Washington (CNN)-Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain said he's no "starry-eyed idealist" when asked about his opinion on the conflict in Egypt and the role of the United States in the region by CNN's Chief National Correspondent John King.
On CNN's "John King USA," airing Thursday at 7 p.m. EST, he said "I'm not a starry-eyed idealist. I know the nature of war. I think I understand these issues and I understand the criticality, but for us to be on the side of governments that are oppressive and repressive in the long run can never benefit us and help us achieve our goals."
And according to the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, history proves that he was right about the troop surge in Iraq, despite what former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld may have written in his new book "Known and Unknown."
"I was over in Iraq to know that we were losing and American lives were being lost. There's nothing more important than that and I came back and we had literally pitch battles on the issue of a surge and he steadfastly opposed it.
"He didn't believe we needed additional troops. That was a huge bone of contention between myself and Secretary Rumsfeld and fortunately after the election of 2006 the president decided to replace him. We had the surge and we've achieved a significant degree of success in Iraq which we wouldn't have under Secretary Rumsfeld."
Of his campaign rival, President Obama, McCain revealed that they now have a "common interest" and "common values" that will help them work together. Specifically, McCain believes the two could cooperate on "enhanced rescission" and "once we get the border secure‚Ä¶immigration reform," along with "several other issues."