Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller apologized for suggesting Republican Sen. John McCain doesn't care about people because he was a Navy fighter pilot who dropped bombs on Vietnam.
Rockefeller supports fellow Democratic Sen. Barack Obama for president. He made the comments in an interview published Tuesday in The Charleston Gazette in his home state of West Virginia.
"McCain was a fighter pilot, who dropped laser-guided missiles from 35,000 feet. He was long gone when they hit. What happened when they (the missiles) get to the ground? He doesn't know. You have to care about the lives of people. McCain never gets into those issues," Rockefeller said.
He said he called McCain to apologize.
"I made an inaccurate and wrong analogy, and I have extended my sincere apology to him," Rockefeller said in a statement. "While we differ a great deal on policy issues, I profoundly respect and appreciate his dedication to our country, and I regret my very poor choice of words."
The McCain campaign called on Obama to condemn Rockefeller's words. "Why does Senator Obama refuse to personally condemn this type of despicable attack?" spokesman Tucker Bounds asked.
Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said Obama disagrees with Rockefeller.
"Senator Obama has a deep respect for Senator McCain's service to this country and doesn't agree with what Senator Rockefeller said," Vietor said.
McCain was shot down during the Vietnam War and spent nearly six years as a prisoner of war.
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