McCain Distances Himself From Adviser

From CBS News' Clifden Kennedy:

(Fresno, California) Sen. John McCain distanced himself from controversial comments made by a senior adviser to a magazine Monday. Chief strategist Charlie Black told Fortune Magazine that another terrorist attack on U.S. soil would be a "big advantage to him."

When asked about the remarks at a media avail, a seemingly flat-footed McCain said, "I cannot imagine why he would say it. It's not true. I've worked tirelessly since 9/11 to prevent another attack on the United States of America. My record is very clear. The Armed Services Committee and pieces of legislation. Sponsoring with Joe Lieberman the 9/11 Commission so we could find out the causes and how to fix the challenges that we face to fix the security of our nation. I cannot imagine it. And, uh. So, I would … If he said that, and I do not know the context, I strenuously disagree."

Black later told reporters, "I deeply regret the comments. They were inappropriate. I recognize that John McCain has devoted his entire adult life to protecting his country and placing its security before every other consideration. "

In a statement, Obama spokesperson Bill Burton said, "The fact that John McCain's top adviser says that a terrorist attack on American soil would be a 'big advantage' for their political campaign is a complete disgrace, and is exactly the kind of politics that needs to change."

Earlier Monday, McCain focused mainly on energy at a speech and a town hall at the University of California Fresno. He said that "energy security is the great national challenge of our time," and proposed a $300 million dollar government prize to develop a better battery to power electric cars. He issued a "Clean Car Challenge" to American automakers saying, "For every automaker who can sell a zero-emissions car, we will commit a $5,000 dollar tax credit for each and every customer who buys that car."

Tuesday, McCain attends an environmental briefing at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.