Current John McCain's (R) supporters are Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) and former Senators Trent Lott (R-MS) and Don Nickles (R-OK):
Those Whispers About McCainA smear campaign of the ugliest sort is now coursing through the contest for the presidency in 2000. Using the code word "temper," a group of Senate Republicans, and at least some outriders of the George W. Bush campaign, are spreading the word that John McCain is unstable. The subtext, also suggested in this whispering campaign, is that he returned from 5 1/2 years as a POW in North Vietnam with a loose screw. And it is bruited about that he shouldn't be entrusted with nuclear weapons.
Elizabeth Drew, The Washington Post
November 19, 1999
There has of course been rumor-mongering in previous presidential campaigns: that so-and-so is cheating on his wife, that someone's wife or husband has shady relations or business practices. In 1988 the Republicans (including President Reagan) fanned a rumor that Michael Dukakis had mental problems, but that collapsed quickly of its own weightlessness. But nothing as nasty as what's being rumored about McCain has occurred in a very long time.
Among the members of a small group of Republican senators, and sometimes their staff, participating in this whispering campaign are Majority Leader Trent Lott; Majority Whip Don Nickles; Paul Coverdell, secretary of the Senate Republican Conference; and Utah Sen. Robert Bennett. They have let it be known that they won't come forward and say these things openly, out of deference to McCain. How thoughtful of them. (This will of course be met with denials.)