McCain Says Rice Is a 'Great American,' But Has Not Received VP Signals

ABC News' Jan Simmonds reports: John McCain said he has not personally heard interest from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that she may have interest in becoming his vice presidential nominee but that he has the "utmost praise" for and that she is a "great American."

Sunday, while appearing on ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," the Republican strategist Dan Senor said that "Rice has been actively, actually in recent weeks, campaigning for this [becoming McCain’s vice presidential nominee]."

"I did not hear that. I missed those signals," McCain said. "I think she's a great American, I think there's very little that I can say that isn't anything but the utmost praise for a great American citizen, who served as a role model to so many millions of people in this country and around the world. But as I mentioned to you, we're not talking about the process because it just then gets into things that could easily to spill over into an invasion of privacy."

Asked whether Secretary Rice's role in the Iraq War should be taken into account, McCain said that all those who were involved in the failed strategy in Iraq "bear some responsibility".

"Of course I have put responsibility on the president, [former Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld, ah, as well as Condoleezza Rice and to a lesser degree Secretary Powell," he added. "But I think her overall record is really very, very meritorious."

Looking ahead to Gen. David Petreaus' testimony on Tuesday to Congress, McCain said he thought it will be very interesting to learn about the influence Iran has had in Iraq.

"I think you’re going to hear more about the Iranian influence, the arms they've provided, the money, the training, particularly the extent of their influence in southern Iraq," the Arizona senator said. "It's pretty extensive and I think he’s going to be talking about that."

But he said that while he is concerned about Iran, he hoped that his concern is not interpreted as a drumbeat to war.

"Because I'm worried about Iranian influence doesn't mean that I'm ready to go to war with Iran," he said. "Please, I'm not –- I think there's a lot of things that we need to do, there's a lot of measures that need to be taken, along the lines we talked about after my trip to Europe with [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy, and [British Prime Minister Gordon] Brown and [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel are talking about sanctions against Iran, you know, because of their nuclear weapons issue and all that."

On Monday, John McCain will speak more about the Iraq War and the war on terror when he goes before the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Kansas City, Mo.

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