The Clarion-Ledger, 7/3/8

John McCain denied a Republican colleague’s claim that he roughed up an associate of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on a diplomatic mission in 1987, saying the allegation was “simply not true.”

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., told a Mississippi newspaper that he saw McCain, during a trip to Nicaragua led by former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., grab an Ortega associate by his shirt collar and lift him out of his chair.

The Republican presidential contender, who is known for his hot temper, was questioned about the alleged incident at a news conference Wednesday here. He noted that at the time, he had been asked to co-chair a Central American working group in the Senate with Chris Dodd, D-Conn., and had made several trips to the region in that role.

“I had many, many meetings with the Sandinistas,” McCain said. “I must say, I did not admire the Sandinistas much. But there was never anything of that nature. It just didn’t happen.”