DES MOINES, Iowa — Late Senator John McCain was a long time United States Senator and a two – time presidential candidate. During his campaigns, he made his away across the state making his mark on Iowans but long before his presidential bid, Iowa made a mark on him.
“He had a great sense of humor and a great temper, but I liked his humor better,” David Roederer laughs.
Roederer served as the Iowa State Chair of McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. He traveled hundreds of miles across the state with the Senator who fell in love with Iowa and the Iowa State Fair.
“He said, Dave can we see the big boar?” Roederer promised McCain he could see anything he wanted on the fairgrounds.
He first became especially fond of Iowans, in the unlikeliest of places, a prisoner of war camp. McCain often said he owed his life to Colonel George “Bud” Day of Sioux City, who helped nurse him back to health.
“He said Bud Day was one of the most incredible individuals he`s met in his entire life,” says Roederer. “He said it was because of his Iowa upbringing and good decency.”
Since his service in Vietnam, Roederer says the senator became a symbol to Vietnam veterans and their families as well as a respectable politician to fellow lawmakers despite differing opinions.
“While he was looked at as a maverick he didn`t really see himself as that. He looked at himself as trying to do what he thought was best.”
While many grieve the loss of McCain now, Roederer says the impact of his legacy will likely be felt years from now.
“I think it will be a matter of time just like anything else. How is history going to look at somebody? You won’t know for many years.”