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McCain has a mixed history regarding the King legacy. In 1992, he supported a referendum creating a state holiday in King's honor in Arizona, one of the last to do so. But when McCain first came to Congress in 1983, he opposed creating a federal holiday. The House vote was 338-90 and President Reagan signed the bill into law later that year.

McCain said earlier this week that he had not understood the issue. Asked what he later learned, he said, "I learned that this individual was a transcendent figure in American history. He deserved to be honored... I had not really been involved in the issue. I just had not had a lot of experience with the issue."

He grew testy when asked what he did not understand.

He didn't realize Martin Luther King was an important person until after 1983?

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