The cheerleading here at the Xcel Energy Center this week might cloud the uneasy alliance between Arizona Sen. John McCain and his Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill over the years.
But House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) suggested congressional Republicans are more comfortable with the often-unpredictable McCain following what he believed to be a strong performance at a religious forum earlier this summer, as well as his blistering reaction to the "Soviet invasion of Georgia" and his decision to reverse a long-standing opposition to offshore oil and gas drilling.
Those developments on the presidential campaign trail have put McCain in "an increasingly well-positioned place" with his GOP colleagues, Blunt said
Despite this newfound solidarity, a McCain presidency still presents problems for his congressional colleagues. "It's a challenge," Blunt said.
If he wins, the outspoken senator could either rally Republicans to oppose congressional Democrats or reach across the aisle to broker a truce that would leave GOP lawmakers on the sidelines — and largely irrelevant. That latter scenario "may not have a whole lot to do with us," Blunt said. "We're all just going to figure out how to work with that ... in a way that doesn't destroy the potential to" help each other out.
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