Tran Trong Duyet could just be the unlikeliest John McCain supporter you could hope to meet. Though he's now a retiree who likes ballroom dancing, 40 years ago Duyet was in charge of the prison where McCain was held as a POW for over five years. Speaking now, the 75-year-old says, "McCain is my friend. If I was American, I would vote for him."
Seen in the center of this picture after having ejected from his aircraft into a lake in Hanoi, Vietnam, McCain was taken to Hoa Lo prison, less than affectionately known by fellow inmates as the "Hanoi Hilton." The treatment McCain received while being held drove him to try to commit suicide. Duyet, his captor says now, "I don't know how he'd react if he met me again." And he tells a decidedly different story of McCain's time there: "I can confirm to you that we never tortured him. We never tortured any prisoners."
Duyet tells the tale of the man in prison, now seeking the White House:
We used to argue about the war — about whether it was right or wrong. He is a very frank man — very conservative, and very loyal to his country and the American ideal. He had a very interesting accent and sometimes he taught me words in English and corrected my accent. I have followed his career since he left prison.
While Duyet's recollection of human treatment all those years ago is impossible to corroborate in a country with wildly tight controls of the media, his support of now seems genuine. "I wish him success in the presidential election. . . I consider John McCain my friend because he did much to mend relations between our two countries. And if he becomes president he will do more to improve those ties."