McCain says he 'misspoke' in blaming
Obama for attacks on Americans
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[June 17, 2016]
By Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senator John
McCain said on Thursday that President Barack Obama was "directly
responsible" for attacks on Americans like the one in Florida because of
policies that contributed to the rise of the Islamic State. But the
Arizona Republican later said he misspoke.
McCain, who is in a tough re-election race, made the comments
after reporters chased him down a marble stairway and into a hallway
of the U.S. Capitol. They asked what he was hearing from
constituents about gun control issues being debated in the Senate
after Sunday's shooting rampage by a gunman who claimed allegiance
to Islamic State militants.
"I'm hearing a lot from my constituents about what happened and of
course I am making them realize that Barack Obama is directly
responsible for it," McCain said.
"Because when he pulled everybody out of Iraq, al Qaeda went to
Syria, became ISIS, and ISIS is what it is today thanks to Barack
Obama’s failures, utter failures," McCain said. "So the
responsibility for it lies with President Barack Obama and his
After media reports began to appear about his comments, McCain, who
lost the White House to Obama in the 2008 presidential election,
posted a clarification on Twitter and then issued a statement that
said he meant to blame Obama's policies, not the president
“I misspoke. I did not mean to imply that the president was
personally responsible. I was referring to President Obama’s
national security decisions, not the president himself," McCain said
in the statement.
Forty-nine people died in the shooting in Orlando, the worst mass
shooting in modern U.S. history. The gunman was U.S.-born Omar
Mateen, 29, whose parents immigrated from Afghanistan.
[to top of second column]
Senator John McCain speaks at the Munich Security Conference in
Munich, Germany, February 14, 2016. REUTERS/Michael Dalder
McCain, 79, faces multiple opponents in a Republican primary race in
August, and some analysts say he is in danger of losing the Senate
seat he has held for three decades.
Earlier this week, presumptive Republican presidential candidate
Donald Trump appeared to suggest Obama may have been complicit in
the Orlando attacks.
"Look, we're led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or
he's got something else in mind," Trump told Fox News. "And the
something else in mind — you know, people can't believe it ...
There's something going on. It's inconceivable. There's something
(Editing by Doina Chiacu and Tom Brown)
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