McCain Was For Meeting With Spanish Leader Before He Was Against It

Another aspect to the unfolding McCain scandal regarding his now stated unwillingness to meet with the leader of Spain, a longtime US ally and NATO member, is the fact that he was on record as wanting to meet with Zapatero before he was against it:

Republican Presidential candidate John McCain is willing to change the policy of distancing from the Spanish government imposed by the Bush Administration four years ago. He declares himself a supporter of bilateral relations and that José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero be invited to the White House. . . . McCain declared that "this is the moment to leave behind our differences with Spain" and added: "I would like to see [President Zapatero] visit the United States. I am very interested in not only normalizing our relations with Spain, but also seek to have good and productive relations with the goal of dealing with many issues and challenges we must meet together[.]"

(My translation.) [More...]

It is stunning and scandalous that McCain would rather chart a grossly incompetent and reckless course in foreign policy than admit that he did not understand a question. McCain's actions on this issue are stunning, reckless and disqualifying.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

< McCain Would Refuse To Meet With Leader Of NATO Ally Spain | Spain An Adversary? A Homage To TR And The Rough Riders? >
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    Bizarre (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Steve M on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:26:25 PM EST
    As much as McCain has moved to the right during this campaign, there's simply no plausible reason why he would now change his position from just five months ago in order to please the hardliners.  It simply must be, as you say, that he was confused during the interview and now they are excusemaking.

    Really does blow me away, though, that they'd rather create international tensions than just own up to the confusion.  It was a phone interview, after all.  Very few people would think worse of McCain if he simply said he didn't hear the question well and then reaffirmed his prior position on Spain.

    Honestly. . . (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:34:37 PM EST
    I believe the McCain campaign probably has a special team dedicated to making sure he doesn't do or say anything that makes him seem "old".  I'm sure they're really worried about making any admission along the lines of what you suggested especially when there's audio of the interview available.

    It's a case of deciding that "strong but wrong" will play better than "right by weak (befuddled)".  And really, when has antagonism towards foreigners ever really harmed the Republicans' electoral chances before?

    Of course, there's an outside chance that they're telling the truth.


    The problem with that is (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:37:10 PM EST
    explaining why in April 2008 he was for meeting with Zapatero and now he is against it. Spain did nothing to merit any such change in policy in the last 5 months.

    Re: (2.00 / 0) (#14)
    by az on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:43:39 PM EST
    He is not " against " it ....

    He did not say one way or the other ...

    Lets be accurate..


    What? (none / 0) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:45:13 PM EST
    Are you NOT paying attention? Scheneuman said he was AGAINST it.



    Re: (none / 0) (#28)
    by az on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:53:09 PM EST
    No he didn't say that .

    He said Mccain wasn't going to commit one way or the other , like Mccain said in that interview..

    You can make an argument that he was confused etc , but to be accurate he didn't say he was AGAINST it ....

    He seems to be following the current administration's policy towards Spain and he seems to have a muddled position now compared to 5 months ago but lets get it right ,

    He didn't say he was against it , neither did his aide...


    Oh well (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:58:23 PM EST
    NOT committing to meeting with a longstanding ally and NATO member who you would have to go to war with and indeed, who has soldiers with ours in Afghanistan is soooo much better.

    These defenses are simply ridiculous and you look stunningly foolish making them.


    Re : (none / 0) (#32)
    by az on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:05:49 PM EST
    Thats a totally different argument entirely ...

    You can argue its bad policy which I happen to agree with but you made an inaccurate claim...

    Just wanted to point that out.

    It might not seem like much of a gaffe to some if you accurately portrayed what he said...

    It seems to be the current policy of the administration , so apparently some feel it is the right course of action , of course that would be debated to death..


    Absurd (none / 0) (#62)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 02:58:03 PM EST
    McCain did not commit to meeting with a longstanding NATO ally.

    That is simply nuts.

    Hell, the question itself is nuts frankly.


    He refused to agree to a meeting (none / 0) (#20)
    by eric on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:46:28 PM EST
    which is pretty much being against it.  And it is CLEARLY different from being for it previously.

    RE (none / 0) (#38)
    by az on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:12:51 PM EST
    Moving from I am for it to a non commitment is definitely a more muddled position but it is not the same as being " against it..."

    Mccain left himself a lot of room there..


