From NBC/NJ's Adam Aigner-Treworgy
A senior campaign official said Black did not remember making the comments in Fortune, but did not dispute the comment. The context of Black's argument in the interview, the official said, was that John McCain is favored on national security issues and that any day that national security leads the news is a good day for McCain.
Outside McCain's Fresno fundraiser, Black read his statement, soon to be released by the campaign, from his handwritten notes. "I deeply regret the comments -- they were inappropriate. I recognize that John McCain had devoted his entire adult life to protecting this country ... and placing its security above every other consideration."
Fortune had reported Black said, The assassination of Benazir Bhutto in December was an 'unfortunate event,' says Black. 'But his 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.' As would, Black concedes with startling candor after we raise the issue, another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. 'Certainly it would be a big advantage to him,' says Black."
*** UPDATE *** Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton writes in response: "Barack Obama welcomes a debate about terrorism with John McCain, who has fully supported the Bush policies that have taken our eye off of al Qaeda, failed to bring Osama bin Laden to justice, and made us less safe. The fact that John McCain's top advisor says that a terrorist attack on American soil would be a 'big advantage' for their political campaign is a complete disgrace, and is exactly the kind of politics that needs to change. Barack Obama will turn the page on these failed policies and this cynical and divisive brand of politics so that we can unite this nation around a common purpose to finish the fight against al Qaeda."