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McCain Dodges On Whether Waterboarding Answer Disqualifies Mukasey

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Sen. John McCain criticized Rudy Giuliani in today's New York Times for failing to call waterboarding torture outright. But the former prisoner of war and torture victim won't do the same thing when it comes to Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey.

2007-10-26-muk.jpgDuring his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Judge Mukasey was asked if he believed waterboarding constituted a form of torture. The nominee hedged: "I don't know what is involved in the technique." He said that if waterboarding is torture, he would consider it unconstitutional, but refused to give Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) a yes or no answer.

Giuliani later defended Mukasey's formulation, suggesting that the liberal media was "misreporting" how waterboarding was done. McCain then laid into the former New York mayor today, saying, "They should know what it is. It is not a complicated procedure. It is torture."

But will McCain join Senate Democrats in possibly holding up Mukasey's confirmation until he clears up his stance on waterboarding, as ThinkProgress proposed today? McCain's campaign suggests no.

"The Judiciary Committee process is ongoing and Sen. McCain believes that Judge Mukasey deserves an up-or-down vote based on his qualifications for the office of Attorney General," a McCain aide said in a Friday e-mail.