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LANDSTUHL, Germany — Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. — presidential hopeful and former Vietnam prisoner of war — visited wounded troops Thursday morning at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

McCain’s visit to the largest American hospital outside of the U.S. comes on the tail end of a trip to Iraq, where he said conditions are improving. He was greeted at the hospital by Europe Regional Medical Command’s Brig. Gen. David Rubenstein and hospital commander Col. Bryan Gamble.

Press coverage of McCain’s visit to Landstuhl was declined.

Other notable politicians have stopped through Landstuhl on their way back from Iraq in recent months. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., toured the hospital and greeted wounded during separate trips in January.

McCain’s visit to a Baghdad market last Sunday has drawn criticism. An exclusive interview with the senator is scheduled to air on this week’s “60 Minutes.”

The Washington Post reported that after a heavily guarded walk through a newly fortified Baghdad market, McCain declared that the American public was not getting “a full picture” of the progress unfolding in Iraq.

McCain cited a drop in slayings, the creation of a constellation of joint U.S.-Iraqi military outposts and a rise in intelligence tips as signs of the progress.

“These and other indications are reason for cautious optimism,” McCain said, according to the Post.

McCain is a strong advocate of the war and comes from a military background. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and served as a naval aviator in Vietnam. His father and grandfather both served as Navy admirals.


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