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QUICK TAKE: McCain to GOP: ‘Waterboarding Is Torture’ QUICK TAKE: McCain to GOP: ‘Waterboarding Is Torture’

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Politics / CAMPAIGN 2012

QUICK TAKE: McCain to GOP: ‘Waterboarding Is Torture’

photo of Shane Goldmacher
November 14, 2011

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the 2008 Republican presidential standard-bearer, has taken pains to avoid weighing in on the 2012 GOP primary. But on Sunday, McCain said he was "very disappointed" that some Republicans defended waterboarding at Saturday’s National Journal/CBS debate in South Carolina.

“Waterboarding is torture,” McCain, who was a prisoner of war and tortured during the Vietnam War, said via Twitter.

On Saturday, Herman Cain and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota both endorsed waterboarding as an interrogation technique. President Obama banned its use at the beginning of his term, calling it cruel and counterproductive.

 

“I would return to that policy,” Cain said.

“I would be willing to use waterboarding,” Bachmann added.

On Sunday, Obama said Cain and Bachmann are wrong.

"Waterboarding is torture," the president said from Hawaii. "It's contrary to America's traditions. It's contrary to our ideals."

Two other GOP candidates, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, said at the debate they believe waterboarding is torture.

Correction: An earlier version of this story had the incorrect day Obama made his remarks. He spoke at a news conference in Hawaii on Sunday.

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