WASHINGTON -- The shy Canadian emerges from the caucus room in a grey summer suit and blinks his basset hound eyes. Dozens of reporters are waiting for him in a hallway of the United States Capitol. We corner the Canuck against an elevator door and press him on this and that.
"Something something the Constitution something the Constitution something something Second Amendment the Constitution the Constitution," I can make out from the back of the scrum.
Our quarry is, in the precise words of fellow Republican John McCain, a "wacko bird."
He is a 42-year-old first-term Tea Party Texan who already has been labelled "a schoolyard bully" on the floor of the Senate, a "first-class pain in the butt" by The Washington Post, and "sort of the Republican latest flavour" by the former governor of New Mexico.
"If standing for liberty and standing for the Constitution makes you a wacko bird, then count me a proud wacko bird," I heard him tell an audience of cheering conservatives in March.