Adam Shaw

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Monday that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) had been “getting forgetful” before he underwent surgery related to a blood clot last week — surgery that has put Congress’ top agenda items on hold and is likely to raise questions about McCain’s health. Graham later walked his comment back saying he misspoke, according to CNN.

McCain, 80, who has given no indication that he intends to retire, went under the knife Friday to remove a blood clot from above his right eye and is currently resting in Arizona. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has said that there will be no vote on the Senate healthcare bill until the octogenarian recovers.

But Graham, McCain’s closest ally in the Senate, told CNN Monday that McCain had not been feeling well leading up to the surgery:

“I think it was a routine check But John had not been feeling good, he’d been traveling a lot and we wrote it off as him being tired but he was getting forgetful and, you know, he had just worn himself out traveling all around the world and I’m glad they found out what I think was the cause,” he told CNN’s Manu Raju.

He added that he spoke to the 2008 Republican presidential nominee Sunday and that “he was like the old John McCain and much more engaged in conversation.” Raju later reported that Graham said he “misspoke” and didn’t mean to say McCain had been getting forgetful.