John McCain said Thursday that he believed five years ago that the "Mission Accomplished' banner was wrong.
"To state the obvious, I thought it was wrong at the time," said McCain. "I thought phrases like 'a few dead-enders,' 'last throes,' all of those comments contributed over time to the frustration and sorrow of Americans because those statements and comments did not comport with the facts on the ground."
The veracity of McCain's claim about how he felt regarding the banner, which appeared behind President Bush on the deck of the USS Lincoln on May 1, 2003, was challenged Thursday when the Democratic National Committee unearthed video of McCain talking approvingly of the banner in a June 11, 2003 Fox News interview.
In that interview, McCain pointed to the banner to bolster his contention that major conflict had ended in Iraq and that it was appropriate for the Senate Armed Services Committee to hold post-conflict hearings.
"Then why was there a banner that said mission accomplished on the aircraft carrier?" McCain asked Neil Cavuto after the Fox News Channel anchor said "many argue the conflict isn't over."
McCain went on to say in his 2003 interview that reconstruction of Iraq would be a "long, long, difficult process" while maintaining that the "the major conflict is over, the regime change has been accomplished" and that it's "very appropriate" for the Senate Armed Services Committee to hold post-conflict hearings.
"I remain confident that we will find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," he added.
Watch today's comments here.
Watch the 2003 comments here.
Hillary Clinton on "Nightline"
The woman whose remarks the Iranian government considers "provocative, unwarranted, and irresponsible" appears Thursday evening on Nightline.
Hillary Clinton talks to Nightline's Cynthia McFadden about the Iranian government's criticism, her intention to "get to those June contests," and whether Abraham Lincoln is really her idea of a dream date.
She also explains why she doesn't think Bill Clinton will have an office in the White House.
"I gave up everything when I went into the White House, you know, 15 years ago," she said. "But he has a lot of very important projects around the world that he's going to keep working on."
On Sunday May 4, George Stephanopoulos will anchor a special edition of "This Week" from Indianapolis, Ind., with Hillary Clinton.
Two days before the crucial Indiana and North Carolina primaries, the former first lady will take questions from Stephanopoulos as well as from voters in studio in Indianapolis and others via satellite from North Carolina.
Clinton's appearance on "This Week" occurs opposite Barack Obama's appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press."
McCain Picks His Convention Manager:
Politico's Jonathan Martin reported Thursday that McCain's campaign has selected DCI's Doug Goodyear, a veteran Republican public relations executive, to help run the Republican convention in September, according to GOP sources familiar with the decision.
The RNC announced that Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., will chair the platform committee and Steve Duffield, a former top aide to Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., will serve as executive director.
Grover's VP Pick Talks to Pres Club:
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) speaks Friday to the National Press Club at 12:00 pm ET.
Per ABC's Kate McCarthy, Jindal will give a speech on "Bold Reform that Works."