This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," April 9, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, CO-HOST: Well, Senator John McCain on the road today, raising money in Connecticut, after a day yesterday on the Hill listening to General David Petraeus' Iraq war testimony.

Earlier, I had a chance to catch up with the senator to talk about Iraq, the Olympics, and the possible boycott of the opening ceremonies, and his possible vice presidential picks.

Here's what he had to say when I asked him if there is a woman on his list of possible running mates.

• Video: Watch the interview


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, 2008 GOP NOMINEE: I won't discuss the list but I'm proud that our Republican Party has many highly qualified women who I think have served in any capacity. Condi Rice is certainly right up there amongst them. And I think that that's a good thing for our party and our nation.

KELLY: In meantime, Senator, one of the things in the news today is, of course, the Olympic torch going through San Francisco and we've seen all sorts of protests and demonstrations on this throughout the world. Hillary Clinton is calling for President Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies at the games. What's your position on it?

MCCAIN: I think the president will evaluate this situation as it evolves and see what the Chinese do in response to, perhaps, granting more autonomy, perhaps getting into conversations with the Dalai Lama, who is not only and we all know is a world figure. So, I think, the president ought to keep his options open here and decide as we see the situation as it's evolving.

All of us condemn the brutal repression that the Chinese inflicted upon Tibetans and protesters. And we're very concerned about it. So, if I were him, I'd keep all my options open.

KELLY: One other question for you, senator. There's been some buzz on the Internet criticizing you and not just on the Internet but in the print media, for confusing the Sunnis and the Shia when you were Iraq and making a comment. And then, others suggested that you got confused about that again yesterday when you were questioning General Petraeus. Do you understand the difference between Sunni and Shia and how would you like to respond to those who claim you don't?

MCCAIN: I've been to Iraq eight times. I know the leaders, I know the situation on the ground, I know that Sunni and al Qaeda are closely tied. The question I was asking and the question that needs to be asked is, how widespread is al Qaeda's influence in the region, as well as in Iraq.

And I believe that al Qaeda does a lot of things, including with organizations and parts of the populations that are not necessarily just Sunni. And there are those that have alleged that al Qaeda is no longer a threat, that they are just a sect and a part of the Iraqi landscape. And I wanted to make sure that General Petraeus is on record as saying that al Qaeda continues to be a significant threat.


KELLY: Well, Senator McCain says that he would put his Iraq credentials to the test challenging anyone with the same experience as he has.

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