Friday, October 11, 2013

McCain To Fox News: No, The Shutdown Is The GOP's Fault (VIDEO)

via TPMMcCain To Fox News: No, The Shutdown Is The GOP's Fault

'via Blog this' (old style ;)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

poker face

John McCain Plays Poker While Colleagues Discuss Bombing Syria


'via Blog this'

Monday, April 5, 2010



McCain Tells Newsweek He Was Never A Maverick ...

Obama spokesperson Bill Burton responds:

"Senator McCain wants Americans to forget that during the Republican primary, he said that Americans were better off than we were eight years ago, and that he thinks we've made 'great progress economically.' He wants us to forget that he's fully embraced the Bush policies he once opposed, and bragged about supporting those policies 'more than 90 percent of time.' The truth is, being a maverick isn't practicing the same kind of politics we have seen from Washington for decades, it isn't having a campaign run by Washington lobbyists, and it's certainly not promoting the same policies that have led America down the wrong path these past eight years."

Monday, March 29, 2010



Friday, March 12, 2010

Xtranormal Wordplay

Branded 3.11.2010 via @litherland


NYT 3.11.2010 via Andrew Sullivan

Thursday, February 25, 2010

not campaigning anymore


Sen. John McCain attacked President Obama and Congressional Democrats at the health care summit for what he said was "unsavory" dealmaking, prompting a reminder from Obama that the 2008 campaign is over.

McCain, facing a tough primary challenge from the right, used Republican talking points about "special deals" which are no longer in the bill and cited the 2,400-page document that passed the Senate.

He called on Obama to "start over," and said voters "want us to sit down together and do what's best for all Americans."

"They want us to go back to the beginning," McCain said.

Obama reminded McCain (R-AZ) that "We're not campaigning anymore. The election is over."

"I'm reminded of that every day," McCain retorted.

"Both of us during the campaign promised change in Washington," McCain said, adding that Obama said he would put all of his health care negotiations in front of the camera.

"I'm glad that more than a year later they are here," McCain said.

"We promised them change in Washington and what we got was a process that you and I both said we would change in Washington," McCain said.

He charged the bill was "produced behind cloesd doors" and used the Republican-preferred nicknames for the deals made to win conservative Democrats, the "Louisiana Purchase" and "Cornhusker Kickback." He also said "special interests" such as the pharmaceutical lobby and doctors were able to secure deals.

Watch the video of their testy exchange:

. . .. ... oOo ... .. . .

longer version huffpo

Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama, Nobel Laureate

The Plum Line Greg Sargent

Senator John McCain, in a CNN interview to air Sunday, comments on Obama’s Nobel, and seems to express genuine pride at this achievement by an American president, putting him at odds with RNC chair Michael Steele’s harsh statement condeming Obama’s “star power” and lack of concrete accomplishments.

CNN sends over an advance transcript:

JOHN KING: The president of the United States, who a year ago this weekend was your campaign rival heading into the final month of the campaign, is the Nobel Peace laureate for 2009. Deserved?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: Oh, I’m sure that the president is very honored to receive this award. And Nobel Committee, I can’t divine all their intentions, but I think part of their decision-making was expectations. And I’m sure the president understands that he now has even more to live up to. But as Americans, we’re proud when our president receives an award of that prestigious category.

KING: Did it surprise you, a little more than eight months into office, at a time when, yes, he has set some lofty goals around the world, but he has not won more NATO troops for Afghanistan, he has not convinced the Israelis to do what he says is necessary to sit down with the Palestinians? Were you surprised?

MCCAIN: Well, I think all of us were surprised at — at the decision. But I — I think Americans are always pleased when their president is recognized by something on this order.

McCain said that Obama’s Nobel was based on “expectations,” which could either be a very subtle dig or a genuine effort to account for the decision. Either way, this statement is overwhelmingly congratulatory in nature. Indeed, McCain spokesperson Brooke Buchanan sends over an unequivocal thumbs-up from McCain:

I congratulate President Obama on receiving this prestigious award. I join my fellow Americans in expressing pride in our President on this occasion.”

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Joe the Plumber is a "Dumbass"

[Meghan] McCain rails against the man her father's presidential campaign touted as an American everyman and made a showpiece in the weeks before the election.

"Joe the Plumber -- you can quote me -- is a dumbass. He should stick to plumbing."

McCain also said she'd "be flattered to be considered the anti-Ann Coulter, the anti-Rush Limbaugh."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Will McCain Support Palin in 2012?

daily dish

"Listen, I think the world of Governor Palin. ... Look, whenever there's a losing campaign, there's always a little bit of back and forth that happens postmortem. Uh, look, I'm so grateful to have her as a friend. ... I think she has a big role to play [in the GOP]. ... But let me just say, I don't know who’s running and all that, but I will always be grateful to Sarah Palin for her friendship and her strong principles and leadership,"
John McCain, asked if he would support his 2008 running mate for president in 2012.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Campaign Stunt Alerts

via TPM

Just in time for the three bumpy weeks ahead Nate Silver of has unveiled this new McCain Stunt Alert Level system ...

By my own reckoning, I'm not sure whether we're at "nervous" or "edgy". But I feel like we're heading up to the warmer colors.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Letterman: "I just don't know if we can trust him"


David Letterman unleashed his most extensive commentary on his recent battle with John McCain Thursday night, re-explaining the situation and adding in news about their recent talks to have McCain appear on the "Late Show" when he is in New York for the third presidential debate.

