''My friends, I will have an energy policy that we will be talking about, which will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East that will prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East,'' McCain said.
The expected GOP nominee sought to clarify his comments later, after his campaign plane landed in Phoenix. He said he didn't mean the U.S. went to war in Iraq five years ago over oil.
''No, no, I was talking about that we had fought the Gulf War for several reasons,'' McCain told reporters.
One reason was Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, he said. ''But also we didn't want him to have control over the oil, and that part of the world is critical to us because of our dependency on foreign oil, and it's more important than any other part of the world,'' he said.
''If the word `again' was misconstrued, I want us to remove our dependency on foreign oil for national security reasons, and that's all I mean,'' McCain said.
''The Congressional Record is very clear: I said we went to war in Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction,'' he said.AP story in the NY Times