Republican presidential candidate McCain, while abroad in Colombia on Wednesday, called fellow Sen. Thad Cochran’s account, first reported Tuesday at sunherald.com, “simply not true.”
But fellow Republican Cochran appears to be sticking to the story. His spokeswoman referred national media to the original article on Wednesday.
Others who might have attended tense meetings between U.S. leaders, Sandinistas and contra rebels in Central America in 1987 and 1988, couldn’t be located, didn’t return calls or have since passed away.
Cochran said he, McCain, Sen. Bob Dole and others were on a diplomatic mission and they met with Sandinista Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega. Cochran said that during the trip, he noticed a disturbance at the end of the negotiating table and he saw McCain had grabbed one of Ortega’s associates “by the shirt collar and had snatched him up.” No punches were thrown, but the man appeared ruffled, Cochran said.
When a reporter asked McCain about the alleged incident at a press conference Wednesday in Cartagena, Colombia, he denied it happened.
“It’s simply untrue,” McCain said. “… I made many trips and had many, many meetings with the Sandinistas. There is nothing there. I must say I did not admire the Sandinistas very much. There was never anything of that nature. It just did not happen.”