John McCain Apologizes for Calling Rand Paul, Ted Cruz Wacko Birds, Says He Respects Them Both

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 7, 2013, as he leaves a GOP policy meeting. Credit: AP

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been criticized heavily for attacking Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) following Paul’s historic filibuster focused on drone strikes. The senator from Arizona called them “wacko birds” in a previous interview with the Huffington Post.

On Friday, McCain formally apologized, saying it was “inappropriate” to name call after Fox News’ Neil Cavuto asked him about his recent exchanges with Paul and Cruz, both rising stars within the GOP.

“I apologize to them for saying that because I respect them both. I respect what they stand for and what they believe in,” he said. “Sen. Paul in particular, and Sen. Cruz also and others, constitute what I believe is an ongoing debate in this country and in the Republican party in particular about the role of the United States in the world.”

“But,” McCain said, “I believe we live in a very dangerous world. And I think sequestration is outrageous.”

He went on to point out that Paul and Cruz have a “very different view” of the threats facing the United States.

When asked about Paul’s recent remarks at CPAC that “the GOP of old has grown stale and moss-covered,” McCain jokingly attempted to remove the imaginary “moss” from his face.

“Everybody is entitled to their views,” he added. “I’m proud to have served in the House and the Senate under who I think is the greatest president of the 20th century and maybe ranks among the best ever, and that is Ronald Reagan.”

The U.S. should adopt Reagan’s strategy of seeking “peace through strength” and not “tear down the military to meet challenges,” according to McCain.

Watch the interview below via Fox News/Mediaite:

(H/T: Matt Wilstein, Mediaite)

 

Featured image via Getty

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