March 19th, 2008
10:19 AM ET
10 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. Jeannie, Sacramento, CA

    What a flipping moron! This is another ignorant, idiotic George Bush who has no clue about sectarian separatism in the middle east. Jesus.... aren't Republicans at all concerned about this nominee of theirs? It's been 8 years since McCain's last brilliant presidential run. Now, he's but a shell of the sharp, non-partisan candidate he used to be!

    March 18, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  2. Darth Vadik, CA

    This man is senile, as senile as Reagan was during his last term where he was no more than a puppet for George H. W. Bush.

    McCain might have medical problems that he is covering up, he really seems confused lately. Did anybody look into this? Can we really trust somebody as confuzed, I guess you can say medically confuzed, as McCain?

    I wish him health and long life bus something is just not right with this man.

    March 18, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. La Petite Sorciere

    DNC when are you going to step up to the plate and tell Clinton to leave the race, she has created enough division that even when Mc Cain makes mistakes, people will prefer him to Clinton

    McCain and Clinton one and the same....

    March 18, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  4. Jason

    What is wrong with Joe Lieberman? How can he even fathom himself as a democrat? He has been a chief architect of the war and should be ashamed.

    March 18, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  5. Mark

    All McCain wants is another war. Everything that has to do with this man revolves around fear and terror. The American people have had enough of this!

    March 18, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. Dave in Houston

    He's ooooollllddd! He gets confused.

    I'm sorry, sir, but your chance was 2000. You are just too old to cut the mustard now.

    March 18, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  7. Hattie / Chicago

    Give him a break.. He's a Senior Citizen.

    March 18, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. Sean, Santa Barbara

    If Liebermans pulling the strings then the US will go to war for Israel again.

    March 18, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  9. skeeve

    Since the only thing most Americans recognize is al Qaeda you have to link current USA enemy with them no matter what. I wonder do Casto and Chavez also "trained" al Qaeda, and may be also Russia and China. and yes France – they provided logistical support by supplying al Qaeda with illegal "freedom fries"

    March 18, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  10. SC gal

    Boy! That is yet another reason NOT to vote for McCain.... as if
    the list isn't long enough already!

    March 18, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. Beth Johnson

    The Dems are just covering up for their own problems. McCain is who he said he was and believes in what he said he believes in, so no surprise to Americans.

    March 18, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  12. KCBob

    Bush Jr came into office with a desire for war with Iraq...You remember? To avenge the attempt on his dads life by Saddam?

    Now we have another dim wit Republican who wants to enter office with one thing on his mind..War with Iran.

    Bomb bomb bomb,Bomb bomb Iran? No thanks Mr McCain.

    March 18, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  13. Bill

    Not nearly as bad as Obama's insistence that Al-Qaeda wasn't in Iraq.Bet this will get much more play.

    March 18, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. joseph

    man, if obama said this they'd be jumping all over him with charges of "inexperience"...what a silly thing this whole press-mandated "campaign narrative" is. its like throwing a bunch of stuff at a dartboard and seeing what sticks. whatever that is, its the narrative until something else sticks.

    by the way – the other foreign policy "gaffe" of obama's campaign turned out to not be a gaffe at all. When he said that if presented with credible evidence that high level al qaida targets were in pakistani mountains and the pakistanis were unwilling or unable to take them out then he, as president would. the republicans and hillary jumped all over him saying that was naive and ridiculous to say and/or do. turns out, just a few months later pakistan is in shambles (as Obama foresaw occurring) and the US executed a successful missile strike inside pakistan that took out several high level al qaida operatives.

    I'm with the O.
    Obama '08

    March 18, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  15. Dahman

    Brak isn't purely black , he represents both races as he remided Americans that his mother is white and father is black from kenya. I think he's the man to heal the racial divide in America. so fox give the guy chance

    March 18, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  16. Darth Vadik, CA

    Oh yeah,...

    ....we shouldn't forget what Obama's third cousin has said, or maybe Hillary's neighbor, that is whats important, not a guy who has NO CLUE about the happenings of middle east.

    You know what, I'm sick of this, I'm not fighting the Hillary or her supporters any more, right now I just want to make sure that this crazy, and I do me clinically crazy man does not get into the white house.

    I suggest the rest of the Hillary and Obama supporters do the same.

    March 18, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  17. Jed in Texas

    The three little war pigs.Give them each a weapon and let them become real leaders.

    March 18, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  18. sasha kando

    As Letterman said, McCain knew Iraq as Mesopotamia. What else do you expect from someone who does not know anything about the "economy", thinks another 100 years of war is acceptable since 100 years to him may be like a year or two. Totally befuddled and no sense of time due to his age. Republicans, see who will be rooting for when he getting all confused right now!! Wait for another year or two and he may not even recognize people here in the US, even as he is getting all confused about the rest of the world now.

    March 18, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  19. Pat M Canada

    Way to Go John !!! Keep making those mistakes.......
    I feel safer already!!! And I thank the Lord for his Blessing.
    The least chance you have of winning the election the safer
    the world will be.

    March 18, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  20. We're All Human

    I'm an Obama supporter, but this is crazy. He MISSPOKE, leave him alone. Senator McCain did nothing wrong.

    Obama 08

    March 18, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  21. Brad

    McCain is completely ignorant? That isn't news to anybody.

    March 18, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  22. Slept in Church for 20 years

    Silly white man. Shut up and pay for social programs. Don't you know it's all about RACE?

    March 18, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  23. TheLeftNut

    God help us if the man is elected...

    McCain: "I thought it was the BLUE button not the RED!"

    March 18, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  24. stay-at-home mom

    I am glad we (democrats) are watching MC Cain..... He is not to be trusted. And when Sillary and Obama realize it then maybe they can come together and end this internal war that Sillary has started against one of her own........

    Sillary supporters. All the trash that she has spoken against her fellow Democrat is now coming back to bite Us (democrats) in the butt!!!!!!

    Someone please give Sillary some instruction in Wisdom.........

    concerned mother of 3

    Democrat president 08' "Let's go Demos' Let's go!!!!"

    March 18, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  25. jay

    McCain clearly has demonstrated that he doesn't even begin to comprehend the situation surrounding the invasion and occupation of Iraq. It is pathetic how ill-informed he is as Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    March 18, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
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