McCain Reloaded

By Lindsey Ellerson

Oct 23, 2007 5:48pm

ABC News’ Bret Hovell Reports: Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., is known for shooting from the hip and during a campaign stop on Tuesday, he made it clear who he’ll be aiming at.

McCain spoke to employees of Thompson Center Arms, a manufacturer of hunting rifles in Rochester, New Hampshire, after taking a tour of their plant.

Speaking about Osama bin Laden, McCain reprised a line he has used in the past and added a new twist for his audience.

"As president of the United States, I’ll follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of Hell," McCain said, repeating a line he first unveiled during a Republican debate in May. He added, with a chuckle, "And I’ll shoot him with one of your products."

The crowd cheered and applauded the endorsement, but, in a sign of how careful candidates are being with what they say, the Senator quickly clarified his remark to make it clear he was joking.

"Only, after he receives justice…" McCain said.  "I joke around a little bit, but the fact is that this is an evil, and unfortunately that evil has spread to places that we never thought it would spread to."

Speaking to reporters after the event, McCain again reiterated that it was unlikely he’d actually get to pull the trigger on bin Laden.

"I want to repeat again, I would not shoot him myself," he said. "I would do everything in my power to track the guy down and bring him to justice."

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