Yesterday’s New York Times deferentially described the Senator as “being known for his independent streak.” “Feisty” is another word more often associated with Senator McCain. But in 1998 I interviewed him for an article in Southwest Art and I was struck by how gracious, soft-spoken he and Mrs. McCain were and his warm feelings towards his staff. Most striking was sense of equality in the office. Unlike other offices in the U.S. Capitol, his staff were not jammed together in a small space, while the senator or representative had a massive office at the end of the office, with a grand view of the National Mall. Senator McCain’s desk and office were only slightly larger than those of staff and in the middle of the suite, without the grand view.
The two photographs behind the Senator were gifts from his predecessor Barry Goldwater and it is Goldwater’s desk that McCain now uses. To the right of these photographs is one of two Edward S. Curtis images on loan from the Smithsonian Institution.