[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/POLITICS/02/14/mccain.king/art.mccain.cnn.jpg caption="Sen. John McCain discussed his presidential candidacy with CNN's Larry King."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican presidential front-runner Sen. John McCain on Thursday defended his statement that U.S. troops could spend "maybe 100" years in Iraq - saying he was referring to a military presence similar to what the nation already has in places like Japan, Germany and South Korea.
This week, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama both took McCain to task for the comments, saying that if he's elected he would continue what they call President Bush's failed policies in Iraq.
"It's not a matter of how long we're in Iraq, it's if we succeed or not," McCain said to CNN's Larry King.
"And both Sen. Obama and Clinton want to set a date for withdrawal - that means chaos, that means genocide, that means undoing all the success we've achieved and al Qaeda tells the world they defeated the United States of America.
"I won't let that happen."