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Sen. John McCain R-AZ spoke before a crowd of several hundred this morning in the pouring rain outside the Loraine Motel in Memphis, TN, the site where Dr. Martin Luther King Hr was assassinated 40 years ago today, and now home to the National Civil Rights Museum.
Invited to speak by the Southern Christian Leadership Council, McCain was greeted by a smattering of boos from the mostly African American crowd, as he spoke glowingly of the Civil Rights Leader.
"We can be slow as well to give greatness its due, a mistake I made myself long ago when I voted against a federal holiday in memory of Dr. King. I was wrong and eventually realized that, in time to give full support for a state holiday in Arizona," McCain said.
In a Feb. 9 “Hardball” interview with Chris Matthews, McCain compared his evolution to that of one of his political heroes, former Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater. “I believe that Barry Goldwater, to start with, regretted his vote on the 1964 Civil Rights Act,” McCain said. “I think that Barry grew, like all of us grow and evolve. In 1983, when I was brand-new in the Congress, I voted against the recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King. That was a mistake, OK? And later I had the chance to … help fight for … the recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King as a holiday in my state.”
In 1983, McCain voted against passing a bill to designate the third Monday of every January as a federal holiday in honor of King. Four years later, then-Arizona Governor Evan Mecham rescinded Martin Luther King Day as a state holiday, saying it had been established through an illegal executive order by his Democratic predecessor.
McCain said he thought Mecham was correct in his decision.
Two years after that, McCain’s viewpoint began to change, but only gradually. In 1989, he urged lawmakers to make Martin Luther King Jr. day a state holiday, but said he was “still opposed to another federal holiday.”
Originally posted by biggie smalls
I think he originally voted against MLK day because he thought it was a bad idea...aka MLK wasn't a "good enough" person to deserve his own holiday.