September 30th, 2008
12:30 PM ET
4 years ago

McCain fudges circumstances of Palin's Pakistan comments

Sarah Palin met with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari last week during the UNGA.
Sarah Palin met with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari last week during the UNGA.

SEDONA, Arizona (CNN) – In a Tuesday interview on CNN’s American Morning, John McCain dismissed news reports about Sarah Palin’s pronouncement that the United States should “absolutely” attack terrorists within Pakistan as nothing more than “sound bite politics.”

But McCain refused to acknowledge that Joe Biden’s recent criticisms of clean coal - comments used by the McCain campaign in a radio ad and Web video - occurred under similar off-the-cuff circumstances.

John Roberts asked McCain about his joint interview with Palin on Monday’s CBS Evening News, in which both candidates asserted that Palin’s caught-on-camera remarks constituted “gotcha journalism.”

“But at the same time you have gone after Senator Biden for a comment that he made under similar circumstances about clean coal technology,” Roberts asked. “Your campaign even released a video of part of his comments. Was that gotcha politics?”

“Well, I believe it was at a town hall meeting that he said it,” McCain said of Biden. “This was - hers was in an encounter in a pizza parlor where the question was framed so that of course we're going to go after terrorists.”


But Biden’s comments dismissing coal as environmentally hazardous actually occurred on a rope line after a town hall event in Maumee, Ohio last week and were recorded by a voter’s hand-held camera and posted to YouTube.

Palin’s mention of Pakistan occurred at Tony Luke’s cheesesteak shop (not a pizza parlor) in south Philadelphia on Saturday night - a stop organized by her campaign. A CNN camera crew, acting as a representative of the five television networks, was brought to Tony Luke’s along with the campaign motorcade and, during the course of the event, recorded Palin’s conversation with restaurant patron Michael Rovito.

McCain, in the interview, suggested that Palin was responding to a general question about whether or not a McCain administration would go after terrorists.

However, Rovito, who had asked Palin two previous questions about her thoughts on Pakistan and Waziristan, asked the governor specifically: “So we do cross border, like from Afghanistan to Pakistan, you think?”

Palin’s answer: "If that's what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should.”

McCain’s final point was that his administration would never publicly declare a pending attack within Pakistan’s borders.

“What she said was that she was going to respond to terrorist attacks,” he told Roberts. “And I'm saying we're going to respond to terrorist attacks. I'm not going to announce that I'm going to attack Pakistan.”


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    NOBODY TALKED ABOUT ATTACKING PAKISTAN–NOT AT THE DEBATE OR ELSEWHERE.

    THE ONLY PERSON TALKING ABOUT BOMBING ANYTHING IS
    YOU, MISTER MCCAIN.

    DO YOU EVEN KNOW HOW TO TELL THE TRUTH ANYMORE?

    HOW DO YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT?

    September 30, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. Alaska hillbilly

    I have been voting Republican but no more. McCain is out to touch he is old and he is dangerous. Sarah is more scary and dangerous because she is so painfully dumb. This time I'm voting Democrat.

    September 30, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  3. rachel

    mccain has obvious double standards. typical politican!!

    September 30, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. Tony

    NO KIDDING!

    PALIN IMPLODES EVERYTIME SHE OPENS HER MOUTH. SHE SETS WOMEN BACK AT LEAST 100 YEARS EVERYTIME SHE SPEAKS.

    WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE AMONG WOMEN ACROSS THIS COUNTRY OVER BEING TAKEN FOR GRANTED BY MCCAIN? PALIN HAS SET WOMEN BACK DECADES AS FAR AS BEING CONSIDERED FOR POWERFUL POSITIONS IN POLITICS OR THE CORPORATE WORLD.

    BIDEN ONLY NEED STAND BACK AND WATCH ON THURSDAY EVENING AS PALIN SELF-DESTRUCTS! I CAN'T WAIT.

    I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANYONE IN POLITICS MORE LOOK MORE RIDICULOUSOR SOUND SO INCOHERENT IN MY LIFE.

