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John McCain Pals Around the Mideast

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 7:55 p.m. | Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is off on a whirlwind tour of the post-Arab Spring Middle East, hobnobbing with high-profile Egyptian pols — save for one protocol-abiding party pooper.

McCain spent today in Israel but dedicated his Presidents Day holiday to getting to know some of the elected officials tasked with righting Egypt’s ship of state in the wake of ex-President Hosni Mubarak’s stunning removal from power.

McCain shared pics and thoughts from his overseas adventures via Twitter, name-checking Saad El-Katatni, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and newly elected speaker of the Egyptian Parliament; Khairat El-Shater, another MB leader; and Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, commander in chief of the Egyptian army, as key additions to his personal Rolodex.

One man he likely won’t have on speed dial is Mohamed Abu Hamed Shaheen, a stickler who vociferously passed on getting together:

“I declined 2meet wSenator John McCain at 4 seasons today at 6.30pm.Any foreign politician wanting 2 meet w MP should do so inside parliament,” Shaheen informed his Twitter faithful.

Granted, we’ve never been inside the Egyptian Parliament. But we hear the Four Seasons is pretty sweet. …

  Updated: 7:55 p.m.

Shaheen assured HOH that he bears no animosity toward McCain or the Four Seasons. But he is determined to avoid giving the opposition party any political ammunition.

“Any meetings with foreign politicians, if not done in the proper venue, will raise question marks,” Shaheen suggested. “I am in a liberal opposition movement, and this puts me in a sensitive position, hence meeting with any foreign politicians will put me under attack by the Islamic political force and can be abused by them.”

Here’s hoping Shaheen and his countrymen soon reach the ever-tolerant, nonpartisan state of enlightenment demonstrated by the current U.S. Congress.

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