    BTD, USAers could argue (2.00 / 0) (#18)
    by LatinoVoter on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:45:26 PM EST

    George W Bush voiced regret at the "abrupt Spanish action" in a five-minute phone call to Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the White House said.

    This just days after McCain said that the past was the past and we had to move forward. To many USAers Zapatero's troop withdrawal can be seen as an abandonment of America and our troops in Iraq when they were needed the most.

    I don't agree but I'm just saying Zapatero's actions can be seen as turning your back on your friends.


    Dude (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:48:18 PM EST
    That was 4 YEARS ago, not 4 months ago.

    Check the dateline of your link.


    I know. I'm just saying (2.00 / 0) (#44)
    by LatinoVoter on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:31:27 PM EST
    that his giving Zapatero the cold shoulder seems like he's doing the "with us or against us" shtick.

    Um (none / 0) (#22)
    by Steve M on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:49:35 PM EST
    Spain withdrew its troops in 2004.  Your linked article is from 2004.

    McCain said the past was the past during this very campaign, in April 2008.


    Republicans have never before. . . (none / 0) (#26)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:51:35 PM EST
    been called on to explain why they claim to believe on Monday the polar opposite of what they claimed to believe on the preceding Friday.  Will it be different this time?  I doubt it -- the scandal / gaffe here is about what he said this time, not how it compares to his pre-election opinion.

    Whatever you say Larry (none / 0) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:53:08 PM EST
    Well (none / 0) (#11)
    by Steve M on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:40:03 PM EST
    I think this is a total non-story if they own up to the oops, so I think they're using poor judgment if they're determined to avoid the appearance of "senior moments" at all costs.

    Instead of looking like a guy who didn't hear a question on a phone interview, he looks like a guy who's so lost on the merits that one day he's for normalizing relations with Spain and the next day he's against it for no apparent reason.


    There really is a large part of the Republican (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by steviez314 on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:31:06 PM EST
    Party that enjoys being pissed off at the rest of the world and loves it when other countries are pissed off at us.  It just feeds into their worldview.  

    It's the same attitude they have about the media and "intellectuals", i.e. smart people.

    I know. (none / 0) (#13)
    by coigue on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:43:31 PM EST
    You are so right, and it's so wierd.

    John McCain is: (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by andgarden on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:34:37 PM EST
    a) hard of hearing
    b) senile
    c) crazy
    d) all of the above

    I vote for e) (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by coigue on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:46:02 PM EST
    too focussed on winning the election to care about anything else, and it's affecting his judgement and memory.

    LOL :-) (none / 0) (#15)
    by vicndabx on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:44:01 PM EST
    I think the McCain campaign (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by votermom on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:34:52 PM EST
    is being careful about how they distance themselves from the Bush admin. Zapaetro fall under the "didn't stand up for US flag and withdrew from Iraq".
    It's ok to attack them to attack the current admin for lobbyists and wastefulness, but they must support them about anything Iraq-related.

    Just listen to what he said! (1.00 / 0) (#63)
    by LadyDiofCT on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 03:05:47 PM EST
    He said he would not commit to anything at this point in the campaign.  The correct political response at this time, imo.  Obama supporters seem willing to use any smear tactic or hit job to make McCain look incompetent, and their guy look presidential, to win at any cost. The Democratic party has become a bunch of political thugs, pariahs, and hypocrites.  Sadly, my democratic party and the new Obama wing have become everything I loathe in politics.  Sadly, this blog has now become part of the problem.  I will probably be banned, but here goes..... McCain for President 08 for this long time dem!

    Have fun with that (5.00 / 1) (#66)
    by CST on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 03:18:48 PM EST
    It's fine if you think there is nothing wrong with his response and you don't want to commit to meeting with Spain.

    Just admit you like McCain more b/c of his policies.

    Blaming Obama supporters and democratic blogs for you turning against the party is completely absurd and just makes you seem petty.  Why would you base your vote on people who will not be in office????

    BTD honestly thinks McCain was wrong, you don't, that makes it a difference of opinion, not a "smear tactic"


    It is you who should listen to what McCain said (none / 0) (#64)
    by eric on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 03:12:05 PM EST
    And you can do that HERE.

