McCain Deems 1983 Vote Against MLK Day a 'Mistake'

Events marking 40th anniversary of civil-rights leader's death also draw Dems
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2008 3:42 PM CDT
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., greets visitors at the National Civil Rights Museum.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
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(Newser) – John McCain apologized today for his 1983 Senate vote against a federal Martin Luther King holiday. Standing at the Memphis site where King was assassinated in 1968, McCain called his nay vote “a mistake,” the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports; McCain later voted for a state holiday in Arizona. Democrat Hillary Clinton, also in Memphis today, recalled meeting King as a teenager.

Clinton echoed King's efforts to remedy economic injustices, calling for a White House appointee tasked with fighting poverty. Barack Obama, in Indiana, also spoke on the civil-rights leader today, saying that, “instead of having a politics that lives up to Dr. King’s call for unity, we’ve had a politics that’s used race to drive us apart.”