McCain says he prefers 'great American' over maverick or partisan labels

Sen. John McCainJohn McCainMarines reignite debate on women in combat Gun-control supporters plan next steps versus NRA Report: Prominent neoconservative to fundraise for Clinton MORE (R-Ariz.) said he wasn't picking sides between "maverick" and "partisan" in response to his primary fight against former Rep. J.D. Hayworth.

When asked on "Fox News Sunday" whether he'd gone from his maverick stance toward a position further on the right, McCain said, "Now that I'm fighting against this administration... then I'm a partisan. But I'm a fighter and that's what I am."

"...I prefer 'great American' myself," the 2008 presidential candidate quipped.

McCain said he passed the "litmus test" of being a true conservative over Hayworth because of his opposition to earmarks and pork-barrel spending.

"I enjoy the race, I love a campaign and I'm confident of victory," he said.

McCain said while the anger against incumbents expressed at Tea Parties and the like was a serious reason for Washington to be concerned, he didn't believe that anger would affect his re-election effort.

"No, I don't worry about it," he said. "I know I can outcampaign anybody."

More in Senate races

GOP senators split over Cruz's aid on campaign trail

Read more »