This is one of the most embarrassing things I've ever heard a politician say:
"Maverick" is a mantle McCain no longer claims; in fact, he now denies he ever was one. "I never considered myself a maverick," he told me. "I consider myself a person who serves the people of Arizona to the best of his abilities."
This isn't where some politician denies having said something you can then dig up in the Congressional record. He's denying a label that he's cultivated relentlessly for a decade at least. Among people who just barely follow politics, it's the one thing they know about McCain. I've thought for a while that McCain looks pretty safe in his primary fight against J.D. Hayworth. But denying that he's ever thought of himself as a maverick just dynamites McCain's credibility to the point where he risks becoming a joke.