From CBS News' Andante Higgins:
John McCain said today he hopes cooperation among Republicans and Democrats can end the bitter fighting over the appointment of judges. "I think the gridlock of judicial nominees is a symptom of the gridlock in Washington on a lot of issues and Americans don't approve of the job we're doing right now," he said. "I think it is another indicator that we need to sit down together and move forward with an agenda."
McCain led the "Gang of 14," a bi-partisan group of seven Democrats and seven Republicans who agreed to a truce to move the judicial nomination process forward in the spring of 2005. Today, he said it is a classic example of how the partisan gridlock problem can be handled. Some conservatives were upset by his participation in it, but McCain says he is proud of what he did and hopes that people can realize that it was successful at the time. "All I can say is that we were facing a situation where it was not clear how they would succeed," he said.
McCain added that he opposed the "nuclear option," a controversial procedural move to end a filibuster with a simple majority vote, and which the "Gang of 14" successfully avoided using. "I opposed that for a variety of reasons, including the precedent that it would set as far as the erosion of fundamental differences between the Senate and the House – a majority vote verses 60 votes," McCain said. "I hope that there would be a growing realization that what we did was a successful effort and at the same time preserved the 60 vote principle of the United States Senate."