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McCain defends role in Pentagon process

From NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy
ST. LOUIS, MO -- McCain kicked off a heavy week of fundraising with a dinner last night and a town hall this morning at Savvis, Inc. where he faced several questions about the Pentagon's recent decision to pass over Boeing for a major defense contract.

Speaking within just a few miles of the city's Boeing factory, McCain defended his role in the process, but said that if deemed necessary he would be open to a thorough review of the Pentagon's selection.

"I think my record is very clear on this issue, including a paper trail of letters that we wrote to the Department of Defense during this process saying clearly and unequivocally we just want a fair process and we don't want a repeat of the previous process," McCain said about his involvement.

McCain added, "I'm more than willing to go through a review process--of what the process that was pursued by the United States Air Force in making that decision."

On how well his fundraising is going so far McCain refused to get into specifics, but he did acknowledge his disadvantaged position when compared to the Democrats and vowed to keep at it.

"We are working hard at it, as you know," McCain said. "I mean, it's very well known that Senator Obama and Senator Clinton have done a very good job in fundraising, and we are lagging behind that. I mean, that's just some straight talk that is a fact. So we're working hard to try to bring our party together and our fundraisers and raise money, and it is going better.

"So all I can say is, yeah, we are telling people that we'd like for them to reach certain levels of contributions, and we'd like to recognize that … I think the highest level should be called 'Great Americans.' I don't know, but they're kicking that around."