The Aspen Institute Hurst Lecture Series Presents A Conversation with Senator John McCain

August 12, 2013

Contact: Cristal Logan
Director, Aspen Community Programs
The Aspen Institute
Tel. 970-544-7929

The Aspen Institute Hurst Lecture Series Presents A Conversation with Senator John McCain

Aspen, CO, August 12, 2013 –– The Aspen Institute Hurst Lecture Series welcomes Senator John McCain in conversation with Elliot Gerson, executive vice president of the Aspen Institute. The event will take place from 4:00 – 5:00 PM on August 14, 2013 in the Greenwald Pavilion on the Institute’s Aspen Meadows campus in Aspen, CO. Tickets are $20 each and are on sale through Aspen Show Tickets at the Wheeler Opera House. As a full-capacity audience is expected for this program, early ticket purchasing is encouraged. Doors will open 45 minutes prior to the start of the event, and unclaimed tickets will be on sale at the door.

John McCain is the senior United States Senator from Arizona, and was the Republican presidential nominee in the 2008 United States election. Senator McCain followed his father and grandfather, both four-star admirals, into the United States Navy, graduating from the US Naval Academy in 1958. He became a naval aviator, flying ground-attack aircraft from aircraft carriers. During the Vietnam War, he was almost killed in the 1967 USS Forrestal fire. In October 1967, while on a bombing mission over Hanoi, he was shot down, seriously injured, and captured by the North Vietnamese. He was a prisoner of war until 1973. Senator McCain experienced episodes of torture, and refused an out-of-sequence early repatriation offer. His war wounds left him with lifelong physical limitations.

He retired from the Navy as a captain in 1981 and moved to Arizona, where he entered politics. Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982, he served two terms, and was then elected to the US Senate in 1986, winning re-election easily four times, most recently in 2010. While generally adhering to conservative principles, Senator McCain at times has had a media reputation as a “maverick” for his willingness to disagree with his party on certain issues. After being investigated and largely exonerated in a political influence scandal of the 1980s as a member of the Keating Five, he made campaign finance reform one of his signature concerns, which eventually led to the passage of the McCain-Feingold Act in 2002. He is also known for his work towards restoring diplomatic relations with Vietnam in the 1990s, and for his belief that the war in Iraq should be fought to a successful conclusion. Senator McCain has chaired the Senate Commerce Committee, opposed spending that he considered to be pork barrel, and played a key role in alleviating a crisis over judicial nominations.

Senator McCain ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000 but lost a heated primary season contest to George W. Bush. He secured the nomination in 2008 after coming back from early reversals, but lost to Democratic candidate Barack Obama in the general election. He subsequently adopted more orthodox conservative stances and attitudes and largely opposed actions of the Obama administration. By 2013, however, he had become a key figure in the Senate for negotiating deals on certain issues in an otherwise partisan environment.

Tickets to the event can be purchased in person at the Wheeler Opera House, online at, or by calling 970-920-5770. For more information on the Aspen Institute Hurst Lecture Series and other events open to the public, please call the information line at 970-544-7970, or visit the Institute’s website at

NOTE: Event details subject to change.  Please visit for updates or call our events hotline at 970-544-7970.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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