Tags: mccain | hanoi | interview

McCain Emotional but Lucid in Hanoi Prison Tape

Wednesday, 22 Oct 2008 11:36 PM

Footage of John McCain being interviewed as a bedridden prisoner during the Vietnam War was released this week by the French national archive.

McCain, who was filmed smoking a cigarette, was emotional during the interview but articulate and in control. The footage, parts of which have been seen before, has McCain passing along a message to his first wife.

He tells her he will get well and loves her, according to a report by Sky News, a British news service. He then goes on to describe being shot down over Hanoi in 1967, and parachuting into a lake.

French reporter Francois Chalais conducted the interview, which was first broadcast on French television program Panorama in January 1968.

The journalist's widow, Mei Chen Chalais, is seeking payment from several television broadcasters in France and the United States for the unauthorized use of the footage.

At times, when speaking of his family, McCain's lower lip trembles and his voice breaks.

“I was on a flight over the city (Hanoi) ... and I was bombing and I was hit by a missile or anti-aircraft fire, I'm not sure which," he said, adding that his plane "when straight down.”

After landing in the lake, McCain said he "was picked up and taken to the hospital, where I almost died.” McCain tells the interviewer that he was treated well by his Vietnamese captors. Asked about the food, he told his French interviewer, “It's not like Paris ... (but) I eat it.”

The widow’s lawyers have even written to the McCain campaign as its website features a few seconds of the footage, which Chalais said was done without her approval.

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