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« Morning Thoughts: Roll On, Potomac | Blog Home Page | Ex-Clinton Aide: Anyone But Hill »

McCain's Bad Timing

Last night, John McCain stopped a recent trend of losing primaries by sweeping the Potomac contests, and today, instead of racing back to the campaign trail, he is taking a victory lap on Capitol Hill. Unfortunately, he picked a time when several members could find a good reason to skip out.

House Oversight and Government Reform chairman Henry Waxman, the California Democrat who serves as a watchdog for everything in Washington, is currently reading an opening statement as New York Yankees ace Roger Clemens and his former trainer wait patiently to be grilled. McCain supporter Tom Davis, the Virginia Republican who once chaired the committee, is perched next to Waxman, ready to jump in.

The hearing is one of the rare times members of Congress find themselves on a wide range of television stations. Fox News, MSNBC, CNN and ESPN are carrying the hearing live, and as Waxman gets going, it is clear Clemens and Brian McNamee are not going to have an easy day. Congress, unlike former Senator George Mitchell, has the power to subpoena, and so far, they have used it.

It is somewhat ironic that McCain is speaking to Republican members of Congress as Clemens testifies on the Hill. McCain has long been an advocate of cleaning up sports, from boxing to baseball. While Waxman and his committee are taking a look at steroid use in baseball now, McCain began looking into testing players for drug use in 2004, when he served as chair of the Senate Commerce Committee. "Don't you get it?" McCain asked players union chief Donald Fehr at a September 2005 hearing.

If McCain misses a few members today because they prefer to nail Clemens down for his alleged steroid use, he's probably okay with it. If the hearing were happening in the Senate, McCain would probably be there himself.