McCain Adviser: Another Attack on U.S. Would Be "Big Advantage" For McCain

07/01/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

***READ BELOW FOR UPDATES - McCain's response, Black's Apology, Obama's Response***

Fortune Magazine is running a profile on John McCain titled, "The evolution of John McCain." McCain's chief advisor, Charlie Black, is interviewed in the piece. Below is a choice quote from Black on why he thinks another terrorist attack on US soil would help McCain win the presidency.

On national security McCain wins. We saw how that might play out early in the campaign, when one good scare, one timely reminder of the chaos lurking in the world, probably saved McCain in New Hampshire, a state he had to win to save his candidacy - this according to McCain's chief strategist, Charlie Black. 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.

McCain responded to Black's quote during a press conference today. The Senator told reporters, "I strenuously disagree":

At that same press conference, Charlie Black apologized to reporters for his comments:

Black, interviewed by reporters as he stood outside McCain's fundraiser, said: "I deeply regret the comments. They were inappropriate. I recognize that John McCain has devoted his entire adult life to protecting his country and placing its security before every other consideration."

Barack Obama's campaign issued a response to Black's comments:

"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," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.