain's Next Windmill: The White House

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WASHINGTON: It's certainly a good year to run as the integrity candidate. John McCain earned that title from principled (and appealingly quixotic) stands in the Senate on tobacco and campaign finance reform. And as TIME congressional correspondent James Carney puts it, "he's got a story to tell" -- his heroic five years as a POW in Vietnam. "The Clinton scandal has the public more cynical than ever about politicians," says Carney. "And there's no one in Washington who doesn't respect McCain's character."

Still McCain doesn't have George W's last name or Steve Forbes' wallet, and in the campaign business, a maverick needs one or the other. "The same iconoclastic stands that won McCain his reputation have alienated the Republican establishment," says Carney. "He's a real outcast, and he needs money." Carney says there's always a chance that McCain could hit it off with the public and "catch a wave" in the primaries. But the realities are that he'd be a lot better off if he'd gotten that soft-money ban past Trent Lott last spring. Anyone need a Vice President with no vices?