McCain Morphs Into Chief Obama Foe
Graham calls Arizona senator 'de facto leader of the Republican Party'
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2009 12:00 PM CST
What was expected to be a cordial, even productive relationship has now turned sour. What is McCain trying to do?   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – John McCain has made the transformation from possible Obama ally to a full-blooded Republican partisan, though insiders aren’t quite sure why. Some see his vocal opposition to the Obama administration’s policies as a concession to the realities of next year’s election, where he may face a challenge from the right. Friend Lindsey Graham paints McCain’s outrage as common sense. “What would have been a change was if he wasn’t pissed off,” he tells Politico.

Graham also calls McCain “the de facto leader of the Republican Party,” a moniker the Arizona senator bridles at. He says he's just “representing the people of Arizona." But Dems say he's flipped on his call for non-rancorous judicial nominations with his opposition to Sonia Sotomayor, and on climate change, and the AARP. There could be another motivation. “Politics is often very personal for McCain,” a friend says. You’ll recall he lost the 2008 election.