FACTBOX: John McCain, Republican presidential candidate

Tue Nov 4, 2008 1:36am EST

Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain speaks at a campaign rally in Newport News, Virginia November 1, 2008. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain speaks at a campaign rally in Newport News, Virginia November 1, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder

(Reuters) - Sen. John McCain of Arizona is the Republican candidate for U.S. president in the election on Tuesday. Following are some of McCain's biographical details:

Age: 72

Birth date: August 29, 1936

Birthplace: Panama Canal Zone

Education: U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis; National War College, Washington, D.C.

Wife: Cindy Lou Hensley

Children: Seven children, four grandchildren

Religious affiliation: Episcopalian

Family: McCain is the son and grandson of Navy admirals. His grandfather, John McCain, commanded a fast carrier task force in the Pacific during World War Two and saw the Japanese surrender aboard the USS Missouri. The senator's father, also John McCain, was a submariner in the Pacific during World War Two. He was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Command during the Vietnam War when the younger McCain was a prisoner of war.

Career: After graduating fifth from the bottom of his class at the U.S. Naval Academy, McCain began a 22-year career in the Navy. During the Vietnam War, he flew the carrier-based A-4 Skyhawk attack aircraft.

On July 29, 1967, McCain was almost killed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal when a missile accidentally fired from another plane hit the fuel tanks on his jet, igniting a deadly fire. He narrowly escaped, but 134 people died in the blaze.

On October 26 of the same year, McCain was shot down during his 23rd bombing mission. He ejected, broke both arms and a leg and was knocked unconscious. He was captured and held as a prisoner of war in the North Vietnamese forces' infamous "Hanoi Hilton." He was denied medical treatment, often beaten and served much time in solitary confinement.

McCain spent 5 1/2 years as a prisoner of war and declined offers to be released earlier than longer-serving prisoners after his captors discovered he was the son of a U.S. admiral. Upon his release, he regained flight status and continued his Navy career. His last assignment before retiring in 1981 was as naval liaison to the U.S. Senate.

Elective office: McCain won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona in 1982. He served in the House until 1986, when he won a seat in the U.S. Senate, where he has served ever since.

McCain ran for president in 1999 but lost the Republican nomination to George W. Bush.

McCain's voting record is mixed. The nonpartisan National Journal did not give him a ranking on its liberal-conservative scale in 2007 because it said he did not vote frequently enough to earn a score, missing more than half the votes in the economic and foreign policy categories. The American Conservative Union gives him an 82 percent conservative lifetime rating.

Sources: Reuters, Almanac of American Politics, ACUratings.org

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