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. Watch it:
McCain has been staunchly loyal to his fellow Arizonian. After the FBI investigation into Renzi was first reported in October 2006, McCain vouched for Renzi’s “integrity” in a robo-call to Arizona voters:
This is Senator John McCain. I’m calling to urge you to support my friend, Representative Rick Renzi for Congress. Rick has represented the first district of Arizona with tenacity, honesty and integrity beyond reproach.
But despite his claim that “it doesn’t matter” if the indicted Renzi remains a part of his campaign, McCain hasn’t hesitated to call for scandal plagued public officials to resign. Just last year, McCain said that both Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should step down.