    You will note that, at the end of the interview, the reporter is attempting to ask McCain about Zapatero.  It is clear that McCain, for one reason or another, does not understand the question.  He does not understand that the reporter is asking him about about Spain or Zapatero.  His answer is a boilerplate answer about meeting with people that agree with our policies, etc.  The reporter tries to prod him in the right direction, but to no avail.

    Now, what has happened since then is that McCain's campaign, in responding to this flub in the interview, has launched an almost unbelievable effort to try to convice us the McCain did understand the question and stands by his answer.  It is all spin from his campaign.  And all because they won't admit the truth and let it go.


    Nonsense (none / 0) (#68)
    by Warren Terrer on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 03:45:05 PM EST
    The correct response would have been "After I take office I look forward to meeting all the leaders of our allies, particularly Prime Minister Zapatero." This isn't rocket science.

    If John McCain isn't part of what you loathe about politics then you will just have to forgive me for not believing you are anything but a long time Republican.


    Indeed (none / 0) (#70)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 03:51:46 PM EST
    Thanks for the invite. You are banned from my threads.

    But because I can not deal with ignorance at this level. I can not keep my self civil. I can not stand you being in my threads.

    Do not come back.


    it should be obvious (none / 0) (#3)
    by wystler on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:31:14 PM EST
    none of Spain's paid K-Street folk are on McCain's campaign staff's exec committee ... if 'twere so, the gaffe wouldn't have happened ... so it's spain's own damned fault


    Having listened to the tape (none / 0) (#7)
    by litigatormom on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:35:51 PM EST
    I think that McCain intially didn't understand that the reporter was asking about the SPANISH president.  Of course, that is frightening in and of itself, since the reporter was perfectly clear and repeated herself several times (she clearly couldn't believe what she was hearing).

    Then, once he understood it, he didn't want to admit that he'd made such a stupid mistake. So instead of saying, "Oh, the SPANISH president, of course I'd meet with him," he said that "I'll meet with anyone who wants to work with us."

    Thus illustrating the three principle attributes of the  Bush presidency: ignorance, ego and intransigence.

    Well, I also listened to the interview (none / 0) (#29)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:55:48 PM EST
    and I completely disagree that she was "perfectly clear," and, considering her later surprise at the ruckus the interview has stirred up in some circles, I also disagree that "she clearly couldn't believe what she was hearing."

    I do think that she, and probably many others for whom Spanish is their first language, have no idea how hard it is to understand her/their accent.

    Her heavy accent lost him, for at least some of the interview.


    I thought (none / 0) (#42)
    by votermom on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:23:03 PM EST
    she said "What about you, though?" and I thought, gee, that sounds kind of impertinent, before I realized that she meant "Europe".

    I thought her English was excellent (none / 0) (#47)
    by litigatormom on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:42:10 PM EST
    But then again, I'm a Latina and accustomed to hearing Spanish accents.

    She repeated several times, though, that she was talkig about Spain/Europe.

    If McCain couldn't understand her accent, why wouldn't he have asked her?  And weren't there translators nearby?


    Trust me, she is very hard to understand. (none / 0) (#50)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:57:34 PM EST
    I'm guessing her accent is Cuban? She sounds much like an old girlfriend of mine.

    Anyway, rapid-fire, dropping the final syllable or two of many/most words, awkward phrasing.

    However, he kept his game face on, completed the interview, and moved on to the next of what is assuredly an unyielding list of pressing matters.


    Everybody but the hopelessly partisan.... (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by kdog on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 02:56:07 PM EST
    woulda been fine with "I misunderstood the interviewer, allow me to clarify".  

    This "unwilling to commit" spin coming from the campaign is raising legitimate questions about the diplomatic aspects of a McCain presidency...they've weaved quite a tangled web here, imo.  I mean this is Spain we're talking about...NATO member, occupying Afghanistan side by side with us.  

    Nixon, Clinton...will they ever learn?  Just be honest...bullsh*t has a way of snowballing.  

    It's not even like he made a mistake, if it is true that he simply misunderstood the line of questioning...why spin it?


    How about this: (none / 0) (#67)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 03:25:54 PM EST
    "Regardless of whether or not I had problems understanding her accent, everything that came out of my mouth was boiler-plate that had been laid out and rehearsed many, many times before, and I stand by what I said."

    Oh, "I stand by what I said" is pretty much his campaign's position on the whole thing...


    I completely disagree (none / 0) (#53)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 02:33:39 PM EST
    She was very clear that she was referring to the Spanish President, even if you couldn't understand the name.  

