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McCain Campaign Condemns Backer's Obama Remarks

Updated 5:45 p.m.
By Michael D. Shear and Peter Slevin
A spokeswoman for Sen. John McCain today condemned comments by Iowa Rep. Steve King (R), who on Friday said terrorists would be "dancing in the streets" if Barack Obama is elected president.

"The Senator rejects the type of politics that degrades our civics and this campaign will be about the future of our country," Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker said. "[Sen.] McCain could not be clearer on how he views these types of comments and obviously that view extends to Congressman King's statement."

King, a three-term Republican, made the remarks to a radio station Friday as he announced his bid for another term in the House of Representatives.

"I don't want to disparage anyone because of their race," King told listeners of KICD, "their ethnicity, their name - whatever their religion their father might have been. I'll just say this: When you think about the optics of a Barack Obama potentially getting elected President of the United States -- I mean, what does this look like to the rest of the world? What does it look like to the world of Islam?"

King then said "I will tell you that, if he is elected president, then the radical Islamists, the al-Qaeda, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they will declare victory in this War on Terror."

King was an supporter of former senator Fred Thompson before the Iowa caucuses.

During a campaign stop in Columbus, Miss., Obama said King's comments were more about self-promotion than substance.

"I have to say that Mr. King and individuals like him thrive on offensive or controversial statements as a way to get in the papers, so I don't take it too seriously," Obama told reporters at The Little Dooey restaurant.

"I think that Mr. King has it backwards," Obama went on. "The fact that the continuation of a presence in Iraq -- as Senator McCain has suggested -- is exactly what, I think, will fan the flames of anti-American sentiment and make it more difficult for us to create a long-term and sustainable peace in the world."

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 10, 2008; 5:32 PM ET
 
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