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Cindy McCain Stands by Her Husband

Cindy McCain sat quietly alone in a gallery reserved for members' families above the Senate floor, watching her husband edge closer to victory after years of battling to get his colleagues to change the way they raise money to keep their jobs. 

Hours later, she stood in the background in a TV studio as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Vietnam War hero and failed presidential contender, savored a 57-43 vote that was the last major hurdle to Senate passage of his bill to impose new campaign fund-raising restrictions.

Campaign finance ``has been six years of work for my husband. And it's not only work, but it's something he has really believed in,'' she said in an interview. ``I wanted to see it come to an end, or what seems to be an end. I obviously feel great.''

The daughter of an Arizona beer distributor, Cindy McCain has been at her husband's side a lot recently. A year ago she was there when he abandoned a surprisingly strong primary challenge to the GOP presidential nomination of George W. Bush that had been ordained by party elders.

She was also there almost every day of the campaign, saying her ``first and foremost role is to protect my husband.''

After two weeks of Senate debate on the campaign finance bill, she said Thursday evening that her wish was to take her husband and ``go home tomorrow.''

She called reports of a rivalry between her husband and President Bush ``unfounded and silly'' despite their differences over tax cuts and patients' rights in addition to how political campaigns should be financed.

``I know my husband has a good relationship with the president,'' Mrs. McCain said. ``Mrs. Bush and I are friends. There is no rivalry.''