Kall: You say in here that "John has an infamous reputation for being a hothead. He has a quick and explosive temper that many have experienced firsthand. This is not the finger I want next to that red button." So you've observed his temper?
Butler: Oh yeah, oh yeah, living across the hall from him for a year. He was very explosive. There was always a lot of loud noise and arguments and crashing and banging over in his room and splitting with his roommate and yelling and screaming in the hallway. But that was then. And after that, in the Senate, you know, the stories are legion from his fellow Senators and other people who have contact with him of how he can burst into a rage with profanity. If you disagree with him, he takes it straight to his ego. And he has a hair-trigger temper, which is just not good for a president of the United States.
Kall: Sounds like it would not make it easy for somebody, an advisor, to come to him with the truth and give straight counsel.
Butler: That's right.
Kall: He may be a straight talker himself, but he sounds like he doesn't tolerate it very well.
Butler: Well, that's my fear, and that's one of the reasons I won't vote for John McCain for president of the United States.
Kall: Now, you said that you heard noises. Did he throw things?
Butler: Well, yeah. We'd hear loud noises across the wall and we'd hear yelling, and then the two roommates would erupt, and usually the other one -- Frank Gamboa was the guy's name -- would run down the hallway and go to another room. And they'd separate for a while, and they'd make up and get back together. I think Gamboa must have been an incredibly tolerant guy to put up with John McCain as a roommate for those years.
Kall: Is he still around?
Butler: He is. I understand that Gamboa is around. He's a wonderful guy, also.
Kall: I'm curious -- I wasn't sure I got an exact number. About how many prisoners were with you and McCain in the Hanoi Hilton where you were?
Butler: We were moved around a lot. This was a fluid situation. I started off in solitary confinement, and then after six months or so I had a cellmate and we lived together for a while. And then we had two more cellmates, and this thing, you know -- but the Vietnamese always kept us separated. They would punish you, beat you, starve you for trying to communicate with another cell, because they wanted to separate and dominate to get political propaganda. So you were separated from other cells, and even when we were in a cell with 40 other guys, they still tried to keep us separated from other cells of 40 guys.
And the other thing they did was that they separated us by when we came in. So if I was a'65 shoot-down, they didn't want to put me with somebody from '67 or '68 because it would help my morale to know more about what was going on back home.
Kall: Wow. So did john have roommates or was everybody kept totally separated from each other?
Butler: No, like I said, as time went on we had roommates and he had roommates; I think he had one or two in the beginning and later on like the rest of us he had more roommates, in the end he had 40 or 50 roommates.
Kall: Have any of the other Prisoners of War who were with John McCain spoken up?