"Now, in an attempt to save his campaign, they're talking about coming back," Letterman said, adding that McCain offered to bring Sarah Palin with him. "But they're being squirrely. Politicans can be squirrely. Because we have a date picked. We do this show every afternoon at 5:30. He wants to do the show at 5.

"So one — we have no guarantee he's going to show up, period. And we've kind of already rearranged our schedule on his behalf to save the economy, right? By getting that big-headed kid [Keith Olbermann] in here to talk about the politics. You know what I'm driving at? I just don't know if we can trust him."

Watch (full comments below, including Letterman's admission that McCain made him feel "puny" and his discussion of Keith Olbermann's "giant head"):

Now here's this thing with John know a couple of weeks ago, John McCain was supposed to be on the show. And at the last minute he calls me up -- and I've got a lot of get a call from a senator -- you get a call from a guy who is a bona fide war hero -- all of a sudden, you know, your lips start to vibrate. So I said "Sure, whatever you want." And he says, "Look, Dave, the economy is about to crater." It's about to "crater," his word. "And I have to rush back to Washington to save the economy." And so it made me feel puny. So I said, "OK, Senator, do what you have to do. Rush right back to Washington." And then I hung up and I felt like a patriot. I felt like I had done my part.

And he was supposed to be on the show like an hour later. So now, we're in a hole but everybody has to pull together in economic hardship times. So we all pull together and we get that guy with the big head from MSNBC. What's his name? Keith Olbermann, yeah. Giant head. So he comes over. He's good. He's very good.

So now it turns out, not only did he not rush back to Washington, he spent the night here in New York City. He went on Katie Couric...he was on Conan...he was on Regis...he was everywhere.

So now, in an attempt to save his campaign, they're talking about coming back. You see what I'm saying? So we said, "Sure, we would love you to come back." And even on the phone, he said, "I'll bring....Sarah." But they're being squirrely. Politicians can be squirrely. Because we have a date picked. We do this show every afternoon at 5:30. He wants to do the show at 5.

So one -- we have no guarantee he's going to show up, period. And we've kind of already rearranged our schedule on his behalf to save the economy, right? By getting that big-headed kid in here to talk about the politics. You know what I'm driving at? I just don't know if we can trust him.

And by the way, I don't need to remind you that the road to the White House runs right through here."


David Letterman, John McCain To Make Up: Report

David Letterman: "McCain's Problems Began When He Bailed Out On This Show"

David Letterman: Top Ten "Things Overheard At Palin Debate Camp"

WATCH: David Letterman's War Against John McCain Day 4: "Good Thing John McCain Blew Me Off To Go Save The Economy"

WATCH: David Letterman vs. John McCain Continues: "McCain Loves Bailouts, He Bailed Out On Me!"

CBS News Executives "Aggravated" By Letterman's Use Of Internal News Feed

WATCH: Letterman Attacks McCain Day 2: "I Feel Like An Ugly Date"

WATCH: John McCain Cancels Letterman Appearance, Letterman Catches Him In A Lie

i'd be glad to


Watch as John McCain responds to Obama's taunt that McCain isn't raising Bill Ayers and other over-the-top attack lines in Obama presence -- or as Obama put it, "say it to my face":

& Frank Schaeffer, Baltimore Sun c/o tpm

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

that one

Monday, October 6, 2008

"dishonorable, dishonest, despicable"

Daily Dish

Fallows gets uncharacteristically ruffled by McCain's Ayers attacks:

If John McCain has a better set of plans to deal with the immediate crisis, and the medium-term real-economy fallout, and the real global problems of the era -- fine, let him win on those. But it is beneath the dignity he had as a Naval officer to wallow in this mindless BS. I will say nothing about the dignity of a candidate who repeatedly winks at the public, Hooters-waitress style. A great country acts great when it matters. This is a time when it matters -- for politicians in the points they raise, for journalists in the subjects they write about and the questions they ask of candidates. And, yes, for voters.

I'm afraid that Jim is dealing with what we're all dealing with: the fact that the myth we had of McCain is, in fact, a lie. The real McCain - dishonest, dishonorable and despicable - is now in plain sight. To say I'm disillusioned would be an understatement. The last six weeks have shown us all something we'd rather never have found out. But we can't ignore it now, can we?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

stunt patrol



David Letterman Monday continued to demonstrate to John McCain that lying to the late night host is never a good idea.

In his monologue, Letterman used a joke about the bailout to hit McCain for canceling last week, saying, "Senator John McCain is in favor of the bailout. He loves bailouts — he bailed out on me."

Later, in an interview with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Letterman continued going after McCain, mentioning that not only did McCain not get on a plane to Washington when he told Letterman he was, but he also stayed the night in New York to speak to the UN the following morning.

"The information I was dealing with apparently was not true," Letterman said.

"Well I don't care for that at all," Louis-Dreyfus said. "I think that that was very rude, very bad manners, and so in an effort to show my support for you and to set the universe straight, I also scheduled an interview for exactly this time right now — and I'm not showing up for it."

Louis-Dreyfus explained that the interview she was skipping was one with Katie Couric on the "CBS Evening News" — the same show McCain ditched Letterman to appear on — which allowed Letterman to show the internal CBS news feed with Couric alone at her desk, a move that surely won't make him any more friends at the network.


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Tire Swing?

Yglesias » On the Tire Swing

Q: "What does “on the tire swing” mean?

A: It’s a Josh Marshallism. It’s the image of reporters happily riding along with whatever silliness John McCain puts out. It’s a reference to this post. Watch the video to get the reference."

