by Frank James
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) jumped on Columbia University again today for allowing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak on its campus today.
Here's his statement:
ARLINGTON, VA -- U.S. Senator John McCain today made the following statement on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaking at Columbia University:
"I still find it astonishing and astounding that Columbia University would welcome the president of a country that has not only dedicated itself to a policy of extinction of the state of Israel, but as he is speaking, most of the lethal and explosive devices are being exported from Iran into Iraq, endangering and taking the lives of brave Americans who are serving. Meanwhile, Columbia University's belief in free speech does not extend to Reserve Officers' Training Corps units being allowed on their campus to attract outstanding young men and women to serve in the military."
McCain appears to be the first presidential candidate to point out the irony of the university allowing the controversial Iranian leader on its grounds but preventing ROTC from returning to campus.
McCain actually has a least one personal connection which may make Ahmadinejad's visit rankle a little more. He has a daughter who recently was graduated from Columbia. My colleague Jill Zuckman says McCain has a photo of his daughter in a cap and gown as the screen saver on his cell phone and jokes on the campaign trail that the screen saver cost him $200,000.