March 19th, 2008
10:19 AM ET
11 years ago

Dems seize on McCain's Iran gaffe

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" McCain misspoke during a press conference in Jordan Tuesday."]
(CNN) - The Democratic National Committee seized on John McCain's apparent gaffe while discussing Iran Tuesday, saying it raises questions whether the Arizona senator "can be trusted to offer a clear way forward."

The misstep in question occurred during a news conference in Jordan earlier Tuesday, when the presumptive Republican presidential nominee repeatedly said Iran was supplying al Qaeda. Iran is predominately a Shiite country and is not aiding the Sunni dominated Al-Qaeda.

McCain ultimately corrected himself after Sen. Joe Lieberman whispered in his ear.

"I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al Qaeda. I am sorry," the Arizona senator said.

DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney quickly pounced on the misstep.

"After eight years of the Bush Administration's incompetence in Iraq, McCain's comments don't give the American people a reason to believe that he can be trusted to offer a clear way forward," she said. "Not only is Senator McCain wrong on Iraq once again, but he showed he either doesn't understand the challenges facing Iraq and the region or is willing to ignore the facts on the ground."

McCain's campaign immediately responded, saying the "Democrats have launched political attacks today because they know the American people have deep concerns about their candidates’ judgment and readiness to lead as commander in chief.”

The DNC later sent out a transcript of McCain's interview Monday with conservative Hugh Hewitt, during which he appeared to make the same mistake.

"As you know, there are al Qaeda operatives that are taken back into Iran, given training as leaders, and they’re moving back into Iraq," he told Hewitt.

Related: McCain warns of increasing Iranian influence

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (727 Responses)
  1. Ian

    If only there was a presidential candidate that actually studies foreign policy. I know it's asking too much, but if only there was a candidate who also was extremely well versed in economics.

    March 19, 2008 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  2. Parzifal

    Some of you people's ageism is breathtaking. It always surprises me that those who support a candidate on the basis of such noble ideals such as "hope," "change," and "tolerance" can be so cynical, stubborn and intolerant.

    But then, I suppose that's just the hypocrisy of politics. We like one-sided lies to make us feel morally superior to someone.

    I guess I'm just not insecure enough to hop on the bus. My vote's going to the candidate who is the best qualified. An occasional gaffe – and certainly age – will not necessarily move me to vote for (or "against") anyone. I really wish these elections would start turning to issues instead of the seemingly endless and tiresome ad hominem attacks.

    March 19, 2008 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
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