Thursday, September 25, 2008


the daily dish

A reader homes in on what we are learning about John McCain:

I'm poring back in memory, over all the touchstones of McCain's recent public life, and it's all starting to make sense: his "stands" on tobacco litigation, campaign finance, immigration, taxes, even (briefly) torture. All ultimately about a self-dramatist creating a drama at which he is the center.

All failed efforts, but one now sees that success or failure - or principle - was not at all the point, ever. Who cares about those things when you get to be at the center of a great drama?

So now, as with canceling the first night of his own convention (over a storm, incidentally, that inconvenienced no one), he is lurching from one dramatic centerpiece to the next, trying to upset the metrics of this election, trying to recapture that old magic. In a moment when calm is called for, he sets his hair afire.

I know these tendencies a little too well: I'm like McCain in some ways. But that's why I decided I wasn't cut out for electoral politics.

--Andrew Sullivan
. . .. ... ..... ........ oOo ........ ..... ... .. . .

Hero Complex

TPM Reader JB gets it ...

The current stunt is certainly at the top of the list, but I think there is another aspect of his rash decision to suspend the Republican National Convention that has not been commented on enough. It wasn't just that he truncated the convention. It was that his campaign leaked that he might give his acceptance speech by live feed from the disaster zone. As if he, John S. McCain III, somehow had to be there......doing what? Commandeering FEMA? This idea that McCain had to be there in the disaster zone instead of addressing his party in St. Paul is in some ways even more ridiculous than the notion that only he could save the Wall Street bailout and that the only way to do that is to "suspend" his campaign. (Although as you and John Aravosis point out, he has a funny way of suspending his campaign given that he's doing everything he was planning on doing anyway, except debating Obama.)

--Josh Marshall

Keating 5 Scandal in 90 Seconds

h/t C&L

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Republicans Back Obama‘s Version of Meeting With Iraqi Leaders

Political Punch

Undermining McCain Campaign Attack, Republicans Back Obama‘s Version of Meeting With Iraqi Leaders

September 19, 2008 1:06 PM

Earlier this week, the campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., seized upon a column in the New York Post that described Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., as having urged Iraqi leaders in a private meeting to delay coming to an agreement with the Bush administration on the status of U.S. troops.

"Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a drawdown of the American military presence," Post columnist Amir Taheri wrote, quoting Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, who told the Post that Obama, during his meeting with Iraqi leaders in July, "asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the U.S. elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington."

The charge -- that Obama asked the Iraqis to delay signing off on a "Status of Forces Agreement," thus delaying U.S. troop withdrawal and interfering in U.S. foreign policy -- has been picked up on the Internet, talk radio and by Republicans, including the McCain campaign, which seized on the story as possible evidence of duplicity.

The Obama campaign said that the Post report consisted of "outright distortions."

Lending significant credence to Obama's response is the fact that -- though it's absent from the Post story and other retellings -- in addition to Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, this July meeting was also attended by Bush administration officials, such as U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and the Baghdad embassy's legislative affairs advisor Rich Haughton, as well as a Republican senator, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.

Attendees of the meeting back Obama's account, including not just Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., but Hagel, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffers from both parties. Officials of the Bush administration who were briefed on the meeting by the U.S. embassy in Baghdad also support Obama's account and dispute the Post story and McCain attack.

The Post story is "absolutely not true," Hagel spokesman Mike Buttry told ABC News.

"Barack Obama has never urged a delay in negotiations," said Obama campaign national security spokesperson Wendy Morigi, "nor has he urged a delay in immediately beginning a responsible drawdown of our combat brigades."

Buttry said that Hagel agrees with Obama's account of the meeting: Obama began the meeting with al-Maliki by asserting that the United States speaks with one foreign policy voice, and that voice belongs to the Bush administration.

A Bush administration official with knowledge of the meeting says that, during the meeting, Obama stressed to al-Maliki that he would not interfere with President Bush's negotiations concerning the U.S. troop presence in Iraq, and that he supports the Bush administration's position on the need to negotiate, as soon as possible, the Status of Forces Agreement, which deals with, among other matters, U.S. troops having immunity from local prosecution.

Obama did assert at the meeting with the Iraqis that he agrees with those -– including Hagel and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- who advocate congressional review of the Strategic Framework Agreement being worked out between the Bush administration and the Iraqi government, including the Iraqi parliament.

The Strategic Framework Agreement is a document that generally describes what the relationship between the two countries should look like over time.

According to one person present at the meeting, Obama told al-Maliki that the American people wouldn't understand why the Iraqi parliament would get to have a say on the Strategic Framework Agreement, but the U.S. Congress would not, especially since Bush is only months from leaving the White House, regardless of whether Obama or McCain succeeds him.

Morigi said in a statement that "Barack Obama has consistently called for any Strategic Framework Agreement to be submitted to the U.S. Congress so that the American people have the same opportunity for review as the Iraqi parliament."

It’s possible, Obama advisers believe, that either Zebari or Taheri confused the Strategic Framework Agreement -- which Obama feels should be reviewed by Congress -- with the Status of Forces Agreement, which Obama says the Bush administration should negotiate with the Iraqis as soon as possible.

Two officials of the Bush administration say that if Obama had done what the Post story asserted –- which they believe to be untrue -– Crocker and embassy officials attending the meeting would have ensured that the Bush administration heard about it immediately. If such an incident occurred in front of officials of the Bush administration, it would have constituted a foreign policy breach and would have been front-page huge news; it would not have leaked out two months later in an op-ed column.

Nonetheless, based on nothing more than the Post report, McCain senior foreign policy adviser Randy Scheunemann issued a statement earlier this week, expressing outrage.

