The quote above comes from William P. Cheshire, a friend of Senator McCain who as editorial page editor of The Arizona Republic defended McCain during the Keating Five scandal. The quote is included in the lengthy article in today's NYTimes that everyone's buzzing about.
Mr. Cheshire added, "That imprudence or recklessness may be part of why [McCain] was not more astute about the risks he was running with this shady operator," Charles Keating.
"Sanctimonious" is what George W. Bush's people called McCain in 2000:
At one point, his campaign invited scores of lobbyists to a fund-raiser at the Willard Hotel in Washington. While Bush supporters stood mocking outside, the McCain team tried to defend his integrity by handing the lobbyists buttons reading "McCain voted against my bill." Mr. McCain himself skipped the event, an act he later called "cowardly."
So may we conflate the qualities assigned him by those who know him best? Sen. John McCain is "essentially santimonious." Which ought to make him ideal for the nomination.