May 2 2008, 9:59 PM
Republican presidential candidate john McCain is backpeddling tonight on a remark made today in Denver that would seem to have conceded that the war in Iraq is being fought for oil. Speaking at a town meeting at the Mizel Family Cultural Arts Center, the Arizona senator said:
"And I just want to promise you this: My friends, I will have an energy policy, that we will be talking about, which will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East," McCain said. "That will prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East."By the time McCain's plane landed in Phoenix later in the day, he and his handlers were furiously spinning.
"I was talking about that we had fought the first Gulf War for several reasons," McCain said, noting primarily that Iraq had invaded its neighbor Kuwait. "But also we didn't want them to have control over the oil, and that part of the world is critical to us because of our dependency on foreign oil. And it's more important than in any other part of the world." But he did not mention the first Gulf War during his town hall meeting in Denver. His comments then came in the context of a conversation about the latest Iraq struggle, and how his plans for Iraq differ from that of his Democratic opponents, who want to begin withdrawing troops quickly from Iraq.Interestingly, neither the Denver Post or the Rocky Mountain News felt McCain's explosive remark was worth mentioning in their initial coverage of his visit.