“It should be concerning to all that (Obama) reportedly urged that the democratically-elected Iraqi government listen to him rather than the U.S. administration in power,” Scheunemann said, apparently not having talked to anyone with knowledge about the meeting in the Bush administration, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, Hagel, or any Republican staffers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“If news reports are accurate, this is an egregious act of political interference by a presidential candidate seeking political advantage overseas,” Scheunemann continued. “Sen. Obama needs to reveal what he said to Iraq's foreign minister during their closed door meeting. The charge that he sought to delay the withdrawal of Americans from Iraq raises serious questions about Sen. Obama's judgment, and it demands an explanation.”

What actually demands an explanation is why the McCain campaign was so willing to give credence to such a questionable story with such tremendous international implications without first talking to Republicans present at Obama’s meeting with al-Maliki, who back Obama’s version of the meeting and completely dismiss the Post column as untrue.

-- Jake Tapper and Kirit Radia

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

talking point spew


John McCain Versus John McCain

Tue Sep 16, 2008 at 11:10:02 AM PDT

Since it's always fun to listen to John McCain argue with John McCain, let's revisit McCain's two reactions to the Wall Street meltdown yesterday. First there was this:

And then, a couple of hours later:

Besides probably being the fastest flip-flop in political history, these two conflicting statements also provide some insight for undecided voters...they learned that that famous "straight talk" isn't all it's cracked up to be, and that John McCain is right...he really doesn't know too much about economics.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Count the Lies - McCainPedia

from Daily Dish


Doofus Boy on Parade

Fox's Megyn Kelly Works Over McCain Flack

Jason Linkins, HuffPo

A fortnight ago, we noted of the way CNN's Campbell Brown stumped McCain spokesperson Tucker "Anchorman" Bounds with a bunch of questions to which he could provide no straight answer. But that was before the "Hey! Has Anyone Noticed That McCain Lies All The Time" Media Backlash of 2008. Now, Bounds cannot even obtain safe quarter at Fox News.

This morning, Megyn Kelly roadblocked several of Bounds' attempts at glib explanations, ordering Bounds to "stay on point," relating that "every independent analyst who took a look at" McCain's contention that Obama would be raising taxes on the middle class noted that "that's not true," suggesting that McCain "level with the American people," and even providing pushback on the McCain camp's misleading contentions on an age-appropriate sex-education bill that Obama voted for in the Illinois State Senate.

"I looked at the language of the bill," Kelly stated, "Age appropriate sex education about child predators and inappropriate touching. What is wrong with that?" Well, what's wrong with that, of course, is that Obama opted against those precious town hall meetings that McCain wanted, so now children aren't allowed to be protected from pedophiles, I guess.



McCain Loses Fox News: Megyn Kelly Rips McCain Flack For Claiming Obama Would Raise Middle Class Taxes [ThinkProgress]

Friday, September 12, 2008


Sam Stein, HuffPo

When does being a governor or mayor for a short period of time not disqualify your credentials on national security? When you are John McCain and your task is to defend your vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

When does being a governor or mayor for a short period of time ABSOLUTELY disqualify your credentials on national security? When you are John McCain and your task is to defeat primary opponents Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani.

Back in October 2007, when McCain's candidacy still appeared dead and buried, the Senator berated the two Republican front runners for lacking the necessary political experience to handle commander in chief responsibilities.

"I have had a strong and a long relationship on national security, I've been involved in every national crisis that this nation has faced since Beirut, I understand the issues, I understand and appreciate the enormity of the challenge we face from radical Islamic extremism," the Senator declared. "I am prepared. I am prepared. I need no on-the-job training. I wasn't a mayor for a short period of time. I wasn't a governor for a short period of time."

Fast-forward nearly a year, and the argument McCain made back then is being used against his vice presidential pick today. Only Sarah Palin held the post of mayor of Wasilla for less time than Rudy Giuliani headed New York City. And her gubernatorial stint in Alaska is shorter than that of Mitt Romney's in Massachusetts.

McCain, not surprisingly, has changed his tune. His campaign has suggested that as head of Alaska's national guard, Palin had more national security experience than Obama. The Senator himself went on Fox News and declared:

"I'm so proud that she has displayed the kind of judgment and she has the experience and judgment as an executive... She's been commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard ... she's had judgment on these issues. She's had 12 years of elected office experience, including traveling to Kuwait, including being involved in these issues. I'm so proud she has the experience and judgment as an executive."

And yet, for critics, Palin's interview with ABC on Thursday evening was an apt demonstration of the criticisms McCain raised about mayors and governors back in October. In her first interview since being tapped as McCain's vice president, Palin showed, in some respects, the limitations of her foreign policy capacity. Time's Joe Klein wrote, "A joke... This woman clearly has no idea what she's talking about. What an embarrassment." Unable to define the Bush Doctrine and contradicting McCain on Pakistan, she acknowledged that she had only visited a handful of countries and never met with another world leader. Then, it was her turn to ridicule the lengthy Washington resume that defines McCain.

"Charlie, again, we've got to remember what the desire is in this nation at this time," she said to the ABC host. "It is for no more politics as usual and somebody's big, fat resume maybe that shows decades and decades in that Washington establishment, where, yes, they've had opportunities to meet heads of state."

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Crooks and Liars:

McCain campaign aide Mark Soohoo reassured voters that “John McCain is aware of the Internet” and “You don’t actually have to use a computer to understand how it shapes the country.”

