ABC News’ Jennifer Parker and Bret Hovell Report: Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain decided against delivering a scathing rebuke of Sen. Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy during a scheduled speech Wednesday to a group of middle-school and high-school aged cadets at a South Carolina military academy.
McCain’s speech focused on the importance of service to the country — a clear departure from prepared remarks McCain staffers gave to the the Associated Press Tuesday that included a scathing critique of Clinton’s position on the war in Iraq.
"The Democratic front-runner wants to have it both ways when it comes to foreign policy," McCain’s prepared remarks read. "On the one hand, the New York senator voted for the Iraq War. On the other hand, she now opposes it sort of."
McCain’s remarks continued "Senator Clinton, this is not the ’90s. 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."
However, McCain’s speech Wednesday didn’t talk about Clinton. Afterwards, McCain told ABC News he decided not to deliver his prepared remarks because he wanted to motivate the young men to serve the country.
"I did not give prepared remarks today because I talked to Col. Boland and some of the other members here at Camden and I thought the appropriate remarks were to talk to these young people about service to country, about the challenge they face as future members of the military, and about the importance of our code of conduct and our standards of integrity which have guided me and our military leaders throughout our military history," McCain said.
McCain spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said McCain made the decision not to use his prepared remarks on Wednesday morning, noting McCain decided the military academy was not the right venue for the prepared remarks.
She said the last-minute change shows the senator is running his own campaign.
The senator said "I don’t know" when asked whether he would deliver the remarks rebuking Clinton in the future.
"We change our remarks around," McCain said.