Meghan McCain Blasts Rick Santorum for Questioning John McCain on ‘Torture’

May 18, 2011 12:47pm

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer (@devindwyer) reports:  Meghan McCain, the daughter of Republican Sen. John McCain, may not agree with all of her father’s political views, but one she shares is his belief that waterboarding is torture and that it didn’t help track down Osama bin Laden. 

Ms. McCain waded into the war of words over the value of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” late Tuesday after her dad came under fire from some members of his own party. 

Likely GOP presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said this week that Sen. McCain, who was himself tortured during the Vietnam War, “doesn’t understand how enhanced interrogation works.” 

“I mean, you break somebody, and after they’re broken, they become cooperative,” Santorum said of the effort to glean intelligence from Khalid Sheik Mohammed on the name of bin Laden’s courier. “And that’s when we got this information.”

The comments drew sharp rebuttal from Meghan McCain who tweeted, “Rick Santorum telling my father doesn’t know about torture is like Carrot Top telling Lebron James he doesn’t know about basketball.”   (She later said she meant no offense to Carrot Top, a red-headed comedian.) 

Last week, McCain delivered an impassioned speech on the Senate floor and penned an op-ed in the Washington Post arguing, “It was not torture, or cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of detainees that got us the major leads that ultimately enabled our intelligence community to find Osama Bin Laden.”

“In my personal experience,” he said in his speech. “The abuse of prisoners sometimes produces good intelligence, but often produces bad intelligence because under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear –- whether it is true or false –- if he believes it will relieve his suffering.”

Santorum issued a statement today clarifying that while he disagrees with McCain on the effectiveness of the techniques and whether they amount to torture, he never intended to question McCain’s military service.  

“For anyone to infer my disagreement with Senator McCain’s policy position lessens my respect for his service to our country and all he had to endure is outrageous and unfortunate,” Santorum said. 

When asked for a response to Santorum by the Washington Post, McCain spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan responded, “Who?”

Former McCain aide Mark Salter was less discrete, heaping sharp criticism of Santorum on his Facebook page: “Ron Paul may be the wackiest candidate in the GOP field. But for pure, blind stupidity, nobody beats Santorum,” he wrote. “In my 20 years in the Senate, I never met a dumber member, which he reminded me of today.” 

 

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