    He wasn't listening.  

    Regardless it would have been trivially easy for the campaign to simply say this was a communication problem.


    her first question which was clearly about Spain, I'm saying he was struggling with her accent during the interview and gave boiler plate answers at times.

    Regardless, he said what he said and his aids say he didn't misspeak. Whatcha gonna do?


    Spain vs. the culture war (none / 0) (#8)
    by Newt on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:37:04 PM EST
    Did McCain forget who the Pres of Spain was, or was he confused?  Doesn't matter, because all he has to do is repeat the party line: "He would be willing to meet with those leaders who are our friends and who want to work with us cooperatively."  That's exactly what Palin did, sound sure of herself regardless of her knowledge, experience and understanding.  They repeat what they're told to say and the Repub campaign cleans up any little mess-ups:  McCain foreign policy adviser Randy Sheunemann said, "Senator McCain refused to commit to a White House meeting with President Zapatero in this interview."  End of story.  

    Republicans are spinning Palin's hesitation on the Bush Doctrine question.  She may have been clueless about what the Bush Doctrine was, or just unsure on how to answer without tying herself to Bush's failed policies, so she bluffed her way through the question.  The Republican spin - not only does she know what the Bush Doctrine is, but she's a maverick, different from Bush, in fact, better than Bush in protecting America:  

    House Speaker Newt Gingrich described Sarah Palin's lack of clarity on whether she subscribes to the Bush Doctrine as reflecting lessons learned in the last seven years, adding that President Bush would have had a "much harder case to make" in the run up to the Iraq war if he were trying to meet the imminent threat standard articulated by Palin during her Thursday interview with ABC News' Charles Gibson.

    This is how they win:  Stimulate the culture war, make us the bad guys, make their people seem like regular folks who just want to help out regular old Americans.  McCain was the champion of deregulation that caused the mess we're in, but Obama, well he's really to blame because he hired Jim Johnson from Fannie Mae to vet the VPs.  McCain said, "He's not for change, he's part of the problem in Washington," (a system which the two "mavericks" will buck, if we elect them).  Donald Trump's endorsement of McCain today:  "McCain is a great guy, a tremendous guy."   Have a beer, relax, the mavericks will take care of everything for you, just don't listen to those tax and spend liberals.

    McCain is in Iowa today speaking before cheering crowds.  He is not faltering or forgetting anything.  He doesn't look tired.  He's laying the blame on the failing economy on the Democrats.  He said Obama's not about change, he's part of the problem we're facing this week.  He wants to find solutions now, today, but the Dems refuse to act before the election.  Here's one of the emails going out to Republican mailing lists this week blaming Democrats for what we really know to be Republican failed polices:

    George Bush has been in office for 7-1/2 years.  The first six the economy was fine. A little over one year ago:  1) Consumer confidence stood at a 2-1/2 year high; 2) Regular gasoline sold for $2.19 a gallon; 3) the unemployment rate was 4.5%.  4) the DOW JONES hit a record high--14,000 +  5) American's were buying new cars, taking vacations, living large!...  
    But Americans wanted 'CHANGE'!  So, in 2006 they voted in a Democratic Congress and yes--we got 'CHANGE' all right. In the PAST YEAR:  1) Consumer confidence has plummeted ;  2) Gasoline is now over $4 a gallon & climbing!;  3) Unemployment is up to 5.5% (a 10% increase);  4) Americans have seen their home equity drop by $12 TRILLION  DOLLARS and prices still dropping;   5) 1% of American homes are in foreclosure.   6) as I write, THE DOW is probing another low~~ $2.5 Trillion dollars has evaporated from their stocks, bonds & mutual funds investment  portfolios! YES, IN 2006 AMERICA VOTED FOR CHANGE...AND WE SURE GOT IT!  .... remember the president has no control over any of these issues, only Congress.

    We're not going to win this by intellectualizing on a gaffe about Spain.  We need to be talking to the people who are watching Fox Fake News because they're as scared about the economy as we are, but instead of being realistic, they're feeling inspired by their "maverick" candidates and they're getting mad at us, the Democrats, for wrecking their lives again.  When we let Republicans make us into the bad guys, they win the culture war, and the election.

    well (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by connecticut yankee on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:42:54 PM EST
    McCain can say what he likes.  If we define him first, we win.  in fact, the more he's talking, the better things get.

