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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 1: Cindy McCain looks on as a joint military service casket team carries the casket of the late Senator John McCain following his funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral, September 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush delivered eulogies for McCain in front of the 2,500 invited guests. McCain will be buried on Sunday at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 1: Cindy McCain looks on as a joint military service casket team carries the casket of the late Senator John McCain following his funeral service at the Washington National Cathedral, September 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush delivered eulogies for McCain in front of the 2,500 invited guests. McCain will be buried on Sunday at the U.S. Naval Academy Cemetery. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. will brief the media on Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 10 a.m. EDT, in the Pentagon Briefing Room (2E973).  DAILY SCHEDULE: Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. brief the media at 10 a.m. EDT in the Pentagon Briefing Room (2E973). Both U.S. and foreign journalists without a Pentagon building pass must be pre-registered in the new Pentagon Visitor Management System to attend this briefing; plan on being escorted from the River Entrance Pedestrian Bridge or the Pentagon Metro Entrance Facility only. Please arrive no later than 45 minutes before the briefing; have proof of affiliation and photo identification. Please call 703-697-5131 for any questions and escort into the building. The briefing will also be streamed live on www.defense.gov/live.  Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis hosts an enhanced honor cordon welcoming Minister of Defense Ryamizard Ryacudu of Indonesia, to the Pentagon at 2:30 p.m. EDT on the steps of the River Entrance. All journalists desiring to cover the cordon must obtain a wristband from security screening. Journalists without a Pentagon facility access card must go through security screening at the base of the River Entrance Pedestrian Bridge, and will be escorted to the cordon from there. Security screening will begin at approximately 1:45 p.m. EDT; have proof of affiliation and two forms of photo identification. Journalists with a Pentagon facility access card, and whom have entered the building prior to 1:30 p.m. EDT, may go through security screening at the River Entrance to obtain their wristband. All journalists wishing to cover the honor cordon, including those with a Pentagon facility access card, must be in place no later than 2:15 p.m. EDT. Once security screening has been initiated at the base of the bridge, all journalists entering the building via the bridge for any reason, including those with a Pen
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(CNN) —  

Republican Senate candidate Kelli Ward apologized Monday for suggesting an announcement by Sen. John McCain’s family that he would end his cancer treatment was designed to hurt her campaign, saying her comment had been misinterpreted.

“I do understand how many could have misconstrued my comments as insensitive, and for this I apologize,” Ward told reporters at her campaign headquarters. “The intention of my comments were in no way directed at Sen. McCain or his family.”

In a Facebook post over the weekend – following the McCain family’s announcement, but before his death – one of Ward’s campaign staffers speculated that the timing might have been designed “to take media attention off her campaign.” Ward seemed to agree, writing in response, “I think they wanted to have a particular narrative that they hope is negative to me.”

Reading from a written statement Monday, Ward said she hoped to “set the record straight” regarding her comment, which has sparked backlash in the final stretch of her primary campaign. On Tuesday, she will face off against Rep. Martha McSally, the front-runner, and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for the Republican nomination in the race to succeed Sen. Jeff Flake.

“To be clear, my comments were in no way directed at Sen. McCain or at his family or his team,” she said, adding that they were “in reference to the media” and its “hope for a narrative that would hinder the momentum of our campaign.”

Ward acknowledged that she and McCain, whom she had challenged in the 2016 Republican primary, “held different political views on many, many things – on domestic policy, foreign policy, and of course, on President Trump.” But, Ward added, “our differences were always strictly political.”

McCain remained a central bogeyman in Ward’s campaign this year, even as he fought brain cancer.

Ward has also at times seemingly crossed a line into insensitive rhetoric. On Monday, she tweeted, “Political correctness is like a cancer!”

Ward later stood by that wording, saying, “Political correctness, yes, is exactly like a cancer.”

She also drew public scorn last year when she said McCain should step down from the Senate “as quickly as possible,” suggesting he would not be able to perform his duties.

Ward defended that statement again Monday, explaining, “If you aren’t able to do that job and do it well, then you should” resign.

Asked whether she could better express herself, the former state senator said her style is to “talk directly to the people.”

“I’m not a robot. I’m not an automaton. I’m not somebody who’s programmed with talking points,” Ward said. “I don’t mean to offend people, I just mean to speak directly to people, and I think that’s why people want me in this race.”