Fast-forward to today. McCain is touring the Mideast, bucking up his foreign policy cred. But in a press conference yesterday, McCain made a HUGE gaffe:
Ford also made what most observers considered to be an important blunder. In response to a question asked by Max Frankel of the New York Times concerning the Soviet influence in Eastern Europe, Ford said, "There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never will be under a Ford administration." Frankel responded, "I'm sorry ... did I understand you to say, sir, that the Soviets are not using Eastern Europe as their own sphere of influence in occupying most of the countries there?" Ford responded, "I don't believe ... that the Yugoslavians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the Romanians consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. I don't believe that the Poles consider themselves dominated by the Soviet Union. Each of these countries is independent, autonomous, it has its own territorial integrity, and the United States does not concede that those countries are under the domination of the Soviet Union."
In response Carter said he'd like to see Ford "convince the Polish-Americans and the Czech-Americans and the Hungarian-Americans in this country that those countries don't live under the domination and supervision of the Soviet Union behind the Iron Curtain."News reports about the debate were dominated by Ford's statement and its potential effect on the race. Most observers felt the debate proved to be a turning point and the key to Carter's narrow electoral victory.
Sen. John McCain, traveling in the Middle East to promote his foreign policy expertise, misidentified in remarks Tuesday which broad category of Iraqi extremists are allegedly receiving support from Iran.This is a blunder of huge proportions. How could we possibly trust McCain with CIC powers if he doesn't even know the basic details about our adversaries in the MidEast? How could we possibly let a man this clueless into a tour of the White house, let alone run the place? He doesn't even have the faintest idea of what he's talking about!
He said several times that Iran, a predominately Shiite country, was supplying the mostly Sunni militant group, al-Qaeda. In fact, officials have said they believe Iran is helping Shiite extremists in Iraq.
Speaking to reporters in Amman, the Jordanian capital, McCain said he and two Senate colleagues traveling with him continue to be concerned about Iranian operatives "taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back."
Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it was "common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that's well known. And it's unfortunate." A few moments later, Sen. Joseph Lieberman, standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in the presidential candidate's ear. McCain then said: "I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda."
The mistake threatened to undermine McCain's argument that his decades of foreign policy experience make him the natural choice to lead a country at war with terrorists. In recent days, McCain has repeatedly said his intimate knowledge of foreign policy make him the best equipped to answer a phone ringing in the White House late at night.
To be perfectly honest, I'm shocked. I know McCain is pretty clueless about most things, and really only cares about two things: 1) superficial politics related to his own stature and 2) War. I would expect him to say stupid stuff about all sorts of things, like the economy for instance. But he should get this war stuff down, right? To suggest Iran is training Al Qaeda is insane, to say the least.
Expect the media to take a pass on this, of course. They love McCain; they're his base. Just think if Obama or Clinton had said something like this. The media would be calling for them to quit the campaign immediately.