    Bullsh*t (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:38:14 PM EST
    In April he was for meeting with him and now he is against it?

    Your comment is ludicrous.


    What? (none / 0) (#23)
    by Newt on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:49:35 PM EST
    My point is that our opponents are speaking to people who don't care about the President of Spain.  They care about losing their homes and retirement investments, and McCain just blamed our guy for causing the problems, to a cheering crowd in Iowa.  We're losing the culture war.  The average American is going to think we're nit picking on McCain & Palin and miss the point of our argument that McCain actually caused their economic problems.  Maybe we're too intellectual about these things.

    How can we reach those people with a jolt of reality?  


    Really? (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:51:03 PM EST
    The people with 7 houses?

    Absurd. Completely and utterly absurd. Our opponents  are imploding before our very eyes.


    McCain's obviously part of the elite (none / 0) (#40)
    by Newt on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:20:16 PM EST
    Yet they are successfully painting Obama as elite.  Donald Trump looking for his next corporate welfare check should clue them in, but instead they're cheering McCain today as he paints Dems with the tax and spend meme.  McCain & BushCo caused the economic crisis with deregulation, but Obama's in bed with the bad guys because he hired Jim Johnson, one of the guys who took advantage of lax government oversight, at our expense.  

    McCain doesn't want to bail out those companies, but he sadly agrees the government must do so in order to help regular Americans.

    McCain misdirects and puts the blame on Obama and the Dems for not being willing to step up to the plate and solve these problems, unlike the mavericks who will shake up Washington and make everything better.

    Palin's deer in the headlights moment isn't that she's clueless, they spin it so she seems more thoughtful than Bush, she shows an expansion and refinement of the policies their side supports.  

    Much as I wish it were so, they're not imploding.  They're winning the culture war.  I thought this week would finish them, but now I see our work is even harder than it was before.


    OK (none / 0) (#52)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 02:22:14 PM EST
    So clearly you watched a McCain stump speech.  And you also seem to think that everything he says is going to be eaten up by mainstream America, despite his plummeting in the polls.

    He is now down 4 in the Gallup daily tracker.  By tomorrow it will likely be 5 or 6.  

    Yet we are to believe your claims that American's are accepting the "elitist" comments, something that hasn't even been mentioned by the media in weeks?

    Did you think the McCain campaign would simply "They got us!  We have no response for claims.  Guilty as charged"?

    Obama points out that McCain is a card carrying member of the "good ol boys" club.  McCain points out that Obama received donations from Freddie and Fannie, a crisis from 2 months ago.  Which one do you think is more relevant to the market collapsing this week?

    Your posts read like Republican talking points, and not very good ones.


    I'm glad you have confidence in our ability (none / 0) (#56)
    by Newt on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 02:51:32 PM EST
    to win, but there's no need to attack me for pointing out the effectiveness of the Repub communication strategies.  

    My posts read like Republican talking points?  Please reread my comments, flyerhawk.  They specifically delineate some of what the Repubs are saying and doing, and how their strategies mislead the electorate.  McCain & Palin are positioning themselves as representing "the comman man."  Pundits reinforced that by pointing out that Obama responded to the economic crisis by running down to a Hollywood fundraiser this week.  The elitism meme.  

    Obama just came out with a good video response to the financial crisis.  He reinforced his message with the lure of a $1000 tax break for the middle class.  He's on the right side of this issue.  But how do we communicate that with the folks who receive emails blaming the Democrats and Change for the financial mess?  How do we show that McCain & Palin don't have the experience and mental capacity to run the country (Spain gaffe, Bush Doctrine) without putting down (and driving away) low info voters who don't understand the distinctions we're making?


    When you mention (none / 0) (#59)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 02:55:42 PM EST
    Jim Johnson it seems fairly clear that you are accepting silly Republican talking points.

    Obama doesn't need to respond to every claim made by the McCain campaign.  

    Obama simply needs to continue the message that he is not a Republican and McCain is.  That is the overarching message that will win this election.


