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. Tommy

    This isn't a beauty pageant! Her answers and McCains attitude toward her make her look like she's running for prom queen, not VP of the U.S. Ridiculous! Why does McCain keep injecting this idea of attacking inside Pakistan, to get terrorists, as an issue? Pay attention John and Sarah, Obama said he would do it and here's the news flash, BUSH IS ALREADY DOING IT! Pay attention McLamebrain and McMooseburger.

    September 30, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  2. Thompson

    John...C'mon now....What are you talking about? This old man is losing it.

    September 30, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  3. KT

    Ugh. What a mess he is. I voted McCain in the primary- thought he was the same person he was in 2000. Wrong. Praying every day Obama/Biden wins. I'm scared to death to think of how it's going to be otherwise.

    September 30, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. RapidRay

    So, John...

    If not announcing an attack to a foreign nation is taboo, could you explain why we spent months telling the Iraqis that we we coming. Hell, the current administration dubbed it "shock and awe" to the press for days before the initial strike was executed.

    I have the whole thing on video tape including many of the administrations press statement mad within 2 hours of the strike. Be careful...some of us REALLY paying attention to what you are saying and not falling for your 24 hour news cycle tactics.

    September 30, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. J.D.

    I used to like McCain. I used to respect McCain. But after the last couple of months, I now think he is is a total slimeball....or he is sadly a puppet of the Behind-the-Scenes Bushies running his campaign. So sad.

    September 30, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  6. Voice of Reason

    So every time Gov. Palin opens her mouth, it seems to be only to switch feet...

    And Sen. McCain's comments are WAY WAY out of touch with reality. He refuses to see that his running-mate doesnt have a fundamental grasp of the issues.

    She looks nice on camera, and has all the grace and poise expected of a national-level candidate; but she has no idea what she's talking about.

    When even Katie Couric looks smart in comparison, this should raise a few red flags...

    Sarah Palin: WAY out of her league
    John McCain: Either in denial or completely dishonest.

    September 30, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  7. Mike

    Why don't you let SARAH answer the questions and let the voters decide if they agree?

    September 30, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  8. Donna

    actually, Palin said the same thing to Charlie Gibson about Pakistan. McCain would do better to say "we may not agree on everything but she understands that in my administration, she will need to defer to me. However, I do respect her right to hold her own opinions." That would be honest and would not treat the woman as a puppet spouting the lines he approves.

    McCain may have once had integrity but I increasingly think the entire image of the person was a fraud. He now is running a wholly dishonest and despicable campaign.

    September 30, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  9. paula

    McFudge!!!

    September 30, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. Stephanie

    So he thinks we should go in covertly?

    September 30, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  11. Mike

    Suprise McCain is lying again.

    September 30, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. Chris

    How can McCain argue that a question from a VOTER is "gotcha JOURNALISM"?

    Here is how. If you loosen up your grip on reality, then you can make any arguement you wish.

    September 30, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. Robert

    Gov. Palin spent six years earning a degree in journalism. Considering her background, why is she so inept at dealing with journalists and even regular voters asking simple, direct questions - in a pizza place or anywhere else?

    September 30, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. Mike

    Bomb, Bomb, Bomb

    Drill, Drill, Drill

    Lie, Lie, Lie

    September 30, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  15. proud army and navy mom

    Latest Palin Gaffe: Can't Name Supreme Court Case Other Than Roe V. Wade.

    In a not yet aired Couric interview, when asked about other notable supreme court cases, Palin couldn't cite any, she just remained silent. Pitiful!

    September 30, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. Coop182

    Is it me or does it look like 'Bring Your Daughter To Work' Day with these two?

    September 30, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  17. Joseph

    What has really got to piss off the McCain campaign is this was clearly a "freebie" – Palin out in NYC being a "regular gal" ordering pizza for her family.

    And VOTERS had the gall to ask her the questions she won't answer except in "just the perfect setting."

    Gotcha is right. VOTERS get to have gotcha moments with lying politicians who hide from their scrutiny.

    Live with it, McCain. Live with it, Palin.

    September 30, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  18. Chandu

    Give her a break. People need to understand that someone is using witchcraft to make her speak in tongues. That's why her pastor was trying to remove the evil spell but it clearly hasn't worked. Next they're going to try handling snakes!

    September 30, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  19. bobbi

    i think of have it figured out, mccain and palin want to go out has the laughing stock of the republican party, i hope they take bill cilinton with them, it's ovious he's no democrat!

    September 30, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  20. Kayropro

    Perhaps she should be inoculated for hoof and mouth disease since her hoof ends out in her mouth lots lately.

    September 30, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  21. Maggie from Virginia

    This is totally ridiculous. Why are we letting McCain get away with all these lies? America, rebuke McCain.

    September 30, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. craig a dahlstrom

    i guess geno wouldn,t be happy to have his place called a pizza parlor.
    john is out of step with plain people.

    September 30, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. Sally

    Palin is nothing more than a Disgrace to Women everywhere.

    Hillary didn't put 18 million cracks in the ceiling to have this idiot in the White House.

    McCain is senile and Palin is an idiot.

    September 30, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. Amy, Montana

    So if Sarah Palin's comments to individual voters should not be taken as legitemate, how am I supposed to trust her word if she is elected into office? If I can't take a simple interpersonal exchange at its word, why would I be expected to trust anything she or her running mate say? Interesting...

    September 30, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Gray, Nashville

    So this is what the phrase "I can tell when he is lying because his lips are moving" meant!

    September 30, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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