ABC News’ David Wright reports: Answering a question at the Urban League about his approach to combating crime, John McCain suggested that military strategies currently employed by US troops in Iraq could be applied to high crime neighborhoods here in the US.
McCain at first praised the crime-fighting efforts of Rudolph Giuliani when he was mayor of New York City. Then he down-shifted into an approach that sounded considerably harsher.
McCain called them tactics "somewhat like we use in the military."
"You go into neighborhoods, you clamp down, you provide a secure environment for the people that live there, and you make sure that the known criminals are kept under control," he said. "And you provide them with a stable environment and then they cooperate with law enforcement."
The way he described it, his approach sounded an awful lot like the surge.
Urban League president Marc Morial countered that while New York did experience a drop in crime under Giuliani, there were several major instances of police misconduct.
In response, McCain promised aggressive prosecution of civil rights violations and a Justice Department free from political cronyism.
"U.S. attorneys will be appointed strictly on the basis of qualifications and not political connections," McCain said, a swipe at the Bush Administration Justice Department under Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
ABC News’ Bret Hovell contributed to this report.