    Wow, you guys can be brutal. (none / 0) (#69)
    by Newt on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 03:46:04 PM EST
    I'm "accepting silly Republican talking points?"  I'm cowering in fear?  If you don't agree with me, fine.  There's no need to insult me.  I just don't see them melting down yet because I'm reading Republican spin as well as our own blogs and news.  I'm glad you're more optimistic than I am right now.  But I think the culture war trumps all else, and I think we need to tie McCain specifically to the economic downturn.  We have to convince undecideds that he's not trustworthy, that he's the real elitist (rich guy, panders to billionaires like Trump).  And somehow we have to find a way for people to be more comfortable with Obama.  It's OK for him to be smart, we want our president to be smart, stuff like that.

    McCain mentioned Jim Johnson again today.  It's an easy name to remember and it ties Obama to millionaire CEO's who take our money and get bailed out.  He's misdirecting, he's implying that our guy is in bed with the bad guys and is therefore responsible for our economic problems.  It resonates with voters because blaming us feels good to them.  McCain even co-opted the change message and tied it to religious fantasies (Change is Coming).  This is about feelings again, not common sense.  When it gets down to base feelings, we're usually in the right, and they usually win.

    I agree that Obama needs to stay on message that McCain=Bush, but it's also true that Rove is a master at deception.  McCain is positioned as different from Bush, a maverick who will stand up for Republican values yet somehow rein in both sides of Congress.  Their next move will be to declare the war in Iraq is over and we can draw down troops.  Undecideds will breath a collective sigh of relief, pretend the economy will get better, and vote for the mavericks who make them feel good.

    So how about we work on using this week's Repub failures to our advantage even if we don't agree on whether or not they're in meltdown mode.  Jumping on commenters and saying their posts read like Republican talking points just drives people away.  


    So tell me (none / 0) (#73)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 04:33:04 PM EST
    how many people know who Jim Johnson is?  The guy is a bit player in Obama's campaign and has no notoriety other than in political circles.

    I understand everything you're saying but I simply don't see why any of us should be concerned about it.

    McCain coopted Obama's change theme because he realizes that it is a winning strategy.  

    But I fail to see how anyone, who isn't a hard core partisan, would buy into McCain's "I fought the good ol boy's club while Obama is a member" argument.


    McCain's communication strategies (none / 0) (#61)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 02:56:35 PM EST
    this week have been an utter failure.

    That is the point. You look foolish when you cower in fear during a GOP meltdown this week.


    Exactly (none / 0) (#74)
    by flyerhawk on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 04:34:41 PM EST
    McCain followed up his best week of the campaign with his worst week of the campaign.

    The only place I see anyone spinning a positive tune out of this is RedState and some posters here.


    In listening to (none / 0) (#16)
    by Natal on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:44:48 PM EST
    the interview, the Spanish interviewer's accent when pronouncing Zapatero's confused McCain. He didn't clearly hear what she said initially . Only later when she said Spain specifically he understood but still carried on with his denouncing. You're right BTD it was reckless and could have dangerous consequences if he were Commander-in-chief.


    Hilzoy (none / 0) (#25)
    by Steve M on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 12:51:26 PM EST
    reads this similarly, although "vanity" seems a strange term.

    By golly, he doesn't get it, (none / 0) (#37)
    by KeysDan on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:12:35 PM EST
    The rain on Spain does not fall just on McCain.  It more than continues the Bush/Cheney pejorative approach to "Old Europe" and a reckless dismissive attitude toward our NATO allies.  More than continues, I say, since, the Bush administration seems to have softened ever so slightly their previous position--maybe that was when McCain was for Spain before he was against it.

    You'll be happy to hear. . . (none / 0) (#31)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:04:08 PM EST
    that, according to Nagourney:

    Senator John McCain's once easy-going if irreverent campaign presence -- endearing to crowds, though often resulting in gaffes -- has been put out to pasture.

    So I guess there's nothing to see here.  Move along.

    Hah (none / 0) (#33)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:05:55 PM EST
    Ad Nags remains an idiot.

    In two ways. . . (none / 0) (#36)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:12:20 PM EST
    first off, in a major-gaffe-a-day week for McCain the analysis is absurd.

    And secondly, how do you think the McCain campaign is going to like the phrase "out to pasture" so close to McCain's name?  Bet it's changed within a few hours.


    That didn't take long. . . (none / 0) (#51)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 02:07:34 PM EST
    New lede:

    Senator John McCain's once easy-going if irreverent campaign presence has been put aside.

    Er... (none / 0) (#34)
    by lambert on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:08:40 PM EST
    ... let's try to stay on message, shall we?