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Clarke Blasts McCain Campaign for "9/10 Mindset" Statement


Richard Clarke made an appearance as an Obama surrogate on a conference call with reporters moments ago, hitting back very hard against the McCain camp's claim today that Obama has a "September 10th mindset."

"I'm frankly disgusted at my friends on the McCain campaign," Clarke said, perhaps being a bit optimistic in describing those folks as still being "friends" of his. Clark referred to the McCain camp's claim that Dems only favor a law enforcement approach to terrorism, and accused McCain advisers of "completely and utterly distorting the record of that party."

"They said that about Bill Clinton," Clarke continued. "They said that about John Kerry. And now they're saying it about Barack Obama. I'd like them to show where in the record Barack Obama has favored only a law enforcement approach."

The Obama camp hastily assembled the call after the news spread this morning about the McCain camp's attacks.

Clarke emphasized that Obama has unveiled a comprehensive anti-terror plan and has said that he would be willing to act on actionable intelligence to pursue Al Qaeda suspects in Pakistan. "This is the Karl Rove strategy of taking what the truth is, and stating the opposite," Clarke said of the McCain team's charges.

This attack today by the McCain team signals a new phase in the race and is a major test for the Obama campaign, which will need to respond far more effectively to this sort of stuff than John Kerry did. And it was a good move to roll out Clarke as a way of signaling that the Obama team will indeed respond aggressively and fast.

Friday, June 13, 2008

John McCain Denies Social Security Comments - Politics on The Huffington Post

John McCain Denies Social Security Comments - Politics on The Huffington Post

John McCain tried to deny past comments on Social Security reform yesterday, a move which has exposed him to criticism from his rival as well as obscuring the record on what entitlement changes McCain would seek to correct.

During last night's pre-screened town hall, John McCain took a hard line against George Bush's plan to privatize social security saying, "But I'm not for quote privatizing Social Security, I never have been, I never will be."

But that doesn't quite fit with past comments made by McCain on social security. In fact, he was a big supporter of privatizing social security in 2004:

"Without privatization, I don't see how you can possibly, over time, make sure that young Americans are able to receive Social Security benefits."
The DNC has footage of both statements:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Worst Presidential Candidate” in Modern History?

I attended a forum last week with Daily Kos’ Markos Moulitisos and Simon Rosenberg, head of the New Democratic Network (NDN). The latter asserted that John McCain was the “worst presidential candidate” in the nation’s modern political history, and contended that there was a “25% chance” that he would be replaced as the Party’s nominee. Having previously written Why McCain Can’t Win, I was not surprised by Rosenberg’s assessment. But he noted some key McCain defects that the traditional media has largely ignored, bolstering his case that the presumptive Republican nominee is a much weaker candidate than 1996’s Bob Dole.

* * * *

He noted the candidate’s inability to correctly identify the religious factions in either Iraq or Iran, his flip-flopping on aid to victims of Hurricane Katrina, and his even more flagrant backflips in his stance on comprehensive immigration reform.

He noted that no candidate in memory has so frequently misstated his own positions/track record. Rosenberg even cited an example where McCain took a position in a speech that directly contradicted his website; McCain explained the discrepancy by saying his own website was wrong.

To paraphrase George W. Bush, the presumptive Republican nominee is clearly a guy who doesn’t “get” the Internets.

* * * *

Worse than Bob Dole

Some believe that Dole was the worst national presidential candidate in modern history. But those who remember former Kansas Senator Bob Dole for something other than Viagra ads know that he had a wry sense of humor and was quite popular among his fellow Republican Senators. Despite having to play “hatchet man” as the VP nominee for Gerald Ford in 1976, Dole very much helped the ticket (his debate comment about WWI and WWII being “Democratic wars” notwithstanding.)

Dole was a weak nominee against incumbent Bill Clinton in 1996, but had the support of the Republican base. In contrast, Rosenberg repeated the widely held view that his fellow Republican Senators are actually scared of McCain having his hand anywhere near the nuclear button.

As Rosenberg observed, once groups like EMILY’s List get through exposing McCain’s staunch opposition to a woman’s right to choose, few will be claiming that Obama has a “woman problem.” (The fact that polls had him leading Clinton among women at the end of the race was widely ignored by the traditional media).

And McCain’s pre-2007 stances on comprehensive immigration reform (which he once supported but now opposes), hostility to right-wing preachers (he’s now their buddy), and support for campaign finance reform (he has since manipulated the public financing law as part of his primary campaign) estranged him from the Republican base. His shift to the right since 2007 will not lead the party’s base to go all out for him as they did for George W. Bush.

The long list of McCain flip-flops, which include his support for Bush’s waging of the war, is not widely known. According to Rosenberg, this is about to change, and we should start seeing evidence of this less favorable coverage of the “maverick” Republican this week.
more ...

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

McCain's Oratorical Problem

Andrew Sullivan

There's an almost universal dismay across the blogosphere at McCain's flat, odd and underwhelming speech.

