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McCain Defends Stance On Confederate Flag In S.C.

John McCain's losing 2000 campaign in South Carolina continues to follow him as he travels the state this time around.

At multiple events today in the state, protesters waved Confederate flags and passed out flyers as the candidate's bus arrived -- and one of the protesters asked the senator a question at an event, the Associated Press reports.

The protesters were against McCain's call in April 2000 (after the primary) for the flag to be removed from the top of the statehouse -- even though he sidestepped the question during his primary battle with George W. Bush. At the time, he said not taking the stance during the campaign was a "sacrifice of principle for personal ambition."

In an interview from a few months ago with Katie Couric that airs tonight on the CBS Evening News as part of the Primary Questions series, McCain also stood by his stance and called it the "worst advice" he had ever given himself.

"Probably the worst piece of advice I've ever given to myself was when the Confederate flag was flying over the state capitol in South Carolina," he said. "And I decided that I would say it's not an issue I should be involved in, that it should be decided by the people of the state of South Carolina. I knew it was a symbol that was offensive to so many people. And afterwards, I went back and apologized. But it was needless to say, by saying that I wouldn't have anything to do with an issue like that was an act of cowardice."

At the event today, after one of the questioners said he thought taking down the flag was wrong, McCain responded by saying he "could not be more proud of the majority of the people of this state'' who agreed the flag should be removed, according to the AP. He later told reporters, "I believe the issue has been resolved in the minds of the overwhelming majority of the people of South Carolina."

The McCain campaign is aggressively going after any negative attacks on the senator, trying its hardest not to have a repeat of 2000. Although he leads in polls following his New Hampshire win, he still has many critics in the state.

  • Read the other candidates' responses to the question on the worst advice they have ever given or received.>
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