CAMDEN, S.C. – Republican presidential candidate John McCain has decided not to assail Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton for her stance on the Iraq War in a speech Wednesday at a military prep school.
On Tuesday, McCain's campaign released excerpts of his speech at Camden Military Academy in which the Arizona senator accuses Clinton of indecisiveness, arguing that won't work for a post-Sept. 11 commander in chief.
"The Democratic front-runner wants to have it both ways when it comes to foreign policy. On the one hand, the New York senator voted for the Iraq War. On the other hand, she now opposes it — sort of," McCain says in the prepared remarks.
"On the one hand, she wants a firm deadline for retreat. But, on the other hand, she says we cannot abandon the nation to Iran's designs," the speech says.
"Senator Clinton, this is not the '90s," McCain says. "This is the post-September 11 world. The commander in chief does not enjoy the luxury to conduct our national security by means of triangulation."
McCain decided Wednesday not to deliver those remarks, said Brooke Buchanan, McCain's spokeswoman.
"It has nothing to do with the content of the speech. It has to do with the with the venue," Buchanan said. "This isn't the appropriate venue for that."
Camden Military Academy is for students grades 7 to 12.
Late Tuesday, McCain said he had not yet seen the remarks. "But I will look at them very carefully," he said.
Buchanan said while McCain had not seen the language in the speech about Clinton, he still planned to deliver the critique. She said Wednesday that he would not.
On Tuesday, the Clinton campaign said the two senators, both members of the Armed Services Committee, "have an honest disagreement on the war."
"Senator McCain is the Senate's biggest supporter of President Bush's escalation there. Senator Clinton wants to end the war and when she is president she will," Zac Wright, Clinton's South Carolina spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement.