ABC News' Bret Hovell Reports: John McCain says if he were president, he would not go to the opening ceremonies of the Olympic games in China unless that country makes called-for reforms."Unless they change something pretty quickly," McCain, R-Ariz., told "The View" on Thursday in a live appearance, "I would not go to the opening ceremonies."
Watch the VIDEO HERE.
First reported on the Drudge Report, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has called for a boycott of the opening ceremonies but not the Olympics overall, specifically citing China's reaction to recent protests in Tibet and inaction in Darfur. After initially resisting making a direct call for a boycott, Obama changed course and, in a written statement, said, "If the Chinese do not take steps to help stop the genocide in Darfur and to respect the dignity, security, and human rights of the Tibetan people, then the president should boycott the opening ceremonies."The presumptive Republican nominee said he would expect China to reconcile with the Dalai Lama and make strides toward helping end the violence in Darfur.In the past, McCain has said he would use the President's presence at the opening games, the first to be held in China and set to begin on August 8, 2008, as a form of leverage but this was the first he said that he, if the currently occupying the Oval Office, would not attend.During McCain's three segments on the program "The View" co-hosts questioned the Senator on the war in Iraq, President Bush, immigration and his vice presidential possibilities. "Would you consider a McCain-Hasselbeck ticket?" asked Elisabeth Hasselbeck, in one of the lighter exchanges.McCain played along, joking that the vice president only has two jobs: to cast a tie breaking vote in the Senate and to inquire daily as to the health of the president."How are you feeling?" Hasselbeck joked in return. During two commercial breaks, McCain heard from members of the audience, who asked questions about No Child Left Behind and whether he might support a military draft (he does not).McCain also continued chatting with the co-hosts during the breaks. Joy Behar asked him about his celebrity endorsements including Wilford Brimley, Burt Bacharach and Heidi Montag. Behar said she wasn't familiar with Montag but the 71-year-old McCain was quick to tell her about "The Hills". Behar also asked McCain if he thought it had been wrong to go into Iraq in the first place.The Senator opened his mouth to answer but was saved by the stage manager, shouting a loud countdown to the return of the show. McCain feigned relief, drawing laughter and applause from the audience. But Behar followed up, this time with cameras rolling. McCain gave his standard answer, that knowing what the president and congress knew at the time, the decision to go into Iraq was correct, and it was after the fall of Baghdad that the serious mistakes were made.