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. Rave

    Look at that idiot , how he's holding her hands. Keeping aside politics, Americans should take this seriously
    Bomb his country.... LOL

    September 30, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Never obama

    No, we're screwed up if Bam-bam, the socialist community organizer is elected.

    Obamabots are such fools. Did you people go to school? I think not.

    September 30, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. Ms.Viv

    I am sick of SP, she doesn't have any sense and I have more foreign policy experience than she has. CNN I have stopped watching you and so have members of my family. This whole SP thing is ridiculous and you will not step up and ask the hard questions of McCain or Palin, but you are very quick to pounce on any mistakes that are made by the Obama campaign; and this is just some fyi, I am originally from Phila. and the if she was in the Reading Terminal Market; it is not a pizza shop, it has a variety of vendors.

    September 30, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. Rave

    Look at that a_hole , how he's holding her hands. Keeping aside politics, Americans should take this seriously
    Bomb his country.... LOL

    September 30, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. Biff

    WITH A STRAIGHT FACE......

    republicans will tell you that water ISN'T wet.

    September 30, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. Brian

    The original Dumb and Dumber.

    "We've got no money...! We've got no food...! Our pets' heads are falling off!"

    September 30, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  7. Donna

    McCain is turning into a daily joke!!!

    September 30, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. Democrat 4 Life

    Sarah, you can run but you can't hide. McCain cannot protect you all the time.

    McCain's shoes - $500
    Cindy's worth –$100 mil
    Palin's interview - Priceless

    For everything else, there's the tax payers money

    September 30, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  9. American

    Flip Flop.....Flip Flop...Spin Spin Meister...what an Idiot...McLoser. And his Ditsy sidekick the pageant queen is a joke to all women........

    OBAMA'S getting closer to his office in the White House every day.

    September 30, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. Obama - The President

    I am not sure if he is getting it. He should replace Sarah and accept his mistake in his judgement on selecting his VP candidate.

    I believe he would have been better off with my dog, who at least wouldn't speek or bark cluelessly.

    September 30, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. chelle

    Who is this man posing as John McCain? This can't be the same guy who ran in 2000. That man was admirable, even if I didn't like his politics. This John McCain is a dismal excuse for a candidate for President of the United States.

    September 30, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  12. KJL

    What is with McCain's fixation on town hall meetings? He sounds like one of those sad old people who repeats things. Hanoi prison camp..... maverick..... town hall meeting..... Hanoi prison camp..... maverick.....

    September 30, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  13. Christine El Paso

    I agree... spinning like a top!

    September 30, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  14. WI Cheesehead

    FACT: No Republican president has ever delivered on the promise to shrink the federal government, and no Republican president ever will but they are good a reeking economic havoc.

    FACT: All American great economic expansions have taken place under DEM presidents.

    I sure hope Palin understands what “The Great Depression” is. It’s not a ditch where you can round up moose with a helicopter before you shot one and call that hunting.

    September 30, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  15. Stan Gable

    Veep censorship. Damage control. McCain tried to flip it, but we all know the deal...-1 point McCain

    September 30, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  16. Reagan

    She was at a fast food joint and says two words to some liberal pothead and CNN shoves it down their viewers throats because she didn't give this guy a full explination of her Pakistani political opinion, You could tell she wasn't even listening to the twirps question and just trying to spend some downtime with her children.

    Get a life and leave the candidate alone when she's off the clock spending time with her family.

    September 30, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  17. McWhine

    So the PA voter Michael Rivito is an undercover journalist and play the gocha interview with Palin??? Confused??

    September 30, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  18. Jeff Brown

    Go back to sleep Grandpa Munster!

    September 30, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  19. Nick - Arlington, VA

    its time to put this campaign down.

    September 30, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  20. Amy

    If McCain is going to defend Palin he should at least get the details right! I guess he feels she should be held to a lower standard than Biden should otherwise he would acknowledge the similar circumstances. I'm so sick of Republican spin this election year!

    September 30, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  21. amused in ohio

    Oh, Sen. McBush, there is just so much you can do to cover for your evangelical prom queen. You were only thinking about getting that evangelical vote when you asked her to be your Veep, and you didn't consider that one day she'd need to SPEAK without a teleprompter. You have no one to blame for your laughable situation but yourself.

    September 30, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. Roxanne

    After Palin last few interviews, it's obvious why McCain was sitting in on the latest interview with Katie. To try to correct any mis speaks Gov Palin makes. I won't feel sorry for her, but I do feel badly. McCain and his troops are using her. Nothing worse than feeling used right Sarah??

    September 30, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  23. It should have been Hillary

    McCain is a liar and a hypocrite!

    His slogan should be "McCain First, Truth Second"

    September 30, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  24. Doug R.

    McCain is pathetic. He offers nothing to the American people, except lie after lie.
    I saw that interview and after a busy hectic day at work, it made me laugh. It was like McCain was being a father to Palin. He seemed angry and on edge. He's a scary person...and she's a flake.

    September 30, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  25. Mike

    Palin is a time consuming burden. McBush spends so much time in lies to cover for Palin. That McBush hardly has enough time to make up lies and false attacks on Obama.

    September 30, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
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