    PALIN MAKES BUSH LOOK LIKE AN INTELLECTUAL!

    SPOOKY!

    September 30, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  5. White Mother for Obama!!

    so what is good for the goose isnt for the gander... Obviously!!!

    September 30, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  6. theresa in Prattville

    Give it up grandpa.

    September 30, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. Candia

    Erm.
    1) Now it depends on the location if a question/answer is to be taken seriously?
    2) A general statement of intent (and a warning) constitues a disclosure of sensitive military strategic/tactic operations? How naive is that? And McCain claims he knows so much about foreign policy/military operations?

    September 30, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  8. Alexis

    there you go daddy, take care of your daughter and make sure no one messes with her, you are the best DAD ever!!!!!LOL! :)

    September 30, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  9. I Invented the McMuffin... and fire

    Gotcha politics? Please, sir, have a little dignity. Palin was asked a question and she answered it... plain and simple. It is obvious to anyone with an IQ over 50 that this woman doesn't have a clue about national or international politics. Had you shown honor during this campaign, chosen a VP candidate with at least a modicum of intellectual prowess and maintained a consistent message, you'd surely be closer to winning this election. Too late now... the fat lady is warming up for the grand finale and you'll be left waiting in the wings.

    September 30, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. Phil in KC

    Oh please. That's just lame.
    She said it, now she needs to own it.

    September 30, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  11. jill

    how dare a voter ask a policy question of the vice presidential candidate. the voter should've simply asked about her children – well, the ones that aren't off limits – and cast their vote without any real understanding of where palin stands on pakistan.

    September 30, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. RM

    McCain's credibility gap is becoming a chasm.

    September 30, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. Denise OKC

    I am so SICK and TIRED of McCain/Palin and their mess...their lies–they SUCK and so will our country if they are elected.

    September 30, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. Joe Regis

    Cowgirl diplomacy will not work neither.

    Obama/Biden 08/12.

    September 30, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. Samuel

    It's official. John McCain is the republican presidential candidate and vice presidential candidtae at the same time. Fisrt in history and deserve to go into the guiness book of records. I am very disappointed, senator. It is sad, it really is.

    September 30, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. rachel

    mccain has obvious double standards. typical politician!!...The world is looking forward to thursday!

    September 30, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. Dutch-VA

    There can not be a double standard for SP. Until she has an actual press conference like all the other candidates have had, she is not credible. She should be disqualified from running. I can't wait until Thursday night.

    September 30, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. Alison B

    McCain is so contradictary. He obviously does not know if he is coming or going.

    She said what she said it is obvious that they are not on the same page contrary to what he might want people to think.

    Why did he have to be with her on the interview, I did not realize she needed a babysitter but it just shows that even though he selected her he is not comfortable with her speaking without first checkin with him to see if it ok to speak.

    September 30, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. Jakedasnake

    boy, it sure sounded like we will go into Pakistan when I heard the conversation!

    September 30, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. Aygola

    It couldn't get any better than this

    September 30, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. dzamba

    It wasn't a pizza parlor, old man. It was a cheese steak place in Philly.

    September 30, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  22. Mark

    Summary: Hang 'em high if the center or left does anything questionable, but it's OK if you're a Republican.

    Rot in hell, Gerald Ford – your pardon of Nixon set us on this road.

    September 30, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  23. Jack

    Nonsense, I watched the comment on TV and she knew precisely what she was saying she just didn't know her partner made such a fool of himself the night before in the debate.

    This is in no way gotcha reporting, this is the real Sarah Palen as seen in the interview with Katie Curic a young lady completely out of touch with worldly events.

    September 30, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. We Demand Our Country Back!

    since when did asking a candidate a legitimate foreign policy question constitute "gotcha journalism"?
    Th McCain camp needs to quit their excessive whining!

    September 30, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  25. John

    Double Standards....

    Wake up America .....no more Mc-lies....

    Vote for a candidate who has been presidential all the way....

    Vote for the county..vote Obama/Biden

    September 30, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
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