Last Friday, Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ), who is a member of Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) National Leadership Team and a co-chair of his Arizona Leadership Team, was indicted for extortion, wire fraud, money laundering and other crimes. Asked that day about Renzi’s indictment, McCain said he didn’t “know enough of the details to make a judgment.”
Later, on a conference call with conservative bloggers, McCain said Renzi “would probably step down as co-chair of his Arizona campaign.” Asked in Ohio today, however, McCain said “it doesn’t matter” if Renzi stays on his campaign or not.
You can watch Big Mac making these comments here. Now, St. John does make a valid point in saying that Renzi is technically innocent until proven guilty, but this is a curious stance to take. As Matt points out, only last year McCain quite publicly called for the resignation of both Larry Craig and Alberto Gonzales. In the case of Craig, at least, the charges at him were more titillating than felonious in nature. The driver of the Straight Talk Express is anchoring his candidacy on an image of a pure as the driven snow champion in the fight against corruption and influence in politics. Taking such a casual stance about having Renzi running his campaign in his home state is not really in keeping with that story line.