Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., says he is prepared to tie up the U.S. Senate if it does not tackle the issue of campaign finance reform in this session.
Speaking on CBS Face The Nation, McCain, a candidate for the GOP nomination to president in 2000, said, " I don't enjoy 'tying up' the Senate. I have never filibustered in 13 years in the Senate. But I think we ought to do whatever we can to do to get the issue addressed."
McCain admitted that the issue probably is not on the agenda of Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., the majority leader.
"The reality is - I've been out there on the campaign trail -the American people do want this issue addressed. They believe we're corrupt; they believe the reason we don't have tax reform and the reason there's a 40,000-page tax code and the reason why we don't reform education or our defense establishment is because of the influence of special interest," McCain said.
Later in the broadcast, McCain was criticized by Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for giving " a veneer of partisanship to what is a Democratic measure in the Senate, opposed by all of the Republican leadership, both at the Republican National Committee and the Republican senatorial committee."
McCain said he opposed the campaign reform plan of the leading GOP presidential contender, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, because it would raise the limits on the amount individuals can contribute to a particular candidate and would give the big corporations, the big companies, the very wealthy individuals "a seat at the table," while excluding the average citizens.
McCain also took a jab at GOP hopeful Steve Forbes who in the current campaign as well as his last campaign for president in 1996 turned down matching federal money so he would not have to follow the rules for getting it.
He said that was circumventing the intent of the law - to keep candidates free of special interests.
Despite Bush's huge success in raising campaign funds, McCain said, primary voters will be "judging the candidates on their positions and how they articulate their vision for the future of the country.
"There's been some very wealthy candidates who have not done very well in the past," McCain said. "And I congratulate Gov. Bush on raising money as he has, but I don't believe we're going to have a coronation. We've never had one before, and I don't think we're going to have one this time."