FRESNO, California (CNN) - Sen. John McCain distanced himself Monday from comments made by a senior campaign adviser suggesting that McCain would stand to benefit politically from a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
In an interview with Fortune magazine, McCain senior adviser Charlie Black said that the Arizona senator demonstrated his fluency in foreign policy and security matters following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December of last year.
Bhutto’s killing, Black said, was an “unfortunate event.” But, he argued, McCain’s “knowledge and ability to talk about it reemphasized that this is the guy who's ready to be Commander-in-Chief. And it helped us."
Asked if McCain would stand to benefit from a terrorist attack on the United States, Black answered: “Certainly it would be a big advantage to him.”
Campaigning in California, McCain shook his head when asked by CNN about Black’s comments.
“I cannot imagine why he would say it,” he said at a press conference. “It’s not true. I’ve worked tirelessly since 9/11 to prevent another attack on the United States of America. My record is very clear.”
McCain cited his work on the Senate Armed Services Committee and his role in creating the 9/11 Commission in describing his efforts to stop terrorist attacks on American soil.
“If he said that, and I do not know the context, I strenuously disagree,” McCain said of Black.
On the day Bhutto was assassinated, McCain seemed to suggest the calamity could offer him some political benefit.
“I’m the one with the experience, the knowledge and the judgment," he told CNN's Dana Bash on December 27. "So perhaps it may serve to enhance those credentials.”