The Arizona Republican had said previously he would oppose Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, because of the details she initially provided about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
In an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation," McCain went further, expressing a reluctance to approve any nominee to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has said she does not intend to stay on in the post in Obama's second term.
McCain said Rice, who has not been nominated, "has a lot of explaining to do" about her characterization of the attack as one of extremists joining a spontaneous demonstration linked to an anti-Muslim video, and that he is "curious why she has not repudiated those remarks."
When asked if he would be willing to reconsider his position on Rice given that information has come out that her statements were in line with talking points provided by the U.S. intelligence community at that time, McCain replied all nominees go through a hearing process.
"Maybe she could start out by publicly coming back on this show and saying, I was wrong, I gave the wrong information on your show some several weeks ago. That might be a beginning," McCain said.
When asked if that mean he would remain opposed to a Rice nomination until that happens, McCain answered: "Under the present circumstances, I don't -- until we find out all the information as to what happened, I don't think you could want to support any nominee right now because this is -- this is very, very serious, and it has even larger implications than the deaths of four Americans. It really goes to the heart of this, quote, 'light footprint' policy that this administration has been pursuing. And all of the failures throughout Middle East that are now -- the chickens are now coming home to roost."