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McCain Clarifies Comments On Bridge Collapse


From CBS News' Andante Higgins:

John McCain is having to clarify comments he made yesterday about the Minneapolis bridge collapse after Minnesota governor – and possible McCain running mate – Tim Pawlenty said judgment should be reserved on the cause of the collapse until the investigation is completed.

"The bridge in Minneapolis didn't collapse because there wasn't enough money," McCain said yesterday. "The bridge in Minneapolis collapsed because so much money was spent on wasteful, unnecessary pork-barrel projects."

Today, though, he clarified those statements. "I said it would have received a higher priority, which it deserved," McCain explained. "When you divert money to projects that are unneeded and unwanted, any project that is deserved is not going to receive the funding that's necessary. And I will maintain again that I believe that when you fund a bridge to Alaska or you fund a highway in Florida that the people there don't even want, then money is diverted from much needed projects."

Pawlenty said he called the McCain campaign to remind them that the National Transportation Safety Board had not yet completed their report about the collapse. But McCain still maintained that pork-barrel spending could have contributed to the problem. "Can I guarantee that it would have gone to the bridge in Minneapolis? No," McCain said. "Do I know specifically whether it would have repaired the bridge in Minneapolis? No. But I know funding would have been available for higher priority projects."

McCain also reminded people of his "gas tax holiday" proposal on the trail in Ohio today. He acknowledges that the proposal doesn't address America's dependence on foreign oil, but says Americans can use a break. "I called for and asked for a little relief for this summer between Memorial Day to Labor Day," he said. "You would have thought it would have been the end of western civilization as we know it," McCain added describing the reaction from economists.