The Cable

John McCain to James Clapper: Sorry for Saying You Wanted to Torture

Sen. McCain just walked back accusations that DNI James Clapper wanted to torture suspects.

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Sen. John McCain isn’t one to shy away from correcting political misconceptions, even if they’re his own. On Monday, two days after accusing Director of National Intelligence James Clapper of wanting to torture terrorist suspects, he walked his comments back.

Earlier, on Saturday, the Arizona Republican, who served five years as a prisoner of war, told an audience at the Aspen Security Forum that he had a “knockdown” fight with Clapper over the use of torture.

It’s not clear why McCain, the Vietnam War POW who has been thrust into the GOP’s 2016 campaign (thanks Donald!), stepped back from his earlier comments. But it’s in character for the longtime lawmaker to correct a misperception: On the campaign trail in 2008, he chastised a woman for suggesting President Barack Obama is “an Arab.”

“I have to tell you. Sen. Obama is a decent person and a person you don’t have to be scared of as president of the United States,” McCain said then at a town hall meeting in Minnesota.

Photo credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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