Matthew Yglesias:
...despite the general badness of his speaking manner, McCain does have highs and lows. You can tell that he gets excited, personally, when talking in a generic way about how America is awesome. But when he waxes about reforming government institutions, it's obvious that McCain is bored and not at all the kind of person who's inclined to immerse himself in the details of these kind of issues.
Rich Lowry:
McCain's speeches are better on paper. I thought the Iraq passage was fantastic when I read it in the advanced text--but McCain's delivery deadens it somehow.
Ezra Klein:
The content of McCain's speech is basically what you'd expect, but the delivery is really peculiar. His voice is artificially high, he's grinning more frequently then usual, his tone is jumping octaves to soften the end of his sentences. It's a cuddly, almost delicate delivery, as if he were reading a storybook to really young children. It's extremely disconcerting.
Mark Levin:
Not to offend those who might be offended, but this speech is a mash and tough to digest. You have to get through the self-congratulatory praise of independence and commander-in-chief pose from the Senate, then you have to try to follow the inconsistency of some of his big-government ideas vs. his anti-big-government rhetoric, and his inconsistency even on his supposed strength -- the surge in Iraq vs. closing GITMO and conferring additional rights on the detainees.
Jennifer Rubin:
It was aggressive, feisty (especially the repeated mantra of “that’s not change we can believe in”), a bit funny and showed some growth in the McCain campaign’s strategy — a new determination to make this race about something, not just about the candidate. Still, I suspect the rather staid setting and energy level won’t compare well with what is sure to be the rock concert-like event for Obama later tonight. And on two final cosmetic notes, McCain looked a bit washed out in the setting and is improved (but not yet great) on the teleprompter.
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& TPM 6.3.2008

& Daily Kos 6.4.2008

& TPM/Veracifier 6.4.2008

  • McCain repeats canard about Obama's voting record in the senate (i.e., that it is the most liberal ...). But ... NOT!

& flash forward 11.9.2011: Rick Perry (by TPM)
Not since John McCain's green-screen speech has an epically bad performance caused the TV punditry to recoil the way it did last night to Rick Perry's debate brain freeze. Watch.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Crooks and Liars » McCain Gaffe Watch: Gets another basic Iran fact wrong

Crooks and Liars » McCain Gaffe Watch: Gets another basic Iran fact wrong

Joe Klein confronts Senator McCain on his Obama-Ahmadinejad smear and, while trying to justify it, gets a basic fact about Iranian leadership wrong.

Being that Ahmadinejad is such a villainous figure, John McCain has a vested interest in tying everything having to do with Iran back to him. But the fact is that Ahmadinejad wields much less political power than McCain and other neocons would have you believe. In reality, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is in charge of foreign affairs as well as the controversial nuclear program. But it’s much more effective to link everything back to the Ahmadinejad boogeyman and his anti-Semitic rhetoric. It’s the cheap way out and, therefore, you can expect more of it from the right.

Ilan Goldenberg of the National security Network gets it exactly right:

On top of that as Klein points out, the President’s job is to educate the public on questions of policy. So if the “average American” thinks that Ahmadinejad is the ultimate leader of Iran, it’s up to the President to dissuade them of this notion - not reinforce it. Back in 2002 more then half of Americans thought Saddam was responsible for 9/11 and President Bush did nothing to disprove this assumption (In fact, while never directly claiming that Saddam was responsible for 9/11 the Administration did everything it could to reinforce the notion). That doesn’t mean our policy should be based on those false assumptions.

. . .. ... ..... ........ oOo ........ ..... ... .. . .

& another 5.30.2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

Saturday, May 17, 2008

absurdity as unifying force

c/o C&L


The McCain campaign’s greenwashing efforts are getting hit from all sides and could actually provide a unifying factor across the political spectrum: everyone finds it absurd. As per EarthFirst, Finally, Something the Righties and Lefties All Agree On: McCain Needs to Stop this Environment Crap.

While those concerned about seeing that nation (and global community) rise up to address the challenges of Global Warming with enough seriousness are concerned over the inadequacies of McCain’s proposals and find the concept of “eco-friendly items” at the McCain campaign store utterly absurd (for fund, see the comments section here), the (uber) conservatives are outraged that McCain is taking a step toward the reality-based policy world. Let’s take Rush Limbaugh, for example:

“The troubling thing here, Senator McCain, is I’m mapping out plans here to try to persuade Republicans to eventually cross over to vote for you and this is not making it any easier,” conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh said on his May 12 show. “At some point Republicans are going to have to decide whether to cross the aisle and vote for McCain. Clearly, he’s rolling the dice in thinking that the ‘green’ community and the independents and the yutes out there will buy into this global warming business and think he’s different than the average conservative Republican and that will stand him in good stead.”

Note that Limbaugh is stating that voting for the Republican nominee for President will be, in his definition, a “cross-over” vote. To vote for McCain would be “cross the aisle”. For me, this shows yet another way that Limbaugh is disconnected from reality, as if McCain has not be a highly loyal Republican through the years, despite his media stardom as (the myth of) the Great Maverick.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Friday, May 9, 2008

Monday, May 5, 2008

McCain's YouTube problem

Daily Kos

John McCain has a YouTube problem.

The Republican candidate who is hailed by the press as a "maverick" has benefited greatly from the media's adoration (Chris Matthews once famously said "The press loves McCain. We're his base, I think."). Wooed with BBQs and bus trips, members of the press have largely given "St. McCain" a free ride (as an aside: see SusanG's excellent book review of "Free Ride" here).

With a handful of exceptions, many members of the press refuse to hold McCain to the standards against which the Democratic candidates are being measured. Accordingly, McCain has galloped by stumbles that may have doomed any other candidate: confusing Shiite (Iran) and Sunni (al Qaeda), not knowing whether contraceptives prevent the spread of HIV ("you've stumped me"), etc.

But this is 2008, not 2000, and while McCain's oh-so-cozy relationship with the press means he can continue to avoid the glaring scrutiny which other candidates must endure, today's voters need not rely on the well-fed and well-pandered press corp to know the real John McCain.

