[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/11/18/mccain.future/art.mccain.gi.jpg caption="Sen. John McCain is looking forward to returning to the Senate full time, aides say."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Two weeks after losing his bid for the presidency in an electoral landslide, Sen. John McCain is beginning the thorny transition back to life out of the spotlight as he weighs his future role in the Senate.
Aides say McCain is looking forward to returning to the chamber full-time after a nearly two-year hiatus.
But the road from Republican Party standard-bearer to merely one of a hundred senators can be a bumpy one, political observers say, especially since the Arizona senator is without a leadership position as his party faces its slimmest minority in the chamber in nearly three decades.
McCain's return to a lower profile is made more precarious by the fact that he has to grapple with a stinging public rejection and ongoing criticism from some Republicans who say his campaign was mismanaged. Other Republicans have said it was downright incompetent.