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Tuesday, May 15, 2007
McCain on Confederate flag: 'Time that we all moved on'
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- One of the loudest boos from the audience tonight came as an Internet questioner from Philadelphia asked if South Carolina "should be free to fly the Confederate flag from state buildings."

The question was directed to Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, who had trouble with this question during the 2000 primary season.

Campaigning in South Carolina in 2000, McCain initially said the flag was "a symbol of heritage" and a decision to remove it was a state issue.

He later changed his mind, and explained his turnaround: "I feared that if I answered honestly, I could not win the South Carolina primary. So I chose to compromise my principles."

After intense negotiations, the Confederate flag in 2000 was removed from State Capitol dome but now flies over a monument to the Confederacy on the capitol grounds.

In tonight's debate, McCain said "I still believe that it should not have flown over the Capitol, and I was wrong when I said that it was a state issue... But now I think it has been settled, and I think it's time that we all moved on onthis issue."

-- CNN Associate Producer Stephen Bach
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