From blogs to YouTube to every nook and cranny of the internet between, voters today are more skeptical of the press and more likely to rely on the internet for information than ever before. We've seen how the tools of the new digital era can augment media narratives (see Clinton, Bosnia, & YouTube) and how they can provide context to other narratives (see Obama, Wright, and a speech on race with 4.4 million views).

Will these modern digital tools be able to affect -- or counteract against -- the St. McCain narrative?

McCain's Achilles' heel has always been his policy oscillations. His limber "principles" allow him to sweep from one side of an issue to another; they are generally lauded as badges of maverickness in the press and recognized by the reality-based community largely as panderiffic moments of Washington as usual. And until now, because the traditional media has refused to properly cover these flip-flops and distortions, McCain has been able to get away with saying one thing and doing another, or voting one way and soon thereafter voting another. But how will the real McCain -- whiplash policy McCain -- play out in 2008, where video and blogs will be able to juxtapose his stances and statements in such a manner that shatters the myth of McCain as an "honest broker"?

In this modern election era, for example, how will the following play out?

On how safe it is in Iraq:

Yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told CNN that that President Bush’s escalation in Iraq is going so well, "General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed humvee." On Monday, he told radio host Bill Bennett that there "are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods, today."

This morning, during an interview with McCain, CNN’s John Roberts rebutted McCain’s assertions, stating, "I checked with General Petraeus’s people overnight and they said he never goes out in anything less than an up-armored humvee." He added that a new report by retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey "said no Iraqi government official, coalition soldier, diplomat reporter could walk the streets of Baghdad without heavily armed protection."

Faced with overwhelming evidence that he was wrong, McCain denied he’d ever said it: "Well, I’m not saying they could go without protection. The President goes around America with protection. So, certainly I didn’t say that."

On the possibility of tearing down the Ninth Ward:

McCain said he didn’t know what his plans would be. "That’s why we need to go back," he said, "to have a conversation about what to do about it. Rebuild it? Tear it down? Ya know, whatever it is."

From North Carolina, Clinton seized the opportunity to attack. "Sen. McCain said he might want to tear down the Ninth Ward instead of rebuilding it," she said. "But I went to the Ninth Ward after Katrina and met with people there and saw the destruction and I saw the resilience in their eyes and they deserve our help to rebuild and regain their lives and their homes."

Steve Schmidt, a senior McCain aide, said Clinton’s attack was "inaccurate." "Sen. McCain has said the levees must be strengthened on time so people can make a decision on whether to return based on safety," he said, adding that he would like to see a "safe, vibrant community emerge" after the appropriate flood plan.

Even before Clinton made her comments, McCain had been asked to clarify. "I don’t remember ever saying it," he said Thursday afternoon on his way from Xavier University to the New Orleans airport.

On economics:

RUSSERT: Senator McCain, you have said repeatedly, "I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated." Is it a problem for your campaign that the economy is now the most important issue, one that, by your own acknowledgement, you're not well-versed on?

McCAIN: Actually, I don't know where you got that quote from. I'm very well-versed in economics.

On Saddam Hussein:

ROUND 1: Do you think Saddam is a threat?

"I believe that Saddam Hussein presents clear and present danger to the United States of America with his continued pursuit acquire weapons of mass destruction." [CNN Late Edition, 3/3/02]

"I never said that it was a, quote, clear and present danger because of weapons of mass destruction." [Hardball, 9/17/03]

On Samuel Alito:

As John McCain neared his momentous primary election victory in Florida after a ferocious campaign questioning his conservative credentials, right-wingers buzzed over word that he had privately suggested that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was too conservative. In response, McCain said he recalled saying no such thing and added that Alito was a "magnificent" choice. In fact, multiple sources confirm that the senator made negative comments about Alito nine months ago [...]

In a conference call with bloggers that day, McCain said, "I don't recall a conversation where I would have said that." He was "astonished" by the Alito quote, he said, and he repeatedly says at town meetings, "We're going to have justices like Roberts and Alito."

The above is just a smattering of the materials available online which expose the real McCain -- the McCain who takes a position, then forgets taking said position, or denies taking said position, creating his own convenient reality along the way. And when McCain's words are set against McCain's words online -- as they are, for example, in this YouTube video, or this one, or this one -- the effect is devastating.

McCain has enjoyed success thus far by courting the traditional media. It is a tried and true model for him. But the new media tools of 2008 pose a minefield for journalists' favorite "maverick." After all, unlike with members of the press, it's hard to get millions of YouTube viewers or thousands of blog readers to eat out of your hands.

For over a decade, McCain has been able to craft the image of a moderate, independent guy by controlling the media environment around him. When that control is non-existent online, when ordinary citizens are each armed with their own tools to tarnish McCain's shining armor, that's when the real McCain will be exposed.

It remains to be seen whether truth ferreted out online will be able to impact the way an adoring press covers McCain's candidacy. Will McCain's candidacy -- which thrives because of an obedient traditional media -- will be able to survive the rigors of campaigning in the digital era?

Friday, May 2, 2008

100 years apoplexy


There's a simple point behind the 100 years furor -- or perhaps I should say the 100 years GOP apoplexy. Now it's McCain and the Republicans who are adding words like 'fight' and 'war' and the like, which the ad does not use. But what's really driving them nuts is that all you really have to do is line up three words, or two words and a phrase. 'Iraq' + 'Stay' + '100 years'. As Hillel might have said, all the rest is commentary. And as most voters would say, none of it really matters.

He said it. And more importantly, he means it. As Hertzberg aptly put it, 'McCain wants to stay in Iraq until no more Americans are getting killed, no matter how long it takes and how many Americans get killed achieving that goal--that is, the goal of not getting any more Americans killed. And once that goal is achieved, we'll stay.'

