Perhaps the most remarkable story of McCain's temper involved Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi. Two former reporters covering McCain relayed it as follows: In 2006, the Arizona Republican congressional delegation had a strategy meeting. McCain repeatedly addressed two new members, congressmen Trent Franks and Rick Renzi, as 'boy.' Finally, Renzi, a former college linebacker, rose from his chair and said to McCain, "You call me that one more time and I'll kick your old ass." McCain lunged at Renzi, punches were thrown, and the two had to be physically separated. After they went to their separate offices, McCain called Renzi and demanded an apology. Renzi refused. Apparently this posture made McCain admire him, as they became fast friends.
McCain once "scuffled" with the Senate's then oldest member, Strom Thurmond, during a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing in January 1995. Three years later, the Associated Press article
reported that McCain dropped F-Bombs on at least three fellow Republicans.
"I'm calling you a fucking jerk!" he once retorted to Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.
And in a opinion piece last year on Salon.com, Sidney Blumenthal, now an adviser to Sen. Hillary Clinton, wrote that McCain once told Sen. Ted Kennedy to "shut up" on the Senate Floor, referred to a fellow Republican as a "shit head" and offered a downright vicious and doubly-offensive joke in 1998 Republican fundraiser about then first daughter Chelsea Clinton.
"Do you know why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly?" he asked. "Because Janet Reno is her father."