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John McCain: Mike Huckabee Claims Over 2008 South Carolina Primary Are 'Totally, Patently False'

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 01/12/12 05:41 PM ET Updated: 01/12/12 06:04 PM ET

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) slammed former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee on Thursday over claims he made regarding the 2008 Republican presidential primary.

During an appearance on Fox News Network's "America Live" with Megyn Kelly, McCain dismissed Huckabee's assertion that he asked Fred Thompson to stay in the 2008 Republican presidential race until after the South Carolina primary. Huckabee made the statement earlier on the same network, saying that McCain wanted Thompson to split the South Carolina vote, dividing Conservative voters and leaving the majority of votes to McCain.

"That's totally false," McCain said. "It's totally patently false, and for him to say something like that, maybe it makes him feel better but it's not the truth."

McCain added that Thompson was "viewed as a viable candidate" by voters in South Carolina, but it wasn't necessarily the case that he took votes from Huckabee.

"All I can say to Gov. Huckabee is good luck on your programming on Fox, but you're not telling the truth."

The exchange was reminiscent of a battle from 2008, when Huckabee's campaign chairman Ed Rollins said he believed Thompson was only continuing his campaign to help McCain. McCain went on to win the 2008 South Carolina primary with 33 percent of the vote, while Huckabee took a close 30 percent.

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