    Snark, but still...

    Have you considered. . . (none / 0) (#39)
    by LarryInNYC on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:18:22 PM EST
    that this may just be a clever ploy to lock up the Basque-American vote?

    Jai alai? (none / 0) (#41)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:20:38 PM EST
    Shame on me for my politically incorrect joke.

    Re; (none / 0) (#43)
    by az on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:27:36 PM EST
    "I didn't get the impression that he didn't know who Zapatero was or where Spain was," the reporter, Yoli Cuello, told me. "Honestly, what I thought was that he didn't want to answer the question with a yes or no answer."

    Pressed on why McCain would keep seguing into a discussion of Latin America if he knew who she was talking about, Cuello said: "I think because I was talking with him before about Latin America. He was not giving me a straight answer. I wasn't expecting a straight answer."

    Asked why she thought McCain would duck the question, she said: "The policies regarding Iraq. Because he's a Republican. The [Bush] administration doesn't have good relations with Zapatero."


    Sounds like an accurate portrayal to me , not much of a gaffe but following the policy of the current administration which is nuts to me...

    He can be bashed for being Mcsame on this policy .

    I think that she is in denial (none / 0) (#45)
    by eric on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:34:23 PM EST
    because it is too hard to believe the truth.  She sounded befuddled at the end of the interview - as if she couldn't get through to him.

    I'm sure Rove told her to say that. (none / 0) (#46)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:41:53 PM EST
    She heard what we heard (none / 0) (#48)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:42:54 PM EST
    She has no more insight on it than we do.

    This was not a face to face interview. It was on the phone.


    Not a peep about any of this on MSNBC (none / 0) (#49)
    by magster on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 01:46:51 PM EST
    Has CNN covered this at all?

    I'm sure (none / 0) (#54)
    by cannondaddy on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 02:42:25 PM EST
    Olbermann or Maddow will bring it up.  Probably both.

    This Kind of Reaction (none / 0) (#57)
    by BDB on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 02:53:13 PM EST
    always befuddles me.  To some extent, it reminds me of Obama's reaction to the debate kerfluffle regarding pre-conditions on meeting with leaders.  He clearly did not think about whether the question was about him personally or others and answered.  Then Clinton gave, IMO, the more correct answer, that she would not personally meet without preconditions, but her Administration would at lower levels (as a practical matter, this always happens because neither side wants to be embarrassed by an uncertain outcome of a meeting).  Obama then doubled down and said, nope, he meant exactly what he said, no preconditions on a presidential meeting.  Then over the course of months slowly changed his position until it was exactly what Clinton had said (and what I believe he meant) in the first place.  

    Here, we'll see if McCain does the same or tries to do the same (he doesn't have the fawning press to overlook his 180 as Obama did) and slowly retreat to his initial position all the while claiming it's never changed.  

    Of course, given that the entire economy is melting down, he'd probably be better off saying he misspoke.  It's unlikely to get very much coverage what with Harry Reid saying Congress doesn't know what to do about the mortgage crisis and Nancy Pelosi saying Congress would simply adjourn as planned.  It seems to me, the Democrats are giving him a much bigger issue to pillory them with (the appearance of fiddling while Rome burns) than this has to be for him.  But that would require admitting he made a mistake, something he seems no more able to do than Obama was.

    No idea what you are talking about (none / 0) (#58)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 02:55:14 PM EST
    He is making a good point (none / 0) (#65)
    by Steve M on Thu Sep 18, 2008 at 03:15:29 PM EST
    Obama's original gaffe re: meeting with foreign leaders was simply a case of answering a question too quickly.  Clearly, he wanted to make the point that he generally believed in diplomacy and engagement, even with "bad guys," but in answering the question with a "yes" he took it farther than he wanted to.

    But instead of simply clarifying, he chose to double down on it, saying that anyone who disagrees is "Bush/Cheney lite," etc.  Obviously he wasn't really intending to commit to personal, no-preconditions meetings in his first year of office, but he did, and he couldn't just allow himself to say "oops."

    By the same token, McCain should have just said "oops" and referred back to his reasonable position on Spain from April.  But rather than admit that he didn't hear the question properly, he chose to double down on a hardline position and now looks ridiculous.  It's a similar error in judgment to what Obama was guilty of way back when.