ABC News’ Bret Hovell reports: It was, for the majority of the speech, a complex description of his plan for curbing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. But Sen. John McCain was interrupted four times by anti-Iraq war protestors in the first ten minutes of his remarks.
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"This may turn into a longer speech than you had anticipated", McCain said after the third batch of protestors stood up, holding up a white sheet, and shouted about ending the war.
McCain also tried to appeal to a sense of courtesy.
"One thing we don’t do is interfere with other people’s right to free speech," he at one point admonished. "But that doesn’t seem to be the case with these people."
McCain has encountered protestors unhappy with his war stance in the past. Last week, he faced two interruptions during a speech he gave in Chicago. But today’s protests were the most disruptive and the most concentrated since he became the presumptive Republican nominee.
During the third interruption of today’s remarks in Denver, with protestors chanting about ending the war, McCain felt the need to fire back.
"By the way I will never surrender in Iraq," McCain said. "Our American troops will come home with victory and honor."
The remarks were scheduled to be about McCain’s plans for slowing the number of nuclear weapons in the world.
"We do, quite literally, possess the means to destroy all of mankind," McCain said. "We must seek to do all we can to ensure that nuclear weapons will never again be used."
He centered his policy down the middle of the road when it comes to dealing with so-called rogue states like North Korea and Iran, making reference to his likely Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Il, on the one hand, and conservative hawks on the other side, who argue for military intervention.
"Many believe all we need to do to end the nuclear programs of hostile governments is have our president talk with leaders in Pyongyang and Tehran, as if we haven’t tried talking to these governments repeatedly over the past two decades," McCain said, an obvious reference to Obama. "Others think military action alone can achieve our goals, as if military actions were not fraught with their own terrible risks."
"While the use of force may be necessary, it can only be as a last resort not a first step," McCain said, drawing the fourth interruption from a protestor, a single man who stood and shouted his belief that military action was not the last resort in Iraq.
"What about Iraq? That’s a falsehood, sir," the man shouted.