Obama friend or foe? McCain charts his course

By DONNA CASSATA | March 11, 2013 | 2:29 PM EDT

FILE - In this March 7, 2013 file photo, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington. Republican McCain is a walking contradiction, assailing President Barack Obama over Libya and Syria one minute, cooperating with him the next on immigration and the budget. As friend or foe, the five-term Arizona senator _ his party’s presidential candidate in 2008 _ is giving Washington whiplash. He insists he's consistent. Whatever the issue, McCain is involved in nearly every hot topic. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. John McCain is a walking contradiction.

One minute he's antagonizing President Barack Obama over foreign policy. The next he's cooperating with the Democrat on immigration and the budget.

So who is the real McCain? Is he friend or foe?

The two-time presidential candidate and five-term senator says he's been consistent all along. He dismisses the short-hand interpretations that label him a brave maverick or grumpy old man as missing the mark.

He insists that he's not bitter or angry. He says he's had a full life.

Either way, McCain is front and center now as immigration, the budget and national security fill the agenda for both Obama and Congress. This could be McCain's last term and he's involved in nearly every issue.