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. thousands of home were lost today

    this is an election not take your daughter to work day McCain. McCain is erratic and his desperation is escalating. he is having a hard enough time flailing around trying to back step his own gaffes, now he has to save Sarah? i like a lot of good Americans feel that Sarah should step down, its for the best of the country. McCain should follow suit, he can say for health reasons, no one would blame him.

    September 30, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  2. Seattle Sue

    What a pair of liars! McCain/Palin

    September 30, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  3. 2pacolypse Now

    cmon, this charade has gone far enough with these two. McCain doesn't have the temperament nor the skill to deal with an economic disaster like this to be President and Sarah Palin is not qualified. The longer this goes on the more clearer and obvious this becomes. Both of these candidates are dangerous and would put the U.S. in even more flux that it already is domesitically and internationally. This is just unacceptable that McCain thinks he can belittle, use sound bites, hide behind war service, and hoodwink hockey moms on his way to the White House. I have to believe the majority of American citizens are not that gullible.

    September 30, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. James

    hahaha! somewhere in the middle a poster used this as her name:
    I invented the McMuffin... and fire.

    just hilarious!

    September 30, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  5. laura

    McCain sure feels like a fool.

    September 30, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  6. Lesley

    McCain has repeatedly said he would follow Bin Laden to the gates of hell. That's announcing your plans big time! Sorry, John, spin all you want. You look foolish defending this comment from a running mate who has no foreign policy experience.

    September 30, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. Becky

    So is McCain going to sit with Palin on all her interviews between now and November 4th? Hey I would too if I were him. He probably has code words or signals to get her to stop talking when she rambles incoherently with run-on sentences. Sarah Palin should go back to second grade.

    please post

    September 30, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. OS

    On Thursday it going to be a two versus one debate -

    McCain/Palin vs Biden.

    Because, McCain is not going to let Palin face off Biden all by herself.

    September 30, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. Ron T

    We are now learning that obama will be beside Biden in his next TV interview to bolster his confidence.

    They will also be complaining about "gotcha" questions from voters.

    September 30, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. Shan

    Oh god...what an amature she is ....an't believe McCains judgement on selecting her.
    I think twice before hiring somebody as team leader for any small org, but this fellow has done a blunder by selecting her for VP...oh god. McCain is not serious about his presidency and he's too silly ..doesn't get it

    September 30, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  11. Brendose, Oceanside CA

    Does the American people get it yet? McCain has resorted to "old" politics, and figures he can lie his way out. Once you start lying, its hard to distinguish between a lie and a truth, and you start to believe that your lies are REALLY the truth!

    Poor McCain..........he lost his mind, his dignity, and respect.

    September 30, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. Tom in CA

    While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75 year old rancher, who's hand was caught in the gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Palin and her bid.

    The old rancher said, "Well, ya know, Palin is a 'Post Turtle'."

    Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a 'Post Turtle' was.

    The old rancher said, "When you're driving down a country road you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a 'Post Turtle'."

    The old rancher saw the puzzled look on the doctor's face so he continued to explain. "You know she didn't get up there by herself, she don't belong up there, and she don't know what to do while she's up there, and you just wonder what kind of dummy put her up there to begin with."

    September 30, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. Matt

    Pantwetter Palin.

    Someone change her pampers.

    September 30, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. Senile/Moose

    McCain invented lying.

    September 30, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. Peter (CA)

    Hey McCain-she is running on YOUR ticket.
    What she says is important especially given your health.

    It is absolutely fair that she be asked questions. She should be put on the spot. She needs to prove herself.

    September 30, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. Ivanna

    Sarah Palin was on the short-list to be the vice-presidential candidate for several months – she has had a month of heavy tutoring since being chosen. She has had a long time to prepare for this – and being in governement , she should already be interested in foreign policy and economics. She should be able to function as a statesperson at this point – she should make sense and have logical opinions. The fact that she can't, just leads me to believe she is really not very birght.

    September 30, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  17. Rj

    I think they should let McCain moderate the Biden/Palin debate so he can protect her!

    September 30, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  18. Chut Pata

    It appears the only reason Palin would go to Pakistan, is for Asif Zardari. He is rich, handsome, and "SINGLE".

    September 30, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  19. AD

    The Repugs only like "sound bite politics" when it benefits them. Remember the lipstick/pit bull sound bite we've all heard about 1,000 times? Yeah. That one.

    McWar is running around frantically "dismissing" and "retracting" everything Palin spews from her ignorant pie-hole-and he can't do it fast enough. So now she's being hidden-er, I mean sequestered from the media and the country under the guise of debate preparation.

    Barf.

    September 30, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    This is just partisan trash. Biden said " Obama is not ready to lead'. Why are we not talking about that? So Palin slipped up and made a statement that she did not think would be broadcast to the world. That is different than saying it to the national media as part of a stance on foreign policy. Biden agreed with McCain that Obama is not ready to lead and he did it knowing that it was being broadcast to the world.

    Btw CNN I live 30 minutes from Philly and most Pizza shops sell cheese steaks and most cheese steak shops sell pizza. I love that you point out the fact that it was a steak stand and not a pizza shop, that was a really important point to make.

    September 30, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. Obama #1

    Wasn't the question asked by a voter and not the media? Gee, gotcha voterism!

    September 30, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. victoria

    I just don't like the way he is treating Ms. Palin. During the CBS interview with Katie Couriche acted as though she was his daughter and when he taught she was ready to follow him, she followed him repeating the story. Very, very sad. As a woman, I think she just step down as VP.

    September 30, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. Abby

    He has lost all credibility. all of it.

    September 30, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. mitch

    OMG! more lies that never stop.

    September 30, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  25. Joy

    SO it's okay if Palin answers a "voter" with the first thought that comes to mind, but if the opposition says something the same thing,...... "they just don't understand"? Whats with McCain appearing with Palin in the interview, does he not trust her judgement, he picked her. He made the bed he has to lie in it.

    September 30, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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