The maverick and the turtlef*cker have a slap fight

The real point of this story is that candidate McCain hasn’t been showing up to do his job. 43 votes in a row missed — my my my.

Nevertheless, the spat, the columnist’s euphemisms, and the rats-on-a-sinking-ship subtext all make for an amusing diversion.

During a meeting Thursday on immigration legislation, McCain and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) got into a shouting match when Cornyn started voicing concerns about the number of judicial appeals that illegal immigrants could receive, according to multiple sources — both Democrats and Republicans — who heard firsthand accounts of the exchange from lawmakers who were in the room.

At a bipartisan gathering in an ornate meeting room just off the Senate floor, McCain complained that Cornyn was raising petty objections to a compromise plan being worked out between Senate Republicans and Democrats and the White House. He used a curse word associated with chickens and accused Cornyn of raising the issue just to torpedo a deal.

Things got really heated when Cornyn accused McCain of being too busy campaigning for president to take part in the negotiations, which have gone on for months behind closed doors. “Wait a second here,” Cornyn said to McCain. “I’ve been sitting in here for all of these negotiations and you just parachute in here on the last day. You’re out of line.”

McCain, a former Navy pilot, then used language more accustomed to sailors (not to mention the current vice president, who made news a few years back after a verbal encounter with Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont).

“[Expletive] you! I know more about this than anyone else in the room,” shouted McCain at Cornyn. McCain helped craft a bill in 2006 that passed the Senate but couldn’t be compromised with a House bill that was much tougher on illegal immigrants.

< … >

After making a few comments, McCain left the Capitol to head to New York for presidential campaign events. Later that day, McCain missed his 43rd straight vote, this on the $2.9 trillion budget outline.

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