McCain’s Gaffes Receiving More Attention

We expect liberal blogs to spread around the details of all of John McCain’s gaffes (just as the conservative blogs have enjoyed Barack Obama’s claim to have campaigned in fifty-seven states). Now coverage of McCain’s increasingly frequent gaffes has been picked up by The Poltico, starting with these recent examples:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said “Iraq” when he apparently meant “Afghanistan” on Monday, adding to a string of mixed-up word choices that is giving ammunition to the opposition.

Just in the past three weeks, McCain has also mistaken “Somalia” for “Sudan,” and even football’s Green Bay Packers for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While seeing documentation of every gaffe has become increasingly common in the You Tube era, in McCain’s case they tend to be far more frequent, and are often concentrated on foreign affairs, which McCain claims to be an area of expertise. The article later has a more detailed review of his gaffes:

“First Gaffe of Obama Trip … Goes To McCain,” blared Monday afternoon’s banner headline on the left-leaning Huffington Post, accompanied by a photo of McCain appearing to slap his forehead.

That referred to an posting asserting that McCain appeared to confuse Iraq and Afghanistan in a “Good Morning America” interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, who asked whether the “the situation in Afghanistan is precarious and urgent.”

McCain responded: “I’m afraid it’s a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq/Pakistan border,” McCain said. The ABC posting added: “Iraq and Pakistan do not share a border. Afghanistan and Pakistan do.”

Unfortunately for McCain, that wasn’t an isolated slip. Among the other lapses:

• “Somalia” for “Sudan” — As recounted in a reporter’s pool report from McCain’s Straight Talk Express bus on June 30, the senator said while discussing Darfur, a region of Sudan: “How can we bring pressure on the government of Somalia?”

Senior adviser Mark Salter corrected him: “Sudan.”

• “Germany” for “Russia” — A YouTube clip from last year memorializes McCain referring to Vladimir Putin of Russia — following a trip to Germany — as “President Putin of Germany.”

• This spring, McCain said troops in Iraq were “down to pre-surge levels” when in fact there were 20,000 more troops than when the surge policy began.

• Also this spring, McCain twice appeared to mistake Sunnis and Shiites, two branches of Islam that split violently.

• In Phoenix earlier this month, McCain referred to “Czechoslovakia,” which has been divided since Jan. 1, 1993, into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. He also referred to Czechoslovakia during a debate in November and a radio show in April.

• In perhaps the most curious incident, McCain said earlier this month that as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, he had tried to confuse his captors by giving the names of Pittsburgh Steelers starting players when asked to identify his squadron mates. McCain has told the story many times over the years — but had always referred correctly to the names he gave as members of the Green Bay Packers.

Besides the problem of having so many gaffes on foreign policy matters, the gaffes create another problem for McCain:

But McCain’s mistakes raise a serious, if uncomfortable question: Are the gaffes the result of his age? And what could that mean in the Oval Office?

Voters, thinking about their own relatives, can be expected to scrutinize McCain’s debate performances for signs of slippage.

Every voter has a parent, grandparent or a friend whose mental acuity declined as they grew older. It happens at different times for different people — and there is ample evidence many in their 70s are as sharp and fit as ever.

In McCain’s case, his medical records, public appearances and travel schedule have suggested he remains at the top of his game.

But his liberal critics have been pouncing on every misstatement as a sign that he’s an old man.

Already, late-night comics have made McCain’s age an almost nightly topic, with CBS’s David Letterman getting a laugh just about any time he says the words “McCain” and “nap” in the same sentence.

Last week, McCain tried to defuse the issue by pretending to doze off during an appearance with NBC’s Conan O’Brien.

Regardless of the reason for the gaffes, they do not help McCain’s campaign themes of both having more experience on foreign policy and of Barack Obama being too inexperienced.

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  1. 1
    PolticialWorld says:

    Let us not blame it on age, let us blame it on his true lack of knowledge of world affairs.  There are enough policy problems with a McCain Administration to point out, picking on his age may gain sympathy votes.

  2. 2
    David Drissel says:

    It’s high time that McCain is revealed as someone who is incredibly ignorant and uninformed on a wide range of issues. Despite his vaunted “experience,” it is painfully obvious that McCain is not only unknowledgeable about many important domestic and international issues facing the country, but lacks even a rudimentary understanding of the economy and foreign affairs. Certainly, all candidates make occasional gaffes in their speeches and press conferences. But in contrast to most politicians, McCain never seems to learn from his misstatements. Instead, he repeats the same erroneous comments over and over again. Of course, McCain’s gaffes are not due to his age alone, since he has apparently always been rather idiotic, even as a young man. By his own admission, McCain “barely passed” his coursework in college. He also finished at the very bottom of his class in the U.S. naval academy. He was ranked 894th of 899 among academy graduates in the class of 1958. Can the guy even read and write? I wonder sometimes. One thing we know for sure is that McCain has never really used the Internet and lacks any basic knowledge when it comes to information technology. He revealed as much at last year’s Republican YouTube debate. McCain’s Internet ignorance and apparent technophobia is not only embarrassing, it’s inexcusable for anyone working in government to not know how to use the Internet. Do we really need a modern-day Luddite in the Oval Office?

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