In an extended interview on "Fox News Sunday" that included a cantankerous response to Robert Gates' leaked memo on Iran, McCain attempted to parry questions from host Chris Wallace about the maverick issue. Rather than answer Wallace's questions directly, McCain offered a new moniker for himself: "fighter."
What I was saying was that I have considered myself a person who's a fighter. I wouldn't be around today if I wasn't a fighter. I fight for the things that I believe in, and sometimes that's called a maverick, sometimes that's called a partisan, and people can draw their own conclusions. I prefer "Great American" myself.