Play word association with the name "John McCain" and "maverick" is certain to pop up.Despite what you've told us in the past....pander, John. Pander.
After all, McCain's presidential campaign repeatedly dubbed the Arizona Republican "the original maverick" and late last month McCain's former running mate, Sarah Palin, urged a crowd in Tucson to "send the maverick back to the Senate!"
But there's only one problem: McCain, who faces a difficult primary challenge from the right, says he's no maverick.
"I never considered myself a maverick," the senator told Newsweek this week. "I consider myself a person who serves the people of Arizona to the best of his abilities."
McCain faces a primary challenge from former Rep. J.D. Hayworth and has come under criticism for being too moderate on a variety of issues, including immigration. Several leading Tea Party activists in Arizona have decided not to endorse McCain or Hayworth, criticizing both of their records while serving in Congress.