McCain Answers Clinton's 3 a.m. Question

(CBS)
From CBS News' Dante Higgins:

PHOENIX -- At a press conference in Phoenix today, John McCain chimed in on the ad warthat Democratic presidential candidates fought over the weekend on who is best qualified to handle a crisis.

"I look forward to having that debate as to who is most qualified in the event of a national crisis and the phone ringing at 3 a.m. in the White House," he said in reference to the commercial Hillary Clinton released last week which jabbed at Barack Obama for his lack of experience.

"If the phone rang at 3 a.m. in the White House and I was the one to answer it, I would be the one most qualified to exercise the kind of judgment necessary to address a national security crisis," he said.

"I've been involved in every major national security challenge for the last 20 years that has faced this country and sometimes I've agreed with the admin and sometimes I have not but I'll rely on my record and my knowledge and my experience on national security issues and I'll match up with them on any opportunity."

Also today, McCain called Russia's election yesterday "a tragedy of history."

"Yesterday we saw what is unfortunately yet another step away from democracy in Russia," he said in a written statement.

"It is a tragedy of history that at this moment, when the democratic tide has reached more nations than ever before, the Russian people who rose in unison in 1991 to end totalitarian rule backed by a pervasive and cruel KGB would, after less than two decades, be again deprived of the opportunity to choose their leaders in a free and open contest."

Today he told reporters that he thinks Russia is moving back in time instead of forward.

"We all knew, the protégé of Vladimir Putin was selected. The new president Medvedev it is obviously an election that would not pass the smell test in any functioning democracy. It's unfortunate that the people of Russia now seem to be going back to the days that they did not have the right to protect, to they have the right to free elections, and even a free society. These elections were clearly rigged, the opposition was repressed. And it's unfortunate," he said.

McCain was asked how he would deal with Russia if elected president. "I think that I would stand up to the Russians very strongly in this respect, that I don't think that they should attend G8 meetings, because the G8 is based on membership of countries that believe in free and open economies, free and open societies and free and fair elections and I don't think they should be included in the next G8 meeting," he said.
  • Andante Higgins

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