Regrets? John McCain has a few

Greg Nash

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Wednesday talked about his biggest regrets in life during an event with students at Harvard University.

A student who said he admires McCain asked the senator to identify his biggest regret in life. 

"As far as one huge mistake … maybe running for president,” McCain said at one point during his answer at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy Jr. forum.

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McCain, 77, lost to President Obama in 2008, receiving only 173 electoral votes to Obama’s 365. He also ran for president in 2000, but President George W. Bush won the nomination. 

Earlier, in response to the same question, McCain recounted a moment during the 2000 presidential election that he said he considered his greatest regret.

During his presidential campaign that year, he had been asked to comment on the Confederate battle flag displayed at South Carolina’s statehouse. He had been campaigning in the state to prepare for the GOP primary. 

McCain initially said the issue should be left up to the state, and later apologized for not calling for its removal, saying he had given up on his principles out of political self-interest.

“That’s one of my biggest regrets, frankly, of all of the campaigns I’ve been in.” 

Another regret he shared was his vote as a House lawmaker for a resolution supporting apartheid in South Africa. He said he traveled to the country the following year and witnessed the situation on the ground first-hand. 

Asked what advice he could offer 2016 presidential contenders, McCain said, “Make sure you believe what you say.”

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