McCain asked about PNAC and 9/11 at town hall

David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Thursday July 10, 2008

During a town hall event in Portsmouth, OH on Wednesday, John McCain was asked by a member of the audience whether his links to the parent organization of the Project for a New American Century explain why he has been reluctant to support calls for a new investigation of 9/11.

The questioner began, "I was curious about a document. Back in September of 2000, the Project for a New American Century, or PNAC, whose members included Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush and Paul Wolfowitz, wrote a document entitled 'Rebuilding Americans Defenses.'"

As McCain turned and paced away from him, the questioner continued, "In it, they state, quote, "The process of transformation, even if it bring revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event like a new Pearl Harbor."

"Now, many Americans believe that that 'new Pearl Harbor' event took place on 9/11," the questioner went on, as McCain grimaced slightly. "And according to a recent New York Times and CBS News poll, 84% of Americans believe that there were some criminal elements of our government involved in 9/11."

Calls of disapproval began to arise from the audience, but the questioner shot back, "Hold on!" and continued asking McCain, "Can you tell us about your role as -- hold on -- as president of the 'New Citizen Project,' founded in 1994, which served as a chief fund-raising and parent organization to PNAC? And is this one of the factors that has made you so reluctant to support the victims' family members and first responders who are begging for a new investigation into 9/11?"

The boos became louder at that point, and McCain grimaced again, turned his back and walked away, but the questioner insisted, "It's a serious question."

"I have a serious answer, sir," McCain replied, "and that is that it was Joe Lieberman and I -- a Democrat -- that sponsored the legislation for the 9/11 Commission. ... And very frankly, the administration was not, shall I say, enthusiastic about the establishment of that commission. ... I am proud of what the 9/11 Commission did. I am proud that we have enacted many of the reforms ... that they recommended. And I will stand by their recommendations and their conclusions, as will the overwhelming majority of Americans."

"It's a free country," McCain concluded. "You are free to disagree with their conclusions. But I am proud to have been one of those who was, along with Joe Lieberman, responsible for the establishment of the 9/11 Commission."

This video is from, broadcast July 9, 2008.

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