(CNN) - John McCain backtracked Monday from his earlier comment that he could lose the presidential race over the Iraq war.
On Monday morning, McCain had told reporters that if he can't convince the American people the United States is succeeding, "then I lose. I lose," according to the Associated Press.
"We quickly retracted that," McCain later said of the comment. "I was not allowed to retract it, obviously. I don't mean that I'll quote ‘lose.' I mean that it's an important issue in the judgment of the American voters.
"I hope that that clarifies, it's not often that I retract a comment. I retracted the finality of that statement. I think the issue of the war in Iraq we all know is important to the American people and will be a major factor in their determining who they are going to support in the election in November," he said.
McCain also told CNN's Dana Bash that "I think that clearly my fortunes have a lot to do with what's happening in Iraq. And I'm proud of that because Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama said we will not succeed militarily and we have."