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NYT: Senators Clinton, McCain held 'vodka-drinking contest' during congressional trip to Estonia two summers ago

Published: Friday July 28, 2006

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On a congressional delegation trip to Estonia in August of 2004, Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and John McCain (R-AZ) held a "vodka-drinking contest," according to an article slated for Saturday's edition of The New York Times.

"Two summers ago, on a congressional trip to Estonia, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton astonished her traveling companions by suggesting the group do what one does in the Baltics: hold a vodka-drinking contest," reports Anne E. Kornblut for The Times.

"Delighted, the leader of the overseas delegation, Sen. John McCain, quickly agreed," Kornblut continues.

"The after-dinner game went so well — memories are a bit hazy on who drank how much — that Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican, later told people how unexpectedly engaging he found Mrs. Clinton to be," Kornblut reports. "'One of the guys,' was the way he described Mrs. Clinton, a New York Democrat, to some Republican colleagues."

"What happens in Estonia stays in Estonia," a Clinton spokesman tells The Times.

The 2004 delegation also included Senator John Sununu (R-NH), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and was scheduled to meet with Estonia's Prime Minister Juhan Parts, Foreign Minister Kristiina Ojuland and Defence Minister Margus Hanson to "focus on the further development of bilateral relations as well as the partnership of the two countries in international organizations," according to the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Website.

Excerpts from the Times story:


Mrs. Clinton and Mr. McCain went on to develop an amiable if professionally calculated relationship. They took more official trips together, including to Iraq. They worked together on the Senate Armed Services Committee and on the issue of global warming. They made a joint appearance last year on “Meet the Press,” interacting so congenially that the moderator, Tim Russert, joked about their forming a “fusion ticket.”

Politics being what it is, there is more friction than fusion. As the 2008 presidential campaign begins to take shape, with Mr. McCain and Mrs. Clinton at the top of the polls for their parties’ nominations, they are increasingly underscoring their differences on issues like the war in Iraq and port security. Advisers to Mr. McCain have put a stop to his inviting Mrs. Clinton on trips.