John McCain Says a 2016 Showdown Between Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul Will Be a 'Tough Choice'

(Photo: Reuters)U.S. Senator John McCain.

Senior U.S. Senator for Arizona and the GOP's 2008 presidential nominee John McCain thinks former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is a "rock star" and if she faces GOP Senator for Kentucky Rand Paul in the 2016 presidential elections, it will be a "tough choice" on who he'd vote for.

Responding to questions in a recent interview with New Republic, during which he was asked about how he would vote on a projected face-off between Clinton and Paul, McCain quipped: "It's gonna be a tough choice."

He quickly followed that up with: "Let me just clarify that. I think that Rand Paul represents a segment of the GOP, just like his father. And I think he is trying to expand that, intelligently, to make it larger."

McCain had high praised for Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State and called her a "rock star".

"I think she did a fine job. She's a rock star. She has, maybe not glamour, but certainly the aura of someone widely regarded throughout the world," said McCain. "I do think it is interesting that the issues where John Kerry is engaging is where Hillary Clinton did not engage in, that those decisions were left to the White House and the National Security Council," he added.

During the interview, McCain also shared encouraging words about Florida Senator Marco Rubio when asked if he was frustrated that Rubio wasn't pressuring House Republicans enough on immigration reform.

"I expressed a little frustration. But Marco Rubio has played a tremendously important role, he is very articulate, and he has been going out there on the talk shows. He has a bright future in the party," said McCain who later noted that he put Rubio in a different category from the Mike Lee/Rand Paul/Ted Cruz company.

"He is a valuable candidate for president. Some people say this will set him back, but remember, I got the nomination of the party after failing on immigration in 2007. Yes, he is new to the Senate, and yes, sometimes I would have liked for Marco to say, Hey John, I am going to say X, but that is minor stuff," he noted.

McCain was also pretty candid when questioned about his reputation for being driven by anger and a political swinger.

"I am sure you hate psychological questions, but people say you are driven by anger: that you were angry about Bush, so you worked with Democrats; and then you were angry with Obama, and so you swung right. And now there's Ted Cruz and the rest, and you are working with Democrats again," noted New Republic's Isaac Chotiner.

"If you use the word anger, then obviously it is a very detrimental trait. If you use the word passion, that is a valuable thing to have," began McCain in his response.

"Losing to George W. Bush didn't change my behavior. I thought as a fiscal conservative it was wrong to have tax cuts that we didn't pay for, to have a secretary of defense who was the steward of a failing strategy in Iraq. And so it wasn't anger, but when I go to Walter Reed and see men with no legs, and have my own sons serving in the military, I feel passionate. If I didn't feel passionate, I shouldn't be in the business I am in," he said.

"Have I stepped on some toes? Yes. Have I angered some people that I probably could have avoided? I think so. But I would challenge you to talk—with rare exceptions—to my colleagues, and they would say I treat them with respect. It's maybe interesting that, whenever there is a major issue to be addressed, somehow I am in the mix. You don't get in the mix unless you have the respect of your colleagues. Maybe you can name me a major issue that has come up that I haven't been in the mix about," noted McCain.

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