PHOENIX, April 8 (UPI) -- Presumptive GOP presidential nominee U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona has a strained relationship with African-American constituents, black leaders say.
Oscar Tillman with the Phoenix branch of the NAACP said McCain "has pretty well zero relationship" and state Rep. Cloves Campbell Jr., D-Phoenix, said McCain has "no relationship" with the black community in Arizona, The Politico said Tuesday.
McCain faced scrutiny for his relationship with the black community and later apologized for opposing a holiday commemorating slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
The Politico said its report found McCain didn't hold any animosity toward the black community but suggested his indifference toward the issue was part of his broader tendency to avoid issues in which has he little or no interest.
Art Mobley, a radio broadcaster in Phoenix and McCain ally, said the complaints from the black community are ill-founded because those groups feel they aren't being courted sufficiently by the candidate.
But the issue is particularly significant in this election cycle, the newspaper said, as many black voters could possibly line up behind McCain should Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., best rival Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., for the Democratic presidential nomination. Obama is seen as the first black candidate with a credible shot at the presidency.