--Josh Marshall

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Progressive Media U.S.A., the third-party pro-Dem group that has vowed to raise $40 million to target McCain in advance of the general election, is already feeling the influence of its new leader, Media Matters' David Brock.

The group has just launched a new McCain "fact check" site called whose goal is to keep the press' coverage of McCain on the up and up.

Fact-check sites that are essentially appendages of campaigns have been all the rage in this election, but this one could prove a useful resource. Take a look.

Friday, April 25, 2008

$50/hr to pick lettuce: not enough for 'Americans'?


Following up on the post from earlier this morning about Sen. McCain's claim that you can't find Americans willing to do hard manual labor for $50 an hour, this from the TPM mailbag ...

My name is Kevin Flynn, I am the legislative/political director for the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers. Our union is an affiliate of the BCTD. I was at the legislative conference when McCain lost his cool and began this tirade. Your readers are correct, his assertion was that no American would be willing to do this work for $50.00 an hour. There are those who will argue that offering such a wage to American workers would not be adequate incentive, but clearly to an audience of construction workers this is not the case. Our president was behind him on stage when he made this asinine comment in response to the public outcry he received because of his very vocal support of comprehensive immigration reform, Our president(and myself since I worked in the field as well) was struck dumb because our members(not unlike those of the other trades represented in the crowd) work 8-12 hours each day in the heat throughout the country bending over and laying 80 lb concrete blocks, heavy stone & marble, brick, and working in hellish conditions worse than the Arizona summer.

Your original point was correct, John McCain is clueless when it comes to the economy or the experiences of ordinary people who work for a living. His only working experiences were as a pilot in the Navy and as a member of the House of Representatives and the Senate. It should be very apparent from this ludicrous offer he made to people doing similar work and in a fair number of states for less. If you have any questions, please feel free to email or call me.

--Josh Marshall

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fake Family Recipes

David Weiner, HuffPo

It took less than 12 hours from the time the media caught wind of Cindy McCain's recipe theft for John McCain's campaign website to scrub away the offending pages (screen-captured below). That's 12 hours more than it took Cindy to come up with the recipes... (In the meantime, you can still see the listing of recipes as it originally appeared on the campaign website through the Google cache.)

It also turns out that Mrs. McCain submitted "her" Passion Fruit Mousse recipe to the New York Sun for an article that ran on January 16th. Just like on the McCain campaign site, there is no sourcing other than McCain herself...

CNN (and TMZ) are now reporting that Recipegate was the work of an intern, and that according to McCain's campaign, the whole thing is a "low-level unpaid staff debacle."

Personally, I'm not sure how an intern can be responsible for messing up the McCain "family" recipes. Did the intern lose Cindy's recipe box only to haphazardly try to replace them with Food Network recipes?

more ...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

100 Years in Iraq


I'm feeling sorry for some of my journalistic colleagues who are freely letting themselves get slapped around by John McCain and his press hounds on his '100 years' in Iraq promise.

In this morning's episode of TPMtv, we noted how McCain didn't just say this once in an off-the-cuff exchange, as he's claimed. He actually said it numerous times during the primary season. And he was so into it that 100 years was actually the shortest period of time he boasted about.

Now McCain and his handlers are trying to say he wasn't talking about 'war' in Iraq or even an 'occupation' but only a 'presence' in which no US military personnel are killed and seemingly one which doesn't cost anything either.

If reporters who've bought into McCain's explanation actually think this is true, then the logical follow-up is to ask: if he is only happy continuing the 'presence' in Iraq for a century under his fantasy conditions, how long is he willing to continue it with a price tage of $100 billion and hundreds of US military fatalities a year? Or how about $50 billion and only 500 fatalities a year. If he really wants to run away from the bold commitments he made as a primary season candidate, reporters really need to do some due diligence gaming out just what he means.

More in the vid ...

--Josh Marshall

& Hendrik Hertzberg The New Yorker 1.4.2008

& Dave Tiffany (the NH voter who asked the question) HuffPo 4.8.2008

& TPM, fixing up a little We the Media

& Reid & McConnell Senate Floor 4.9.2008

Monday, April 7, 2008

10 things to know about McCain

For all the coverage this week of Senator John McCain's background, there are some important things you won't learn about him from the TV networks. His carefully crafted positive image relies on people not knowing this stuff—and you might be surprised by some of it.

Please check out the list below, and then forward it to your friends, family, and coworkers. We can't rely on the media to tell folks about the real John McCain—but if we all pass this along, we can reach as many people as CNN Headline News does on a good night.

10 things you should know about John McCain (but probably don't).
  1. John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has "evolved," yet he's continued to oppose key civil rights laws.

  2. According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain "will make Cheney look like Gandhi."

  3. His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.

  4. McCain opposes a woman's right to choose. He said, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned."

  5. The Children's Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children's health care bill last year, then defended Bush's veto of the bill.

  6. He's one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a "second job" and skip their vacations.

  7. Many of McCain's fellow Republican senators say he's too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He's erratic. He's hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."

  8. McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.

  9. McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his "spiritual guide," Rod Parsley, believes America's founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a "false religion." McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church "the Antichrist" and a "false cult."

  10. He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0—yes, zero—from the League of Conservation Voters last year.

John McCain is not who the Washington press corps make him out to be. Please help get the word out—forward this to your personal network. And if you want to be kept posted on MoveOn's work to get the truth out about John McCain, sign up here.